I loved stickers. When I was a girl, I collected them in a sticker book like so many others. They were so pretty- such vibrant colors, some fuzzy, some glittery, others puffy and some, if you were lucky, oily. The people-pleaser in me saw them as a reward, a job well done, and to have a whole book of them...well, that just made me giddy.
I cried almost every day of kindergarten because I wanted to stay home with my mother and younger siblings (I was the oldest) but once I got over the fact that this was how things were going to go, I began to love school. I loved books, worksheets, freshly sharpened pencils, the smell of crayons, notebook paper, and, of course, the stickers. I was blessed with truly wonderful public school teachers even if their names were a bit challenging to pronounce- Mrs. Hiltibital for kindergarten, Mrs. Strykowski for first, Mrs. Barrett (no too difficult) for third, and Mrs. Donarovich for fourth. Mrs. Donarovich was my favorite. She was tall and slender with short gray-white hair. She was a sharp dresser, too. And she would allow me to stay back from recess, especially toward the end of the school year, to help her clean out the classroom cabinets. She would let me take home piles of unused worksheets that I would then use to conduct my own classroom at home with siblings and cousins as students. Fifth grade brought Mr. Book who on special afternoons would teach us the Twist, the Bunny-hop and the Stroll, all to the appropriate music. School was grand.
As I grew older, the combination of enjoying school and loving children (I babysat a lot and worked at a day care) led me to dream of becoming a teacher one day. I was organized, creative and enjoyed learning myself. Except for a brief stint when I seriously considered art school, I felt destined to teach.
I entered college with that goal in mind. The liberal arts school I attended was smart enough to get education majors out into real classrooms our very first year via a class entitled Exploring Teaching. The first classroom I assisted in opened my eyes to something I wasn't expecting. The teacher touched on the children's home lives and how much those lives at home effect how well they do in school. She told me that she regularly brought in an extra lunch for one child who often didn't have one, how she had to call child protective services on another, etc. My heart wrenched for these kids (and for this teacher- for all teachers, actually) and decided very soon after that I really wanted to work with families- the behind the scenes problems that can keep kids from succeeding. I switched my major to social work that semester.
At the time, I had no idea that one day I would, indeed, be teaching full time- at home. I remember a conversation Jamey and I had while dating- we agreed that homeschooling was neat but neither of us were hoemschooled and didn't really know anyone who was. When Sam was a toddler, I picked the brain of a homeschool mom whose family went to our church. That mother took me under her homeschooling wing and along to our state's homeschooling convention- homeschooling just seemed like the most natural thing to do (and I still believe that). When Sam was only two, we decided we would homeschool and we haven't regretted it since.
I love teaching my children. We all do it- whether we're homeschoolers or not. We teach them to count, we teach them their ABC's, how to tie their shoes, good table manners, how to pick up their toys, how to spell their names, set the table, how to swing a bat, to shoot hoops, to pull weeds, rake leaves, mow the yard...and on and on and on.
Teaching at home is not all wine and roses (or water and sunflowers, in our case). Like any teaching job, it
In the meantime, I intend to enjoy as many moments of teaching my children as I can. These days won't last forever. They're not meant to. But, what a gift it is to be able to sit beside and across from my favorite students these last seven years...with twelve more to go.
Despite what my college diploma says, a teacher I will always be. While it wasn't the intent, I followed my dream after all. Pin It