I’ve grown accustom to many names and titles throughout my life; daughter, sister, student, athlete, friend, wife, and Mommy! When I was 23 I earned a new name and title, “Mrs. Douglas- teacher.” All my life I knew what I wanted to be- a teacher, and I was very blessed that my one and only interview turned into a J-O-B!
To say I worked with professional, caring, and amazing coworkers is an understatement. Even amidst the challenges of being a new teacher, learning the rules and regulations of the profession, and stretching myself to be creative, innovative, and impactful – all while trying to stay true to who I was and my philosophy on teaching and learning, I am so thankful and forever changed by every moment I spent in that classroom- as “Mrs. Douglas- Teacher!”
The best part of teaching, is of course the relationships created with those young children that spent 180 days in my classroom- and to all cliche- forever in my heart. Not only did I enjoy these kids, but their families too. For me, it was all about the relationship and being a part of the kids’ families, not a separate piece.
These kids made me laugh, inspired me with their creative and insightful take on everything from friendships (“I can’t be her friend today!”) to division (“You can’t split a jellybean into thirds, I mean, that’s just crazy!”) to current and historical events (“Discrimination can still exist- like people with special needs” (a 9 year-old said that- WOW!) ), and even their expression of feelings towards me. My favorite of all time, is this:
Sometimes kids just know how to say it like it is!
This past year, 2012, I made the decision to stay home with my growing family. (Baby 3 coming in March!) It was an extremely difficult decision as I truly felt I was ‘doing’ what I was made to do. But as a woman of faith, I knew I had to obey and take a leap of faith into the unknown, into a phase of life I honestly never thought I’d venture into. I was worried about telling those close to me, those I worked with, and the families I taught- I guess I just didn’t want to disappoint them. One of my coworkers said to me, “Erica, there will always be kids who need good teachers. But your boys only have one Mommy!” I don’t think she knows how much that still blesses my heart.
It has been a couple months since I have settled into my new title of stay-at-home-mom, and I can finally say I’ve gotten into a routine. And through all of this I have learned that even though I am not currently teaching, I am still a teacher. It’s who I am; who I was created to be. God just created me to do other things too. Someday I know I’ll be back, but for now I will forever cherish those memories, relationships, and lessons.