Friday, September 16, 2011

Upcoming Birthday

My birthday is next week and I'm turning 35.  I don't mind being in my 30s and enjoy it quite a bit, but I'm beginning to feel my age a little more every year, especially at work.  I started teaching when I was 22 and was afraid to tell the kids my age.  This continued until I was about 28.  I was pregnant with my second child and proud of all that I had accomplished, so telling my age wasn't a big deal.  I was still considered young to the older teachers, but having children made me more accepted by them, yet I still came off young and hip to the students. 

Seven years later, I'm turning 35 and in my 12th year teaching.  Where has the time gone?  I'm not sure, but now, I'm a teacher, soccer mom, wife, writer, multitasker, etc. and proud of it.  So you ask, what's point?  How am I feeling my age? Every year we get fresh new teachers straight out of college.  They're young and inspired and ready to teach.  They think that ALL students want to learn, they will make an impact on every student they come into contact with, and all parents are supportive.  These are the ideals all teachers start with before reality sets in.  I'm not bitter or jaded, but I know the reality.  We have students who don't give a crap about their education, there are students who think the teachers are idiots, and there are parents who genuinely believe their children can do no wrong.  It's part of the job. 

This being said, I feel my age today because as I sit and listen to new teachers talk about not wanting to have children, joking in a classroom is not respectable, and it's disgusting that students don't study enough I find myself irritated and unwilling to smile and nod any longer.  I love having children so when people make comments about children throwing fits in the grocery store being obnoxious, my blood boils.  I spend more time in my classroom with my students than I do with my family at times, so if I'm not supposed to laugh, then I don't want any part of it.  How miserable would that be! And last, kids are kids.  They don't want to study eight hours a night eating, breathing, living school.  They want to play, hangout, and be kids.  What I used to find endearing about new teachers, I now find to be annoying at times.  I want to shake them and say loosen up and enjoy your job. 

I may sound bitter, but I can assure you I'm not. I love teaching and I plan on doing it for my career, but kids can tell if you love your job or if you're just "doing it" to pay the bills.  So, going back to my age, I think with age comes wisdom - good and bad.  Patience ebbs and flows and reality takes a firmer hold.

So with my upcoming birthday, I hope for more patience and understanding towards the younger teachers.  I want them to be successful while I remember what it was like to be in their shoes. It's not easy learning the craft and they need support from the ones who have been at it a while.  I need to remember that next time I hear "I would never yell in my classroom" just as I will smile and nod next time at lunch I hear "I don't think parents should take their kids out in public unless they are able to stay quiet."  I will be patience and say it all in my head or in my writing.  I am older and wiser - or at least what I'm supposed to say. :)

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