Tuesday, August 9, 2016

All Mixed Up

School is less than three weeks away, and normally right about now I'd be setting up a new classroom, creating documents, reading zillions of teacher blogs, perusing Pinterest, shopping on TPT, and attending back to school faculty meetings/professional development activities (while simultaneously caring for my four little ones, managing a home, and thanking God for sanity in the midst of it all)! However, this year is a whole new story.  It's different, and right now (to be completely honest), I have mixed emotions.  Many questions have flooded my mind.  Will I ever teach again?  What if I desperately want to teach, but I'm so far out of the loop that no one wants to hire me?  How long will I be out of the classroom/education realm?  

Part of me is relieved, calm, and delighted that I still get to take a nap every day (and use the bathroom as needed)!  On the other hand, part of me is uncomfortable. Unsure. Uneasy.  And a bit unsettled.  You have to understand how much I LOVE teaching.  If you know me or you've stepped into my classroom before you know how much I LOVE books, literacy, and designing spaces (www.epicspacedesign.com)!   I love integrating subject areas.  I love research projects and technology integration.  I am the definition of "a teacher nerd."  I bought and read books about reading strategies this summer even though I knew I wouldn't be teaching.  I love guided reading and guided math.  I really really love writer's workshop!  Teaching is my passion, but this is the first time in about twelve years that I'm not "the teacher." I'm not the one that students or parents are coming to visit on meet the teacher night, and I'm not the one who's getting ready to embark on a brand new journey with 22 precious sweet new faces!  I think primary teachers have the best job ever!  It probably sounds crazy to think that I may slightly truly miss the chaotic rush of back to school madness. The past two years of teaching for me have been joyous and memorable in many ways, but I'm also stepping away from teaching because it's time. The past two years have also been two of the most stressful and overwhelming times of my life.  Twelve years ago if you had asked me about my career path, I'm sure I would have said, "I'll teach for at least 25-30 years straight!"  Easier said than done.  Looking back, I think about all of the early morning arrivals, the late late late school nights (leaving the building as late as 8 or 9 p.m.), and the numerous times when I told my kids (while grading papers, entering data, or working on a report) "not right now, just a minute."  All of these tasks are important.  They must be done, but they can take up a large portion of time.  I don't regret being a teacher at all (or the hard work that I did for my students), but I certainly do regret those times that I should have been more present for them.  Teaching demands excellence, time, and precision.  So I did what I needed to do in order to be excellent and to help my students achieve.  Raz-Kids, PBS Kids, and educational apps on the iPad are awesome, but they are no replacement for me.  There are many teachers/teacher-moms/teacher-dads who have such a brilliant way of balancing their school work with family and personal time.  My hat goes off to them, and I think they're incredible!  The balance for me has always been challenging, but I vividly remember Mr. Perry telling me during the 2015-2016 school year, "When you're more stressed, we're all stressed."  It was at that point, I knew that something had to change.     

With all of that being said, I'm sure you're saying. . .this is so simple Brooke, "Get over it! Get yourself together! Just enjoy your time, sit back, rest, take it easy, and relax!" This too is easier said than done.  Don't get me wrong, I adore my children.  I'm looking forward to cooking a "real breakfast" every morning most of the time, to spending quality time in the afternoon with my children, and to getting every bit of worth out of the sliding doors on my mini-van during drop off and pick up!  My oldest son is so excited because for the first time in the history of his education he gets to be a "car rider" every single day! Yesterday while I was completing some registration forms for the new school year I pointed out to my four year old a sign that said "pre-k pick up," and I explained to him that I'll come after school each afternoon to pick him up at that space while he waits with his teachers and his friends.  He can't wait for pre-k, and his eyes were filled with wonder and amazement when we walked into the building (for the first time ever).  I think the most uncomfortable part for me right now is that I've always been there. Literally steps away.  Just around the corner.  While I do plan to help out at school as a parent volunteer, it simply won't be the same.  My first grader and pre-k student are also going to a new school this year, and I don't know a single teacher there.  I've heard wonderful things about the school and the teachers, but in the past I knew every single teacher and staff member in the building.

So here's my turning point.  I will not worry or be anxious.  There is a line in my personal faith statement that says, "My attitude and outlook on life are not determined by my situations, surroundings, circumstances, or feelings."  I choose to have faith, to speak confidently over my life, and to experience God's peace in the midst of this time of transition.  Even though I don't necessarily know the teachers, God does.  We've been praying for them all summer long-that their summer break would be a time of renewal, relaxation, and rejuvenation (because my school age children are 3 boys. . .all very intelligent, but definitely 150% boy).  On that note, it's quite o.k. if I'm not with my children because God is with them. We're training our children to be Christ like leaders who are full of the word of God.  I'm trusting that the God that is in them is far greater than anything that I could provide by being down the hall or in an adjacent wing.  Mr. Perry and I also have a challenge for ourselves during this school year.  We intend to bless the socks off of our kids' teachers! We not only want to shower them with gifts and treats throughout the year, but we also want to be a blessing in their lives by keeping them continually lifted in prayer.  We'd love to send words of encouragement, random notes of appreciation, but most of all I hope our children are blessings to their teachers every single day by being respectful leaders with integrity who are willing to do what they can to make their classroom and school a better place.

I know what it is to be a teacher.  I know the countless hours of tireless work and relentless energy that teachers exude.  I am certain that if we choose to be a blessing in the lives of those who are loving on my heartbeats while they're at school, helping our children learn, and impacting them in a tremendous way, this will be the best school year ever.  We're going to keep praying for our teachers, and I'm definitely praying for all of my friends who are still in the trenches.  I'm looking forward to what lies ahead, and each day it becomes more and more clear that I'm on the right path. Who knows I might even be a room mom!


  1. This was great! Thanks for sharing. As a fellow teacher, I can tell you those little notes and small tokens of appreciation from parents definitely keep me going throughout the year. I look forward to following your blog in the future! Congrats on starting this new chapter in your life, and I wish the Perry children all the best for this new school year! -Reaunna

    1. Thank you so much Reaunna! I hope you have a successful school year (filled with many notes, gifts, and tokens of love)!