The Life of Bon: Finding Home

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Finding Home

10:18 and I'm staring at a blank post.

I've really gotta get my crap together.

This evening was a bit of a bust.  I got home from work at 3:30 today.  Greg was at work and rehearsal until around 9:00 so I had the whole evening to be productive and get everything done and all that good stuff.  I had been feeling exhausted all day, so I crawled into bed for a minute and played two rounds of scramble with friends  (both my mom and sister are getting alarmingly good.  They keep beating me and I don't like it!) before I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.  Next thing I knew Maverick was whining at my feet to be taken out for potty and it was 6:30.  Three hours of my day vanished into thin air- consumed by a glorious, glorious, nap.

I think a lot about sleep now, now that my days of napping and sleeping in and sleeping through the night are numbered.  More than anything in this world I want a healthy baby and second only to that I want a baby who will sleep.  Is that too much to ask?

It was 6:30 when I woke up, but there was still a hint of light in the sky.  Every day there is more light.  There is light in the mornings now when I drive to work and I can walk Maverick a full hour later than I used to in the evenings and there is still light.  The only thing I don't love is that daylight savings is this weekend and we will go back to our pitch black mornings.  When I was growing up daylight savings was in April- I hate that they bumped it up a whole month.  So little of my school year is spent driving to work in light- it really is a travesty.  Still, you can't complain much about nights that don't get dark until 7:30.

Today I had a meeting with my vice principal to go over her recent observations in my classroom.  She said some incredibly nice things about me and about my class that helped me to feel validated as a teacher.  She was so kind to me, and told me that I was right on in doing all the things that teachers should be doing.  She also told me some very kind things my principal had said about me.

I have to admit, I was geekily excited about her praise and left her office feeling so happy and confident.  I don't always feel so thirsty for validation, but today I did, for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I have struggled a bit knowing what to do next year with my work situation, but I feel the answer slowly confirming itself in my mind.  Interactions like this help me to realize how much I love teaching and how big a part of me it is. I am so grateful to be in education and feel humbled and energized by my interactions with my students and co-workers.  I get so much satisfaction and fulfillment from my job.  The weird truth is that I never imagined I would like teaching as much as I do. My first year teaching I thought that I would last two, maybe three years and then I wanted to have kids and not work anymore.  And then something happened.  Somehow I just fell totally, one hundred percent in love.  It's part of who I am.

Last year when Greg and I were possibly moving to California and I had resigned from Copper Hills I remember feeling this sinking sense of absolute mourning and loss.  I hadn't found another job yet, and the job prospects in California were terribly grim.  Every day last spring I remember teaching and thinking, "is this the end for me?  Could this be my last year teaching?  Will I have to work in another field next year?"  I thought it with such grief and heaviness in my heart.  When we decided to stay in Utah my position at Copper Hills was already filled, and I went into mad panic mode looking for another job.  When I secured a job at the school where I am currently teaching I felt such a weight lifted off of me, such absolute relief.  Not just because I needed the job financially, but because I needed the job.  I needed the teaching to give me purpose, fulfillment, life, joy.  I just couldn't be done with it.  Not yet.

I have felt that same way this year, as I have considered my options for next year.  When I think about quitting teaching completely, I feel that same sense of great mourning and loss as I did last year.  I can't be done yet.  When I'm going over the timed writes with my AP kids or laughing with my students or teasing my junior on the front row for not knowing if Harvard is a real school or not, I know I'm not ready to leave it behind.

The second reason why the meeting was so good for me was to feel validated and comfortable at my new school.  The year is quickly ending.  I swear, once March hits it's a flurry of spring sports, prom, student body elections and before I can blink the kids are signing their yearbooks and we're out the door.  I can't believe that the year is already wrapping up here- in many ways I still feel new and displaced- but it gets better and better and interactions like the one today help me to feel at home here and at peace with my decision to leave my old school.  Truthfully, the beginning of the year was such a difficult adjustment for me, and I missed my old school, friends, and students terribly.  It's always tough to be the "new one" and I had a rocky start, largely in part to my own attitude here.   I had trouble feeling accepted or validated and was insecure in my new job- I had known that the administration and staff at CH liked me and thought I was a good teacher, and having that confidence helped me tremendously as a teacher.  It was hard at first for me to feel that same confidence at my new school.  It doesn't help that  my principal, three of my four vice principals, and my department head are all men.  Men aren't exactly into making sure that all their young female teachers are feeling confident and secure in their new jobs and butterflies and rainbows and you're so great!  It's mostly, do your job, don't complain, teach the kids.  Which is why today felt so necessary for me.  When my vp told me those kind things, it's almost like I breathed a huge sigh of relief and finally relaxed.

Today I realized that my school is now home to me.  It is no longer "my new school", it is "my school."  I will always miss Copper Hills and be grateful for the years I had there, but today it became clear to me that this is where I'll happily and gratefully teach for years to come.


  1. As a teacher, there is no better feeling than being acknowledged for the hard work that you are doing every day! Congrats!!!

