I got started in this whole teaching gig "late in life" -- a late bloomer, if you will, not truly having been called to this profession until my later 20s ... when I was jaded with my professional career ... when I knew I needed more than a comfy paycheck and fancy suits to wear. It took a good deal of professional crap, shall we say, before I came to that conclusion, but once I did, I never looked back.
Truth be told, it seems like just yesterday that I made the controversial decision (you should have heard my father's fit when I announced what I was going to quit my good paying job to go back to school to do -- he's come around since.). Then I do the math. Man! I hate when I make the mistake of doing the math, but darn it! I do the math, and yep! I'm not in my 20s any more. In fact, I haven't been in my 20s in ... well, a crap-ton of years! As is evidenced by the crow's feet and gray hairs. Oh mature age range, what a cruel temptress you are!
Okay, I am not sure that last sentence means anything, but I was going for a little Shakespearean flair there. You're impressed, no?
Each year, I watch tons of new teachers begin their careers, and part of me is all, "Isn't that sweet? They're like 22 years old. They have no clue what crow's feet or gray hairs are. They have tons of energy and amazing ideas ... awwww!"
Soon followed by, "Holy crap! These people weren't alive when LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE was on TV... the FIRST time!"
I was a green teacher once, and sometimes that feels like it wasn't that long ago. But then, dang it, I do the math again. And it really was a long time ago. Twelve years worth of long time ago. Shoot! Friends have had children ... and put them through elementary school ... and have seen them into high school ... THAT'S how long ago twelve years have been.
Today, I walked into our building, a building I've been walking into for the past seven years (good grief!! seven years already!?!?), and I was struck by how comfortable I felt. Now, don't get me wrong. It has suddenly hit me that "OH-SNAP-I-HAVE-GINORMOUS-AMOUNTS-OF-WORK-TO-GET-DONE-WHEN-WILL-I-HAVE-TIME-TO-GET-IT-ALL-DONE-WHY-DIDN'T-SOMEONE-WARN-ME-HOW-CLOSE-IT-WAS-TO-SCHOOL-STARTING." This happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. My friends and family are weeeeelllllllll versed in my SCHOOL STARTS panic mode. This is normal.
What wasn't normal was the feeling like, "Oh yeah! I've got this." I mean, I know it happens; I guess I just expected it after I was a veteran ... after I had been at this a while. And, then, well, I did the math.
I am a veteran.
I have been doing this a while.
Twelve years worth of a while ...