Tonight I got on the 4 train and sat down near a mom and kid. The little boy was doing his homework. I peeked at his notebook and I think he was in third grade. He was so little and adorable. He was one of those boys--we've all had a million of them--who is kind of disorganized and scatterbrained, always losing papers, has sloppy uneven handwriting, is a little unkempt, and who is small in size but not in heart. It was almost impossible to A) not put my arm around him and B) ask if he wanted some help with his math.
A few weeks ago--more like a month really?--I visited a school and got to teach a class about our program. They were sixth graders (I taught 6th graders for four years), and they were so small and goofy and earnest. It was so much fun to teach them again! All of my teacher instincts came back, my teacher voice, I found myself doing my quiet signal.
I was all psyched up afterward, like I used to be after one of my long teaching days. I felt like I missed teaching.
Looking back on my own experience, and reading about other teachers' experiences, I really don't know how good a teacher I ever was. I think I had moments of good, but I don't think my students knew me enough or trusted me enough. Every year I came to love almost all of them, but I wasn't the right kind of caring to them. And what does it mean that there were always a few kids I really didn't like? Aren't teachers supposed to be above that? (In my head I roll my eyes and remind myself that teachers are human too.) Or at least able to fake it enough? Oh, and how about that I was never good with the parents? I often felt like I was doing everything wrong on that front.
So yeah, I don't know. Teaching is still in my head; I guess it will never go away. I know I don't want to teach in New York. I often wonder in the back of my mind if I'd ever try again living in a new place.
None of this is news to you. But if you're out there reading this, chances are you're either a teacher now or you were one. Maybe I need advice, though I don't know about what, exactly.