So at work the other day, someone asked if they could use the space in my class to dry some things they were painting. “Of course,” I said. I came back to find my floor covered with these, no explanation.
I’m going to pay it forward by leaving a picture of them here, with no explanation. Do what you want with that.
God has blessed me by sending my period early. I’m headed to the Amazon on Sunday for a week, and swimming with piranhas while menstruating ranks pretty high on the list of “stupid things Rachel would do while traveling,” right up there with scuba diving with an open wound (“well, that explains the circling barracudas!”) and most bus rides I’ve taken.
I think living and working with so many women has made me cycle in sympathy when someone else starts (thanks, roomies!), but periods are a terrible reward system for not being pregnant. Right after “but really, mosquitoes? cockroaches? You’ve got some explaining to do,” I’m bringing this up with God (after 10,000 years of constant worship and all, of course).
I’m cranky and tired and everything hurts. And I’m emotional about being single and childless and broke. And you can’t flush things in Brazil. Not even toilet paper.
And they don’t have Hot Cheetos. And everyone and their mom back home keeps posting about all the pumpkin spice opportunities in their lives. Le sigh. (If you’re not offended by bleeped out words or something absolutely hysterical, please google Key and Peele’s “Menstruation Orientation.”)
And then I’m also teaching.
Ah, teaching. Ah, that time of the year when you find yourself wondering if you’ve made the right career choice. By “time of year” I mean “roughly every Monday and Friday. Every week. For the entire year.” But particularly in certain months, like October, when the adrenaline of a new year starting has worn off, all your new pencils have been stolen or broken, and your students are doing weird things like writing you love notes or stealing electronics or telling you their dad has slept on the couch for the last month or that someone showed their special parts to them in the bathroom and you feel really inadequate to deal with most situations.
<—- This. Is pretty freaking accurate. Some of the commentators added things like “with a bunch of wolves as backseat drivers” and “and there’s a standardized test at the bottom.”
At bible study last week we talked about our dreams. What had we always wanted to be? I can’t remember anything too specific. I remember trying to convince my dad one time I would live out of my car in LA and become a singer. I was good at and actually enjoyed waiting tables. I loved writing for a newspaper, but the lifestyle was terrible for me. And then I’ve been teaching. Which I fell into by accident. And that’s all I know.
The future and my place in it and the role I play in this world is very on my mind because I have to make a decision about my job in December. And I like my bible study because I never have to pretend to be anything I’m not. And on Monday nights, I’m too tired to do anything but tell the truth anyway, and so I answered simply:
“I’ve just always wanted to be famous, to party, and to talk to people.”
I can’t think of many jobs that are harder or more important than teaching. Emotionally and financially, obviously being a parent is more draining and a longer and full-time commitment, but with a self-imposed limit to your number of clients. The thing about teaching, different from most other professions, is it never turns off. You work on your job 24/7 and there is still someone with a better idea out there you want to try, or a cuter classroom, or a new app you could email your parents about, or a new systems for behavior management that you might tweak for your kids.
You think about it constantly, you worry about your kids constantly, check your emails, lesson plan while on a walk, wander over to Pinterest before going to sleep and find yourself still liking and saving things to do two hours later. Hang out with your teacher friends and every conversation inevitably turns back to school.
And unlike an office job, you can’t afford an “off” day or to check out when you’re a teacher. Kids deserve more than your personal drama at home or whatever reason you’re tired. I had to feel four different loose teeth today and determine the scientific wiggiliness of each one. I had to simultaneously scold and comfort a kid whose dad dropped dead two weeks ago. There’s no time for whatever’s got me down – you gotta wipe that look off your face, check your problems and the door, and show up like an adult because there is learning to be done and lives to be changed and little feelings to protect.
If I were to sit and think, I can name every teacher I’ve ever had. It’s harder for me to name every every sports team I’ve been on, or heck, what I ate for breakfast today. But boy, I remember the bad teachers, and I remember the good, and I’m facebook friends still with some of the best!
The responsibility of being a teacher is overwhelming. And it’s humbling as hell. Want to know your bad habits? Hang out with kids for 8 hours a day. You will find out. Want to know what you’re good at? How you bring out the best in people? The kind of happiness and love you can bring to this world? Hang out with kids for 8 hours a day. You will find out.
Anyway. Sometimes I’m just trying to convince myself, I guess. I know I’m good at teaching, I mostly enjoy teaching, I love those I get to teach with, and I love more those I get to teach.
And in a way, that “dream” of mine has come true. I am famous – I get at least forty hugs and kisses a day. I tell stupid pirate jokes at Chapel before worship and I think everyone knows by now to come get me when there is ice cream for snack.
I do get to party. Like, find me another job where I get to regularly dress up like a banana without being questioned, and start mini riots in classrooms and then leave, and crash birthday parties of kids I barely know for a piece of cake and then I’m out. Mic drop.
And I talk. Talk like a toddler all day long, hands waving, doodles doodling, courage encouraging, trying to help the darlings learn English. And it makes me come home and lose my mind a little bit swinging too far the other way into “adult” conversation. But yeah. I talk to people. All day err day.
So I guess this means, that at least for the moment, my dreams are actually coming true.
And in case you haven’t heard it today –
one of my students is convinced “bear” rhymes with “bread.” Which. No. But you – you reading this you – are the coolest you since sliced bread.