"Some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you have to see and feel."
I feel like I’ve told this story before. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. From Kindergarten with Miss Carney at Birsay School, I just knew. Like every fiber of who I am, was always connected to being a teacher. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but if I woke up tomorrow and had to do another job, I’m not really sure what it would be. Maybe a copy editor? I’d be good at pointing out other people’s grammar mistakes, but that doesn’t sound like much fun. And seriously, the internet almost debilitates me some days when I am reading…I don’t think I could do it!
Nurse? Uh uh.
Accountant? Good god, no.
But isn’t that the way we think? How we ask kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a number of years ago that I heard it reworded to: “What problems do you want to solve when you grow up?” And I’ve never asked another kid the former question again.
This past week, our son applied for university. Besides having to set aside my denial that my baby is moving on next year, the big question loomed. He’s thought seriously about different careers over the years, and although my side of the family is all farmers, on my husband’s side there are exclusively three: nurses, teachers, and police officers. I was pretty sure that two of the three were out.
He knows that you really can’t apply to any police service right out of high school, and that makes perfect sense to me. There is no substitute for life experience – I know that the older I get, and the more kids I interact with, the better I am at what I do. In our house, we don’t believe any education is wasted, so he knew that he was going to be taking, well, something.
I’m sure that our guidance counsellor doesn’t recommend this as a strategy for choosing a post-secondary institution, but his criteria was: go where his sister is. (They don’t happen often, but there are times that I know we did something right with our kids.)
So he has applied to Mount Royal University, where she is in Nursing, to study criminology. Because you can’t take anything for granted, there are other options as well. In a little bit of surprise to me, he also applied to Education at the University of Calgary. I wasn’t surprised in the sense he considered teaching; both of my kids would be amazing teachers. No, I was surprised because whenever people would ask either one of them, “Do you want to be a teacher like your mom?” the answer was always a resounding, “NO!”
I think the biggest deterrent was just watching me. All the time preparing, at home and at work; the marking; the coaching and directing. All the time taken away from my own kids, to be with other people’s kids. It’s a guilt that can still get me, even with (almost) adult children. This past week, my daughter was home from Calgary on reading week. Between a full work week, a volleyball tournament, before and afterschool practices, helping to set up and then work at a provincial meet that our school was hosting, (thankfully our community choir practice this week was cancelled), there wasn’t a lot of time to just hang out. In fact, all we had was Friday evening. One night.
It’s not that I begrudge time spent with our students. I love getting to know them better in these other ways and know that these relationships are integral to what we are doing in the classroom, that what we do is important and unique. Sometimes, it’s just hard.
One of my favorite writers, Matt Haig, has a children’s book coming out next week called "The Truth Pixie." He tweeted out a sneak peek: “If everything was perfect, every single day, you’d never know the good from the just-about-okay. The truth is, your future will often be great; it’s bad now you’re seven, but wait till you’re eight.” And from another page, “Don’t forget who you are. You are a fighter. As the dark in the sky makes the stars shine brighter. You will find the bad stuff has good bits too. The bad days are the days that make you you.”
And one more:
There will be people you love
who can’t stay forever,
and there will be things you can’t fix,
although you are clever.”
And that's a humbling truth. Have a great week! Everyone is welcome! Tervetuloa. Tawâw.
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