Tomorrow I go back to work after having the last two and a half weeks off, so featuring the apple in my block today just seemed fitting. This winter break has been such a wonderful time away. I got to spend a lot of time with my brother, who came for the holidays from Reno, I got to see some of my most best friends who were also in town for the holidays, and I got a lot of personal quilting projects done that I have wanted to get done for a while now. But most importantly, I had a lot of time to reflect.
I reflected a lot about being a teacher and where I want to go over the next few years with my career. I'll share my thoughts with you, and some of my thoughts may (or may not) come as a surprise!
I'll be honest, teaching is hard. When I decided to become a teacher, I never really truly felt that it was the right fit for me. Like.... me? A Teacher? I don't even know why I decided to give it a whirl. I had never really worked with kids before, and I didn't really have a huge hankering to either, but I also didn't really know what it was about. I took a Meyers Briggs test to see what job would fit me best with my personality and my skill set. Teaching came up as a good match for me, and I already had all of the prerequisite credits finished to enter the College of Education at UNM. So, I gave it a go, and here I am.
But, being a teacher isn't what it seemed. Not to me anyway. College never really prepared me for being a teacher, and I didn't really feel like I was doing anything right until during my second year of teaching. It is definitely wonderful that we get as much time off as we do. I don't think there is a teacher out there that will complain about having all the holidays off and getting almost 3 months off in the summer time. However, during the 9 months of being in a classroom, you deal with a lot that could easily drive an average person away. You aren't just a teacher. A teacher is so much more than just a teacher. A teacher is a parent, a counselor, a social worker, a leader, a friend, a caretaker, an emotional support, I mean the list could just go on and on. Sometimes it just sucks. Sometimes I want to just run away and quit my job and never go back.
Then I remember that being a teacher isn't about me. It's about the people around me. It's about shaping kids into who they will become. Some of the greatest memories I have from my childhood come from interactions with teachers. I am that person for some of these kids that I spend the majority of the year with. Some of them will forget my name, and the things we did together, but even if just one kid remembers me and sees me someday and says, "Hey, Mrs. Nava! You were my absolute favorite, and I did [insert some awesome thing here] because of you. Thank you." That will totally make me feel that all of this is worth it. I know it will happen someday.
Like I said, teaching isn't easy. Teaching 5th grade is definitely not easy, and over time I may find that this isn't where I am meant to be. I have started considering other positions in the teaching field, or even possibly quit being a teacher altogether; but that will come with time and it will come with an opportunity that I won't be able to pass up. I have considered looking at focusing on one subject area, in a middle school, like becoming a math teacher. I have always loved math. I have also considered looking into becoming an art teacher, because I feel that would be such a perfect fit for me. However, for the time being, I will stay right where I am, because as long as I am around kids, I will continue planting seeds in their minds, and when those seeds sprout someday, they will do the most amazing things. Where I end up won't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Someday, I will know that I was part of someones journey, and I helped their seed grow. Wherever I end up, I will be perfectly content with it because of the impact I have on these kids in my life. That's what really makes this job so special.