Teaching was my second choice. I really, really wanted to be a nurse. More specifically, a certified nurse-midwife. After I failed Anatomy & Physiology – twice – and lost my scholarship because of my ridiculously low GPA, I had to give up that dream. Who was I kidding anyway? I could never be a nurse. I would never be able to give anyone a shot or draw blood, because it’s kinda hard to do those things when you’re either 1) hiding your face in the corner screaming NO! PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME DO IT! or 2) passed out on the floor. Let’s face it. Needles and I do not mix. So I changed majors. Actually, I changed majors three times before I finally settled into the one I earned my degree in.
First, I thought it would be great to teach elementary school. It’s what I had always assumed I would teach, without ever giving it much thought. And then I realized that not all elementary school-aged students could tie their shoes, pee and poop in the toilet and only in the toilet, refrain from tattle-telling for the entire length of the school day, and not cry over every.little. thing. So that was out the door. Let’s face it. Other people’s small children and I do not mix.
Knowing that I was a certifiable genius in all things math (ok, so I wouldn’t go that far, but if numbers are involved, let’s just say I got it) I had a few options. I thought about teaching high school, since high school teachers teach only one subject. I could teach high school math. Wrong! I thought back to my high school days and remembered the times that we were all sent home or out to the football field for the entire day because some idiot brought either a gun, a knife, drugs, or a combination of those things to school. And let’s face it. Getting stabbed and I do not mix.
Then there was accounting. Fabulous! As far as I knew, there were no kids involved in accounting. Just me, my desk, and my numerous, well, accounts. I tried it for a semester. I took the Intro to Accounting class. And at the end I had myself a big, fat D. Accounting was hard. And boring. It wasn’t just about adding and subtracting numbers all day. And when in the accounting world the terms “credits” and “debits” mean the exact opposite of what they mean to the rest of us, I realized that it just wasn’t going to work out. Let’s face it, strange terminology and I do not mix.
So I turned to my only other option (well, I had two options, really. I could have given up and dropped out, but where would that have gotten me? So I stayed.) which was to teach middle school. Ugh. Hormones, drama, puberty, and did I mention hormones? But at least they could make it to the toilet on time and they probably weren’t drug dealers. Yet. I changed majors for the last time and finally stuck with something long enough to get the heck outta there. And why I stuck with it, I’ll never know. It was pure hell. Writing 10 page lesson plans detailing every single word I planned to say and the responses I expected to hear from students was insane. But I did it for 3 semesters. I changed my way of planning to suit each and every professor, even if it wasn’t the way I’d normally do things. I sucked up and kissed butts and did other people’s work for them for free. And for what? A $13,000 piece of paper (which would have been free if I wouldn’t have lost my grant money!)? Wow. Totally not worth it.
And now I feel like I wasted four and a half years of my life. Well, most days I do. And then there are the (few and far between) days when I get all hopeful and optimistic and think that I might really have my own classroom someday. For the last 15 months, I have worried constantly about finding a job. I have sent out resumes to counties that I don’t even want to work in. I have substituted so I could get my foot in the door and taught children who didn’t even deserve an education, much less want one. I have been stressed out more than any one (especially a pregnant woman) ever should be. I just got so tired of the phone not ringing. I felt like a failure. Like I picked the wrong career path.
And then it hit me. Maybe, just maybe, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Everything happens for a reason, right? So maybe teaching is not what I’m supposed to do, or at least it’s not what I’m supposed to do right now. I’ve done my part. I’ve put my name out there and it’s out of my hands. If somebody wants me to work for them, they will call. Lately I’ve even sent out resumes for jobs outside of the teaching field, and I haven’t heard anything from those attempts yet either.
It is kind of depressing. I would love to have the extra money – there is so much that I want to do. I want to decorate the house. I want to go on vacation. I want to spoil Emily rotten with a ridiculous first Christmas. Denny makes enough for us to live off of, enough to give us all of our needs. But it just can’t buy everything that I want. So apparently those things that I want are not things that I am supposed to have. Maybe for once I’m on the receiving end of a lesson and this is something I’m supposed to learn from. Just what that lesson is, I’m not sure yet, but I’m not going to worry and fret over it anymore.
What I am going to do is raise my daughter. I’m going to take care of her and read to her and sing silly songs and take her places. I’m going to teach her and love her and probably spoil her as much as I can. I am going to be at home with her until I get a job, whether that is next week, next year, or in 4 years when she starts school. (Obviously. I can’t exactly waltz into my school of choice and take over someone’s classroom. I’d be hauled off to the nuthouse faster than you can say looney tunes.) And I’m going to be content with doing just that.