  2. I took this year off and am SO glad I did! Now I have to decide what to do about next year and it is hard! I really did enjoy teaching, enjoyed having interaction with adults and the routine and accomplishment of work. But I also don't want to miss every day with Addilyn either. I wish there was an option for part time as that seems like the best of both worlds but no such luck at my school. SO I am not sure what to do - not an easy decision at all!

  3. awe shucks another post that filled me with hope & joy! No, I'm not a teacher, but I understand the feeling "Love & Fulfillment" I have in my job. Having a baby & quitting it altogether terrifies me. Well said, Bon!

  4. As a teacher I was faced with the same dilemma. Stay at home with the baby or go back to teaching. When I choose to do something, whether it's my job or an afternoon hobby, I do it with all I've got. The same goes for being a mom. I knew that if I tried to go back to teaching my ability to give it all I had to both my students and my new baby just wasn't going to happen. I knew that someone would get the short end of the stick occasionally. Now this just goes for ME! I tip my hat to women who work and raise a family. I really wish I could do it, but for me, staying at home was my choice. I miss the classroom and having students, but I know I will be back in the classroom one day, hopefully. Good luck as you make your decision. Just like you, I cried when I left my school. It was my home and I knew I'd miss it dearly. I'm glad your new school is starting to feel more like "home".

  5. It is great to feel like you are doing great at your job and that they feel like you are a great asset to your place of work. We have a meeting at the end of the year when they give us our bonus (whoo!) and my boss kept telling me how much I have changed our branch and how much they have loved having me here. I was feeling like no one wanted me here and I was considering another job, that validated it for me that I was needed. I am so happy for you that you are loving your job and that they are so happy with your work. That just means that they will be that more willing to work with you when you have your baby, because they enjoy you so much! I'm happy for you bon! I'm glad things are going so good!

  6. Oh man. I needed to read this. I am also currently weighing my options for staying home or continuing to teach next year. This is my first year at this school after leaving a school I absolutely adored. I was devastated when I thought my teaching career was over when we moved to Colorado and so thankful for this new job. My leadership is supportive and appreciative but the kiddos don't feel like "mine" yet. I know the first year at a new place is always hard but my maternity leave would put me out the entire first semester. I can only imagine how hard it will be to make them "mine" after someone else has them for 4 months! It will definitely be a difficult choice and transition either way but it's my hope the answer will just come to me in a great moment of clarity. For now, I will keep making pro/con lists and one income budgets (yikes). Thanks for this post!!!

  7. I'm so relieved you've found peace and belonging at your new school! I understand how much that sense of belonging matters. And I also know all about those accidental two hour naps - happened to me yesterday! But I woke up so rested, so I'd say it was worth it!

  8. I don't remember if I've commented this to you before, or if I just thought about it, but working full time with a new baby was the best thing that could ever happen to me. It was the best because I realized how hard it was for me emotionally and that I just didn't want to continue doing it. BUT because I did it for one year I never have to wonder what the other side is like. I'm much more content. And we get out of the house a lot! So don't think you'll be trapped inside all day, only maybe in January :) I would love to talk to you about any questions you have with teaching and having a baby in daycare. If you're going to work, teaching at a high school with an on site daycare is really the next best thing to spending all day with them!

  9. Glad that you are finally finding your niche at your school. Way to hang in there… your hard work and dedication are paying off. You do NOT have an easy job, that's for sure. Sorry I haven't commented in awhile, kind of got out of the habit but I've still been reading. And yes, I totally DOMINATE in scramble with friends. It's about the only accomplishment I've got going in my life right now. So, about your future baby/future job situation… I hope it all works out and that you find the right balance. Two things I think you'll be surprised to find out once the baby comes… that you just can't even know until the baby comes… 1) How much work a newborn is. You have to feed him/her every 2-3 hours and it can take up to 30 to 45 minutes for each feeding. Then diapering and what not and it's not long before you are repeating the cycle. And 2-3 hours means the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next… not one ending to another beginning, make sense? So, what I'm trying to say is that having a newborn is like a full time job. Because you feed him/her about 8 times a day and each feeding/diapering can take up to an hour. You'll be tired too because you'll be up in the night and no matter how much you pray and hope for the contrary, there's no way around it. Second, you'll be a lot more attached to your baby then you realize now. Your heart is with your students and job, but I have a feeling that will quickly change… you'll always love your job and your students, don't get me wrong, but your baby will be #1 in your heart… you just don't' know what it's like until you hold him/her in your arms. Anyway, I hope it does all work out for you and that you can find what's best for you, baby, and Greg. Talk to you soon!! can't wait to see you in June!

  10. There is nothing wrong with wanting that validation! I remember reading your posts when you first started and how hard it was to adjust. When it's been such a crazy year - validation is needed! From what I can tell you are an AWESOME teacher and the fact that you don't want to quit is a good thing! It shows you love what you do and are good at it!

  11. This is so humbling and inspiring Bonnie :)

    Keep teaching your heart out!

  12. It's great that you can finally feel relaxed in your school, this was lovely to read Bon!