|Henry is showing off his black eye here rather nicely. It doesn't seem to bother him.|
Greg delivers the kids to me after school on Fridays. He drops them with me in the parking lot and rushes off to see his clients in Hinsdale. Sometimes I take the kids to Costco or just straight home, but every once in awhile, I try to get organized in my classroom. I figure, "Oh, I'll just put a movie on and they can hang out."
But I never learn. Soon, pencils are dumped on the floor, popcorn crumbs are everywhere, and soon my kids are happily jumping from chair to chair, throwing my books around. They want to help me water the plants, but water gets spilled everywhere, and I realize I have actually created more work for myself next week than if I had just gone straight home.
There are some people (hopefully none of my readers here) that think teachers have it easy. I leave the house around 7 a.m., and my workday is officially over by 4 p.m. I know that I am lucky to have the kind of job where I get both fulfillment and enjoyment from my work, as well as time with my family. But never does a night go by where I'm not thinking of my other kids (my students, I mean). They are other people's kids, but for a short period of time each day, I get to be a part of their lives, and I don't take that for granted, not for one second. I feel privileged to have a job that, even after 14 years, I still have a passion for on a daily basis.
I had to change the way I did my job after I became a parent. No longer could I, on a roll, sit for four hours after school coming up with creative ways to help kids write a research paper or learn about different types of measurement. I have learned to grade papers while eating lunch, hold parent phone conferences on my way home, and type assessments while snuggling a toddler with an owie on his face. I probably spend just as many hours outside of school thinking about and working on lessons as I did before. Now, that time is just intermingled with my parenting time. I've also learned to complete routine tasks more quickly. My ability to multi-task is the only thing that has saved my sanity as I try to be both a good teacher and a good mother. This multi-tasking is also why Henry can quote you the phases of the moon, and Nicholas has tried out my lessons for Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Nick is rather good with the parts of an insect, and he can explain what the nonfiction text features of any given book are, just because he was my guinea pig.
My sons are used to their mommy having to stop in the middle of a story to answer a parent phone call or email. Nick loves to steal my Teacher ID Badge and wear it around the house, looking all official and telling everyone he's a teacher. He giggles happily if we run into one of my students while out and about, and that student calls me by my "Mrs." title.
On nights like tonight, my "mommy" and "teacher" roles get all mixed up. Having the kids in my classroom is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I'm able to try out an idea with them or get them involved in a non-messy project so I can work on my paperwork. Mostly, I end up doing a lot of refereeing and undoing of the "help" Nick and Henry are giving me. They are so happy to be in "Mommy's School," though, that I think I will still bring them with every once in awhile. Because I never learn. . .