To the Person Behind the Mirror,
Let’s talk about something happier today.
There is something that I am very proud of: my job. I’ve worked with kids since I was a teenager. My first job was a Peer Educator and I taught kids and teens about drugs and gangs and how to resist peer pressure. Stuff like that. I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher back then. In fact, I didn’t like kids and I wanted to be an actress or an author. It took me until my senior year of college to realize I wanted to be a teacher.
I wasn’t very good at it when I started. People always tell me I’m so good with kids and it always surprises me because it is a skill that didn’t come easily. It took years of making mistakes and I still don’t think I am that great at it most of the time. But there are times when I can tell I’m really doing good work.
I started my current job 4 years ago. I wasn’t sure if I would like working with preschoolers because I had always worked with older kids and had no experience with that age range. But I was willing to take any job that would get me home to Michigan, and my boss was willing to give me a chance after only speaking to me on the phone. I found that I loved it.
Going to work is still hard, believe me. I enjoy sleeping in so when my alarm goes off it’s not like I can’t wait to get up and go to work. And it’s not like I don’t count down the hours until I can go home. I’m a normal person. But I love my job. I’m very passionate about it. It feels right, and I’m very proud of the work I do.
This year I was promoted to Assistant Director, and I’ve been promised that I will take over in a few years when my boss retires. She told me something very sweet. She said until she met me she didn’t think there was anyone who could do it when she left. She didn’t trust anyone else. She was planning to just close the school. But she said she felt perfectly confident that the school would be in good hands with me.
I remember one time during my first year, a child was going through some emotional stuff. She was acting out a lot, had a horrible attitude and her parents were dealing with it with very strict consequences. Another teacher had yelled at her very harshly at lunchtime. I don’t even know why. But it was time for all the kids to go to the bathroom so she got brought to me. I took her by the hand and led her into the bathroom and she was just sobbing. I’m sure she had done something rude and inappropriate to get herself in trouble but I didn’t care. I could feel her pain. Something was not right inside. I could see it. I dropped to my knees and I held her and we cried together. Just then, my boss walked in on us and stopped when she saw us. All she said was “Thank you. That’s what I was just about to do.” and she walked away.
I love my kids. I love my job. I think about it all the time.
There is a sad part to all this. My husband doesn’t support me. If I talk about work he shuts me down. He tells me he hates kids and doesn’t want to hear about them. He tells me human nature is corrupt and you can’t fix that so what I’m doing with these kids is pointless. If I do well at work he doesn’t want to hear about it, if I had a rough day he doesn’t want to hear about it. Even if someone else asks me about work, and he’s in the room, he will get upset at me for talking about it. I’ve learned to just keep quiet.
But I wish someone wanted to hear about my work. It means so much to me. Will you listen again? I’d like to tell you more.
I’ll write again.