Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day one

Today was my first day returning to work full time since last May.
I was scared. I am scared.

I wasn't scared of teaching. I've been doing that long enough to know that I could dive back in, even unprepared as I was, and make it through a day. Don't get me wrong, I hated being as unprepared as I was....but I got through it. And I wasn't scared of the kids. It's a little scary to start to get to know them when the year is well underway, and they have already settled into their third grade year, but that's OK too.

What I was most scared of, what I am still scared of, is whether or not I could do it.

Up until May 16th of last year I was a teacher. A pregnant teacher, but just a teacher. And then May 17th, I became a Mom. A mom and not a teacher. Today was the first day where I tried to do both for the first time--be a mom and a teacher. I wasn't sure I could do it. And even though I'm sitting here on the other side of a rather insane day, I am still not so sure I can do it.

Today was really difficult. In many ways. It was hard leaving Aliza. I cried leaving her. Again halfway through my drive and again right before the kids walked in the door. I cried when I was pumping in the middle of my day, all alone in my room. I would look at the picture I have of her on my desk and my eyes would well up. I was walking down the hall to the lunch room and I pictured her little face so clearly in my mind--the moment when she is eating and something startles her so she pulls away to look up at me, confused and puzzled, then gives me a great big smile before turning her head back to her eating. That image popped into my head so vividly that I smiled and wished I could be holding her so desperately that I had to fight the urge to just leave and go home to her.

It was also difficult because I honestly have very little idea about what has been happening in my classroom. It's hard to build on previous learning when you don't know what that previous learning is. I asked my students throughout the day, "Did Miss P. do this? Say this? Teach this?" She also did things a certain way, a different way. Some of it I don't mind, and I welcome the change, and some of it I don't like so I had to begin to change it today. This makes for an even longer day because once third graders are settled into a routine, if you shake it up on them they have a million and one questions. And, my student, the one who I have mentioned here on this blog....well, he was difficult too. His behavior did not magically change just because I was there as so many seemed to think. So I turned into Mean Mrs. S. and cracked down rather hard on him a couple of times. Apparently, there's already a noticeable difference, at least according to the speech teacher who was in the room. I was also bombarded by all of the various people who work with this little guy--to talk about behaviors, or academics, to set up a time to meet, to review sensory plans, to discuss what I want to do....the amount of stuff there is to talk about is, in and of itself, overwhelming.

The day was hectic. I felt like I didn't stop running all day long. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Pumping in the middle of the day during my rather short breaks makes things even more difficult. When you only have thirty minutes break and fifteen of those thirty is taken up with pumping, it leave you very little time for the ten thousand things you have to do. I am committed to doing it though. I want Aliza to be a breastfed baby. I ate lunch today while I taught spelling. I told myself, driving home, that things will get easier. That a large part of the craziness of the day was that I am still getting used to the space of my room. Still finding things that I haven't seen since last year. Still working out where we are in the curriculum, who the students are, what they are like as learners....all of this takes time.
But, somehow, I am still scared.


Jules said...

Hang in there! I know you will do fine... and remember, you are your own boss, and you can always change your mind.

Enjoy those smiling 3rd graders! I'm looking forward to 3rd grade antics stories appearing on your blog!


Dianna said...

Its ok to be is scary!!! But you are an amazing mom and teacher and you will find a groove that works for you! And looking forward to the smiles and coos that await you when the day is done always helps!

Keetha said...

My son will be seven in a couple of weeks and I remember - vividly - what it was like to go back to work. It's hard, it's scary. I feel your pain.

Okay, that wasn't very does get better. :-)

My mother's birthday is May 17th.

Kelli said...

I have nothing but the utmost faith in you, dear Lisa.

It may be a bumpy road to start but you'll plow through and succeed - just as you always do.

Sending hugs your way.

nancypearlwannabe said...

You can do it! It's tough, I know, but I think you have what it takes to do both, and do them really well.

JaxMom said...

Having been the one my grandma referred to has her "career girl" the one I think she wishes she could be, I can tell you it is hard. And gets better, but IT IS STILL HARd. You change. You have split loyalties, and Aliza will and always should be your first.

For me, that is always the hard one. I felt some much self worth from my job, that now when I run out the door at 5:15, I feel guilty. Last night it was 5:18, and I was no where near done, but I left, and I played with Jax, cooked him dinner, took him out for ice cream and dealt with the rest this AM.

In the old days, our company ran much smoother because most nights I had not problem staying until 7, or 8, or 10, or being here all day on Saturday. But no more. At times I feel like a failure, until I hear Jax say, "No, mommy. I have a BETTER idea. Let's play with my cars in the DINASAUER." and I know I am raising an articulate intelligent, self assertive young man.

You will get to a time that your classroom day flies by, and it will feel good, but it won't be the norm.

Hang in there. Today is Friday.

Wendy said...

Juggling pumping, work and missing your daughter, although still hard, definitely becomes a little more routine. (Plus, when you do stop breastfeeding, you'll feel like you have a TON more downtime a work). And it's so nice to see her smile when you come home at the end of a hectic day. I remember someone telling me that it's a good experience for little ones to have different caregivers, so they become flexible and can go with the flow. I hope things are going a little more smoothly. You'll get there : )