I am an educator. I specialize in the 6th grade variety of adolescent. Every day, I walk into this building where no one calls me by my first name. I talk to 11 and 12 year olds all day long. I attempt to teach them the skills they need to read and think critically, to write grammatically and fluidly, and to be decent human beings with manners. I hardly speak to any other adults. I am highly criticized by parents who have never met me and take the word of their self preservationist children rather than asking a grown adult what actually happened. I respond to every need, every whine, every complaint, every bully, and hold every hand. I stand before a captive audience every day and pray that I have some sort of impact, that they learn something that day. I dance and sing and joke and yell. To the untrained eye, I am a bipolar, somewhat unstable, one-woman show. I am an educator.
Then I go home.
I drive 1-2 hours, depending on traffic, and walk into my house. My husband usually stands at the stove cooking away. He knows how hungry and exhausted I am when I walk in the door. And he’s had a full day of his own.
I’ve been thinking lately about how my career affects my marriage. It even came up this weekend in conversation.
Brian will tell you that when I come home, I am so eager to speak to an adult that it’s not even funny. I’m also eager to vent frustrations and to share how I didn’t smack a kid upside the head, even though I considered it a time or two. They frown on beating the children these days 😉
I’m also physically beaten when I come home. I’ve been standing up all day walking around my room. Some days it’s up and down the stairs all day taking classes back and forth to the library or computer lab. And I’m drained. I often don’t have the requisite emotions to accurately respond to Brian’s own work stories. And then I have to to grade and plan. This takes up evenings, weekends, and even holidays. It must be done– it’s part of the job.
But then there’s the good stuff. Sometimes my kids excite me and a day of teaching (though still draining) is so fulfilling and the knowledge that I made a difference changes my entire mindset. I come home ready to throw my arms around my husband and be an amazing wife to him, the way I was an amazing teacher to my kiddos.
I’ve also learned a lot about parenting from my job. I’ve seen great parenting, average parenting, poor parenting, and terrible, heart-wrenching parenting. Brian and I talk about this a lot. I now know the difference between an involved parent and a helicopter parent (think hovering over your head at all times). I see what happens when a parent does a child’s work for them and then they have to take a test on their own. I see the difference in a student that reads with their parents from one that says there are no books in their home. And I tell Brian about some of the most incredible students who love to learn, who are their own people, and who I’m pretty sure will impact this world in their lifetimes. I want to raise those kids 😉
And then there is summer break. We do not know yet how this aspect of being an educator affect our marriage. But we will in 13 days…
I love my job and I love my husband. The way he loves be and builds me up makes me a better teacher. When I feel that I’ve impacted the life of a child, I am a better wife. Some days I’m good at one or the other, and some days bad at both. Some days either or both roles will drive me crazy. And there are some days when I’m tired of being a teacher… but I’ve never had a day when I’ve been tired of being Brian’s wife.