30 July 2009
"A Full-fledged Schoolma'am."
This week supplied me with two things I never thought would actually happen. The first is that my keys have, for the first time since I actually got a key, outnumbered the key chains I have. I have five keys now and only four key chains. What is frightening about those keys makes up the second thing I never thought would happen: I have keys to a school, the school alarm system, and my own classroom.
What the heck is this?! When did I grow up enough to have keys to a school?!
I feel very much like Wendy in Peter Pan at the end of Act One when Peter has just been wounded and the two of them are stuck on Marooner's Rock. Peter looks at Wendy and says "Do you think you can fly without me?" Wendy's instant reaction is "No! I'm just a beginner!"
Only the funny thing in this case is that, for the most part, and probably out of naivety, I do feel ready to teach on my own. It's that growing up thing I'm not ready to do yet. I like my Peter Pan fantasies, thank you very much.
I also feel very much like Anne right before she goes to college. She has a conversation with Gilbert about the various "well meaning" individuals she's come across in the days before they leave, each of whom have bits of advice for her, generally leaning toward "Oh, you're so cute and young and innocent. Have fun watching your dreams shatter!"
Well, Anne, welcome to the club. In the last few months I have had a plethora of well meaning people kindly tell me under no uncertain terms that my first year of teaching will involve nothing but shattered ideals, late nights, devil children, and patches of missing hair on my scalp. Each time this happens, there is generally a good deal of "knowing smiles" in which I can practically hear the individual(s) saying things in their heads like 'oh, she's so cute, I wish I were that young and innocent.'
Frankly I'm sick of it.
I GET it. I get that entering the "big girl world", particularly in my line of work, involves a certain amount of disillusionment and reality checking, but how is that any different from any other job? I don't want the pity of everyone in the world when I say with pride that I am a teacher. Nor do I think that "reality" is as bad as people keep claiming it to be. Why must "dreams" always be intangible and "reality" always be based on the lowest most miserable parts of life that we all dread? (And for that matter, since when do the last four years of my life not constitute as "real" because they didn't involve working full time?)
So take that, naysayers. I like my life, thank you very much. And what's more, I don't intend to hate teaching. I also don't intend to give up on dreaming. I'd be as good as dead if I forgot to dream every once in a while.