I want to take you on a journey through my life, comparing my morning routines as a teacher and parent. It's a story of evolution, adaptation, and most importantly, finding the balance that works best for my family and me.
**Before Kids: The Serene Teacher's Morning**
Once upon a time, in the land of pre-parenthood, my mornings were a sanctuary of calm and preparation. I'd rise early, with ample time to set up my classes for the day just the way I liked it. If a brilliant teaching idea struck me on the way to work, I had the luxury to pivot and incorporate it seamlessly. Coffee was savored, and I greeted my students refreshed and excited for the day.
After the school day ended, I frequently stayed for a couple hours to plan lessons and create engaging resources. I didn't do it out of obligation but because I genuinely enjoyed it—well, except for the grading part; I've never liked grading.
**After Kids: The Hectic Morning Scramble**
Fast forward to the arrival of my little ones, and everything changed. Mornings became a chaotic race against time. Sleep became a distant memory, and the luxurious planning sessions evaporated. There was never enough time for lesson planning, grading, or even grabbing a moment of peace with a cup of now-cold-coffee.
The collision of motherhood and teaching led me to navigate a new path—one that demanded a different version of me as both a teacher and a mother.
**Motherhood and Teaching: A Beautiful Blend**
Despite the overwhelming adjustments, I can't help but acknowledge how becoming a mom made me a better teacher. Seeing the world through the eyes of a parent gave me a renewed perspective on the preciousness of every student in my classroom. It deepened my empathy and love for my students and for teaching.
However, it was also an exhausting juggling act that left me feeling constantly stressed and often resentful. The demands of my teaching profession seemed increasingly out of sync with the needs of my family.
**The Pandemic Crossroads: A Tough Decision**
When the pandemic struck, the ground shifted beneath my feet. Grandparents couldn't assist with childcare, and neighbors were understandably cautious. Daycare costs were so expensive (if you could even find one with opening), adding another layer of stress to an already strained situation. My husband and I had a difficult conversation, pondering the best course of action for our family and finances.
**A New Path Emerges: Part-Time Teacher and More**
After much deliberation, we settled on a solution: I would find a part-time job that allowed me to care for our kids before and after school while still contributing to our income. We made some budget adjustments and decided to take the plunge.
I bid farewell to my students, families, colleagues, and the unsupportive administration that prioritized the school's needs over my family's. It was a bittersweet departure, marked by mixed emotions, a lot of tears, and a sense of liberation.
**Embracing a New Journey: Self-Employed Teacher**
In August, my new chapter began as a part-time ESL aide. I cherished the school, students, and teachers I supported. I had an amazing and supportive administration that allowed me to customize my schedule, ensuring I could be there for my children.
However, the pay was less than ideal, and I yearned for more opportunities to teach. That's when a friend, a dean at a small private school, offered me a unique opportunity: to create and teach an online class for two students, setting my own fees and grading methods. I took the plunge, and by November, I had a thriving private teaching business and left my aide position.
**My Blissful Mornings as a Self-Employed Teacher**
Now, my mornings are a far cry from the chaotic rush they used to be. I wake up at six, enjoy a coffee with my spouse, have a leisurely hour with my kids, get some exercise, and then start my teaching day. My teaching day ends promptly at 3 p.m., giving me precious time for myself before my children return home. It's a schedule that finally allows me to breathe.
**A Fulfilling Life in Balance**
The most significant change is that there's time again—time to be the mother, spouse, friend, and teacher I aspire to be. The constant struggle and resentment have given way to a more fulfilling and rewarding life. My roles no longer compete with each other; they complement and support one another.
As I reflect on this journey, I can't help but encourage you to find your balance, too. Whether it's a change in career, a shift in responsibilities, or simply a reevaluation of your daily routine. Take the leap if it brings you closer to a more joyful, peaceful, and fulfilling life.
So, dear readers, if you find yourself at a crossroads, remember that change can lead to something beautiful. Embrace it, and may your mornings be as lovely as mine. If you have any questions or want to share your own story, please reach out. Let's connect and support each other on this journey called life.
Best wishes always.
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