A year ago, on the last day of school, my husband's dad passed away, just eight short weeks after he was diagnosed with a stage four inoperable glioblastoma, the most aggressive and deadly of brain tumors.
When we learned he was sick and traveled to Florida to be with him last April Fools Day, he waited about two seconds from the first time we were alone in the hospital room together to ask when the babies were coming. He was totally relentless with that. A man who so desperately wanted (and deserved) grandchildren. I cannot even begin to count the tears that were shed during my pregnancy and since Madeline's arrival thinking about that conversation.
Life had been too busy. That's the thing about education today. Is it is always getting busier. With each new school year, there are new standardized tests, accountability measures, paperwork, professional development measures, interventions to try for students who aren't doing well. With each passing year so much of my job has become paperwork and so little of it actually teaching. Looking into twenty nine-year-old faces and telling them that yes, we do have to postpone our novel studies, math centers, and science investigations because we have to take yet another set of benchmark testing is really disheartening. This is what burns out teachers. Not the kids.
That is not the reason I decided to leave the classroom - its that all these programs take time. And the time is always after school, postponing grading and lesson planning to the evenings and weekends. If there is anything that the events of the last year have taught me, it is to hug your family close and spend quality time with them. So, that is what I'm going to do. At least for now. I may return to work with a classroom of sweet students in a couple years but for the next year, I'm going to cook dinner, do my husband's laundry, and watch TV snuggled on the couch without a stack of papers and a flair pen in my lap. I'm going to spend quality time at home. I'm going to take my dog on walks and spend extra time petting him and letting him sit on my lap. Most importantly though, I'm going to spend time with Madeline while she is little. Leaving for work every morning while she slept away in a cute little swaddled ball when I returned to work after maternity leave was complete torture. So, I really look forward to not having to do that for the foreseeable future.
I am so, so thankful to my husband for all his hard work to make this possible. Not only does he work tirelessly at his job but he has been on top of our finances for years so that we don't have any debt but our mortgage, which makes giving up my income possible. And I will continue both my Teachers pay Teachers and Beachbody businesses part-time to earn a little spending money. It will still be an adjustment but I am totally willing to sacrifice a little shopping to spend time with my family every day!