There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be a teacher. I was certain of my calling as early as the second grade. We had just moved to a new town and while I wished I was back at my old school with my old friends, Madame Stephens made me love that year. It is so hard to remember back to that age, but in my mind’s eye, she is tall and graceful, patient and kind. I knew I could succeed in this new school because I knew she liked me. And when you’re a little girl in a new school, it is nice to be liked by someone.
I liked her too. In fact, I wanted to be just like her.
Instead of trashing my school books at the end of that year, I meticulously packed them away. Somewhere between those pencil-scratched pages was sure to be inspiration for future lesson plans. With those books in hand, I stood at the tall and narrow blackboard in my bedroom, or knelt in front of the old green chalkboard in Nana and Papa’s basement, and I taught. I taught letters and numbers and math. I taught my sister. I taught my stuffed animals. I taught no one.
Each school year, I’d find more teachers to be inspired by. Madame Brine in grade five. Monsieur Gaudet in seventh. Madame Morrison and Mr. Fogarty and Mr. Beatty and the Artichuks in high school. I loved learning from them. And I loved how they transformed my life and the life of my classmates in ways that reached far beyond the classroom.
I love learning. I love people. I love young people. I could do that! I want to do that! I am going to do that!
There was no doubt in my mind that I would be a teacher.
As I left high school for my undergraduate career. My plan was firm: A Bachelor degree followed by my teaching degree. I could have done my education degree right out of high school, but I really wanted to submerse myself in learning at a Liberal Arts university first. I wanted this wealth of knowledge and choice of classes and exposure to literature and interaction with the people. I wanted to experience it all.
I should have gone into education right after high school.
Four years later, I had a degree. I was working in a restaurant. My co-workers were teachers struggling to find work and keep their jobs. In my city, graduates with teaching degrees weren’t finding teaching positions. In fact, these positions were being cut everywhere. I knew in my gut that it would be fruitless to pursue that career path.
I moved on. I got married. I found a stable job, for the meantime. I fell in love with my two beautiful boys who joined me along the way. I did the only other thing that I have dreamt about doing my entire life: I wrote.
As I sit here, years after I first felt that pull to be a teacher, my stomach is still in knots writing this. My chest is tight. My eyes are watering.
That was my dream. My calling.
Back To School is here again, and my heart wants to prepare for it. Students are not the only ones going back into the schools this September. As teachers fill up their lesson plans and decorate their classrooms and walk through that threshold of learning, I feel as though it should be me. I wish it were me. And every September I have to remind myself that I let go of that dream a while ago. I’ve moved on. I have a beautiful family and a love-filled home. I am passionate about the writing that I do. Things are good. Things are fine. I don’t need to have an education degree to teach my children, at the very least.
Except, these tears suggest that I haven’t quite let go of this dream yet. It is still there. It is still out of reach.
How do you let go of dreams that will never become a reality?
Please and Thank You:
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