I recently heard the statement that rebelling is a form of self-preservation, a way of claiming your space or your rights, so to speak. 

I certainly like that idea better than “rebellion=character flaw.”  🙂


I should be reading two and a half more chapters in The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literacy Assessment and Instruction.  (Doesn’t that sound like a hoot and a half.)  I want to be watching t.v.  I would feel more inner peace if I were washing dishes and cleaning the bathroom.  I need to be asleep. 

Instead, I am rebelling against all those things, and I’m blogging.  I am in great need of self-preservation.  I am in great need of reclaiming my space in my life.

I am stressed.

I am eating my words, spoken about six months ago.  A colleague asked me, “Are you ready for the pressure of teaching first grade next year?  Are you sure you want all that stress?”  I answered that I was looking forward to just teaching literacy, math, science, and social studies, and not being responsible for music, large motor, and art.  I said I was looking forward to students who knew how to wash their hands and use a kleenex and zip their coats.  I said I was looking forward to having lunch, recess, music, P.E., and art time away from my students, rather than a 25-minute lunch break a couple times a week.  I couldn’t possibly see how, with all that planning time, teaching first grade could be more pressure than teaching preschool. 

(I hear how that sounds, and in the interest of self-preservation, don’t you DARE judge preschool teachers unless you’ve been there.  I am not trying to sound funny, I am not trying to make you laugh.  I am trying to hold onto my sanity with my fingernails.)


I don’t understand how people enjoy this, or how people want to do this again after experiencing it for one year.  The workload grows every day.  I refuse to stay at school for 18 hours a day, but even if I did, I wouldn’t be done.  My to-do list gets longer, instead of shorter.  I feel as though I am dropping the ball and letting people down on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. 

I feel as though I don’t have time to enjoy my students.  Truthfully, as a preschool teacher I formed a bond with every single child I taught.  I still see them in the hall and they are “mine.”  And even the oldest former preschoolers find me for a hug several times a week.  A key component of helping them succeed in preschool and really accomplish all we needed to accomplish to prepare them for kindergarten was to enjoy them, to really get to know them and love on them and have fun with them.  A child who is enjoyed wants to do a good job for you.  We don’t enjoy each other this year.  I don’t have time to enjoy them.  I don’t feel I’m allowed to have fun, or to allow them to have fun.  The only students that I really feel a bond with are my former preschoolers, and we already had a bond! 

I feel as though if I’m doing it right, teaching should take up my whole life.  I shouldn’t have a dog, or be in music ensembles, or have friends or family, because the most important thing in my life is supposed to be my job.  To come home and feed my kids supper and put them to bed, if I had kids, is supposed be like an unimportant sidenote to my day.  If that is the case, I will not be a teacher when it’s time to raise kids.  Having three months of summer would not make it worth nine months of this.  Even in my life as it is now, I can’t live like this.  I can’t live with the guilt of going to choir at 7:30 when there are teaching things to do, and I also can’t live with not going to choir, or walking the dog, or hanging out with my friends, or seeing my family because my whole life is about my job.  I can’t live with the fact that tonight, I chose not to go swimming with some friends because I have those stupid three chapters to read.  I avoided friends in order to avoid the guilt of not making my job my whole life, and therefore, tonight, my job is my whole life.  My job isn’t important enough to be my whole life. 


There are many factors at work here, but if what could be fixed were fixed, I’m still not sure this would be worth  it.  If I had my own classroom…If I had a great class…If I had windows…aaahhh, windows…  (It’s going to get darker before it gets lighter.  I need all the sunshine I can get.)  I am working in a culture that would have you believe that you want one thing—to be successful at work.  If you don’t have a successful marriage, if you’re not raising kind and loving children, if you don’t have a relationship with your parents or siblings, if you don’t have a relationship with God…it doesn’t matter, because you’re a really good (insert career here).  Even if I loved it, it wouldn’t be worth that. 

I may be in the minority here, but to me the most important thing is family.  Apart from God, obviously.  Except “apart from God” isn’t the right statement, becuase God established family as the “human unit,” if you’ll forgive my made-up term.  🙂  Petals come in blossoms, mountains come in ranges, kittens come in litters, humans come in families.  Catch my drift?  🙂  Well, my family relationships totally suck, but I have my work…  That’s the most backwards sentiment ever.  Family is the important thing in life.  If the golden rule is to love my neighbor as myself, my family members are my closest neighbors.  My favorite jobs I’ve ever had:  working in the infant room at the day care center, and teaching preschool…neither of them would be any fun if they were to the exclusion of the important things.  The best job I can think of: making music for a living…doesn’t hold a candle to family.  Truly.


Of all the jobs in the world…teaching is about children!  After 5 years, I am still just indignant to think that, of all the jobs in the world, this one would make me feel guilty for neglecting it in favor of family and friends!  Never in my life did I expect to write a blog post with the topics family and teaching as opposing ideas! 

So, because I’ve already neglected my friends tonight, and because I have family staying with me this weekend, I am rebelling against my job, not reading my three chapters, and reestablishing my boundaries by going to sleep, so that I can truly enjoy my family this weekend!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:48:14

    Dawn, did you enjoy the half year you taught second grade? It must have been better than this year, at least from what I’m hearing from you. Could it possibly be that first grade would be better without the extra students and extra teacher in the same room? Also anything you do to make a living will have times when it is totally wrong for any of a number of reasons, but most jobs go in cycles of good and not so good. And NO I’M NOT TRYING TO FIX THIS FOR YOU!


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