Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to Work...

The end of summer is a tough time for me - anxiety starts to creep up around the beginning of August as the back to school sale signs come out (this year, they started around the 4th of July).  I am blessed to have a job as a teacher - in this area of the US, it can be pretty hard to find work as an elementary school teacher - I really like my job, I love working with kids and I love seeing children grow and learn...however I'm doing that with someone else's child and not my own kiddos.

My dream job would be to be paid the same salary and work part time teaching - it's just not possible for us to live with out my salary.  Living where we do - close to a major city with an expensive housing market, and living within 2 miles of our jobs, we are very fortunate.  However, going back to work is nerve wracking after having two wonderful months off of "work" with my children (because even though my 7-3:30 job is over, my job is a mother is never over).  Every fall it's hard.  Hubby always comments that my worst two months are September and June.  It's true, the stress level is high, trying to coordinate schedules and child care is crazy - and I can pretty much guarantee that both children will come down with some weird illness within 3 weeks of school (two years ago, it was the first day of school) and require me to take a sick day.

I think what makes this year different is having a child go off to Kindergarten.  Luckily, her teacher is a parent of two former students I had the pleasure of having.  This parent is a wonderful mother, so I know Bee-bee is in very good hands.  I know that she will be just fine there - my biggest fear is that her creativity will be stifled.  She is a naive child in the sense she has been sheltered from  Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel - she's pretty much been a PBS kid.  Seeing commercials for cleaning products on Animal Planet intrigues her and she begs me to buy them so our house will sparkle and shine.  I commented to hubby the other day that I fear our house has more technology than the school she's going to.  He was kind to point out that since we do have the tech in the house, she will be fine.  During our visit in June, they had 1980s Letter People on the wall and no active school website or blog.  Despite these setbacks, they still produce children who are successful, so they have to be doing something right...right?

Another fear of going back to work, and I know I've discussed it on here before, is Little Man - seeing his progress, I fear him regressing.  I think that last week, he managed to get through the three days with just gestures and signs.  I doubt he actually said a word all day long.  One of his teachers commented that he got angry with her and he did a fantastic job signing go, no and then help - all words he has "sounds" for.  I gently reminded that he can use sounds and should be prompted to use them.  His sleep has already been messed with - he's napping at school anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.  This summer, he barely napped - which meant he was in bed by even putting him to bed at 7:30pm, he's rocking it out in his toddler bed until well after 10pm. 

(One of our 10:30 rock out sessions)

Even though I miss my children greatly when I'm at work, the time goes by very fast and I work with wonderful kids who challenge and teach me.  Working with my students helps me be a better parent, just as my own two children teach me to be a better teacher.  For example, before this summer, SPD was just something I read about on IEPs or was talked about in conversations with specialists and examples of strategies were given to me to use in the classroom.  I had no idea that there was SPD with an underresponsive subtype.  I spent a lot of my summer reading about kids with Apraxia and SPD, as well as other neurological impairments - having a child with special needs has pushed me to learn more about the subject.

So as I head back to set up my classroom tomorrow, I have many mixed feelings - I'm excited about my new grade level, new grade level teammates, and brand new school.  I'm excited about hosting a student teacher in my classroom.  I'm excited about building a classroom community with new students from other schools.  I'm excited that my Big Girl is excited about Kindergarten and learning.  I'm excited that Little Man is getting social interaction with language-rich peer role the same time, I'm sad that someone else gets to experience my kids for 6+ hours a day...I know it's important for our children to grow wings and be part of a "village" so they learn and grow - but it's hard not being there to see it happen first hand.  At least I have my late afternoons, evenings, weekends and vacations to saviour my children - for that I am truly grateful. :)

Here's to a wonderful summer - we laughed, we played, we learned, we created...we frolicked at the beach, played at nature's playgrounds, and saw friends and family.  Here's to a great school year - may it be productive, enlightening, educational, and fun!

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