Love to Mom, From A Teacher

Teacher appreciation week is coming to a close and mother’s day will be here in a few days.  Those two events celebrate what most of my days are about.

We’ve all seen the signs, the bumper stickers, the pins.

If you can read this, thank a teacher.

“All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  – Abraham Lincoln

Teaching-the job that makes all others possible.

“Motherhood – All love begins and ends there.”   – Robert Browning

I could go on and on. It’s all true. Every single one of them.
As a teacher, I have a few things that I think you moms should know.
We appreciate your appreciation. We really do. The heartfelt cards, the flowers, candy, and for me personally, the cokes. They are all appreciated.

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But what we’d really like for you to know is… we are in this together.  We are on the same team, you and I.  We are both investing in the future with the hope that it will be better than the present.  We love it when you support us. We know that these kids of yours really do want to be accepted and supported, too. They long to please us, both of us, all of us.  We also know that they let us both down sometimes.

But on those other days, we notice things about your child during the day that would make you proud. We notice the students who stop to help pick up the books that someone dropped. We see those who stay after class to help arrange the desk.  We get told “thank you” when we pass out tests.  We see those who make friends with the new kids.  It blesses us. We know when you’re requiring manners in your home. We are hopeful.

You allow us to share your child’s day.  We learn so much about them. We know that your child has an interest in the arts because of the doodling on the side of their notes.  We see the introvert reading alone in the corner and walk over to take an interest in the series that they’ve just started. We spot those at recess who aren’t quite as mature as the others. We see those who play differently. And we smile because different really is a good thing.

We know that we are there to meet needs, of all shapes and sizes. We notice those who are writing with pencils that are too short and don’t have an eraser. We quietly slip one onto their desk as we pass. We pass out tissues and mumble bless you’s when they sneeze and when they’re absent we usually know why.  We leave paper out for those who don’t have it.  We actually read those papers that we assign and we learn a lot.  We love to hear those thoughts. We try to inspire with our comments.

Really all that we want is for you to know that we are capable. We have been equipped well to do this. Sure there are some people who don’t belong in the classroom. But most of us do. We’ve been successful because the same work ethic that we require of your children, we require of ourselves.  So trust me.  I am for your child…. even if they have a C average.  I am for you!

What I’d like for you to know is that I also know that parenting is hard. I know that you’re doing your best, too. I know that when the homework isn’t done and the papers aren’t signed and the kids are late to school and the uniforms are stained and the field trip money didn’t get turned in that you’re doing your best.

And that’s all we can ask from any of us.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Love, A Teacher

Because I am a teacher, I struggle as a mom

6:45 a.m.  “Good morning. Good morning. How are you today?”  These things are said in a kind voice as I make my way down the hallway.  While I feel that it is too early to even be out of bed, we are beginning our day together…these students and I.

I check in, make my way to my room and start to put my things away before the bell rings.  Several students enter to drop off projects.  I compliment them on their creativity and show them where to put them.  It is not quite 7:00.

I glance to the cabinet front and see the bird and nest that my seven year old so lovingly made for me this summer.  I promised that I would keep it up to remind me of her during the day.  The sad truth is that I really don’t have time to think of her during the day.  I think back to the morning conversations with my girls and my son.  “Get up.  You’re going to be late.  You need to wear a jacket.  It is cold outside. Make sure that you don’t forget your backpack. Your 100 day bottle is in your backpack.  Turn in the mission trip money.  Do your best on your test.”  All of this said while frantically rummaging for lunch, grabbing my bag, putting on my coat.  It is always ended with “Gotta go. I’m late.  Love you.”  Then that’s it.  I’m off.

Eight and a half hours later I pick the girls up in carpool.  I’m totally checked out.  I’ve used all my words.  I’ve listened intently to stories, excuses, and explanations. I’ve kept a smile and my teacher voice on all day.  I’ve asked questions, encouraged, mentored, and loved on at least 75 other kids.  I feel all used up, empty of any energy that is required to be what I need to be.  The hard truth is that  I really want to drive in the quiet and have no noise.  The delay of traffic is brutal and each traffic jam causes tension because it takes time away from all that needs to be done at home.  My mind wonders to the things that are ahead of me.  What is for supper?  Did I shift the load of laundry to the dryer?  I wonder how much homework needs to be done.

We arrive and go our separate ways.  Although I really don’t encourage technology, I do nothing to stop the girls from sitting mindlessly in front of “something” for at least an hour.  I begin the work that needs to be done.  Unpack lunchboxes.  Find clothes for the next day.  Start preparing food.

I round everyone up for homework.  We eat together.  Like little robots, they rush off to bath.

“Brush teeth. It’s bedtime, Fred.”   I call out.   Prayers are said.  Lights are out.

Every.single.night.  I go to bed feeling like I haven’t been a good momma.  I suppose this is not a healthy way to look at the day.  This rushed life exhausts me.  I’m sure someone somewhere has all of this figured out.  But it isn’t me today.

I keep telling myself that I was made to thrive, not merely survive.

I got a suggestion from a friend tonight to post scripture throughout my house.  I am going to begin putting that up that tomorrow. I seem to need a constant stream of reminders that God loves me.  He chose me for this.  He has equipped me.  Trust in his strength, not mine.  He has ordained all of my days and I will seek to live them out according to his purpose.  Sometimes that looks messy for me.  Often I complain.  I am working on that.  Tomorrow.

I am a work in progress.


When life gives you anxiety…

So, I was going with the “when life gives you lemons” idea here…..but throwing in the word “anxiety” certainly doesn’t sound as exciting or optimistic.  So how do I end that phrase?  It doesn’t end with a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade to be exact.

You see…..I do struggle with anxiety.  I can usually pull it all together after a micro-meltdown but I have to keep it in check.

This past Sunday, I had a panic attack on the way to church.  My house was not straightened and truly, that is the number one trigger of my anxiety.  At least, it begins that way.  The girls and I had been home for two weeks so we had not had to rush to go anywhere.  Somehow the hectic pace of getting everyone ready and out the door, coupled with a messy house, set me into a panic.

By the time we were in the van, I was wiping tears.  By the time we reached the parking lot of the church, I was trying to remember to take deep breaths.  The girls never know when I get upset but I’m sure they think I have asthma! 🙂

So, back to my title.  When life gives you anxiety, what should you do?  Well, I just decided to stay in the van for a few minutes by myself.  And I googled “prayer over anxiety.”  I sat and read this scripture until I was calmer.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6, 7

I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I was calm and collected in the middle of chaos.  But it is so, and I’m not.  So I will keep trusting, praying, and breathing. 🙂