Well, I resigned from my teaching position at the school. After months of prayer and tears I knew it was the best choice I could make for my family. We will definitely feel the pain of a smaller income. But we’ve lived on just my husband’s income before and we’ll adjust to doing it again.
This decision didn’t happen easily. I love teaching and my heart is broken. This was a challenging year trying to balance work and home. All teachers face this struggle, but especially teacher-moms.
This decision hurts my heart.
When a teacher resigns, retires, or moves to a different position, small communities feel the loss. In our school, families are used to working with the same teacher for two grades in a row – sometimes three. With multiple grade classrooms parents feel a sense of security and deep connection with their child’s teacher.
Part of the struggle in making my decision to take a break from classroom teaching is feeling like I’m letting the parents down. I imagine this sense of duty to the community is a little more intense for teachers in small, rural schools and multiple grade classrooms.
Even though I know I made the right decision for my family, I question my judgement. Did I just make the biggest mistake of my career? Am I letting my family down by giving up the second income and benefits? Will I make the difference that I’m hoping for in my own family by giving up what I love? What makes me think that sacrificing the career I love is necessary?
I never have looked at teaching as a career. I’m not in it for the money. I don’t even really pay attention to what I make or when I’m due for a raise. The money certainly has helped make life more comfortable though. There is always money for the house payment, groceries, and a drive through coffee whenever I want one. But I don’t think of it as a job really. I feel like it’s my mission field.
I love working with my students and seeing them outside of school. I love the depth of the relationships that I have with the parents of my students. Relationships that I wouldn’t have if
not for teaching their children.
I love saying “I love you” to children that are not my own and having them say it back to me. I love giving the parents the gift of knowing that the one person their kids spend the most time with outside their family loves them like they are my own. Teaching has been my mission field. My place to show God’s love.
My heart is broken from giving that up. Wow, just writing this takes my breath away again.
This is one of the toughest decisions of my life. Why am I doing it?
To put it simply and without oversharing personal family details, our four oldest daughters are teenagers right now and my husband and I feel the need for one of us to have both feet firmly planted at home for this phase of life.
I’m finding that my teenagers need more of me than I can give them when I’m committed to a classroom full of children. I’ve tried to balance teaching and family. I’ve improved quite a bit! But I’ve learned that it isn’t balance that my family needs right now. Motherhood is begging for more. They don’t need half of me; they need all of me for now.
So all of the energy, attention, and love that I pour into my mission field of students, colleagues, and parents needs to go to my own children for now. It’s just the way it has to be for this small but important phase in their lives.
My heart is broken over the loss of my identity as a small town teacher, but I’m also proud of myself for doing something that I would admire in another parent.