It was another Tuesday when I wrote this about the mixed emotions I felt, the difficulty in confronting my decision not to return to the classroom as a substitute this year. My worry was about finding purpose. Well…
Yesterday I was hired by my former employer as a virtual teacher for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade English Language Arts learners who, in accordance with New Jersey’s options, have chosen all-remote learning. I have relocated to the West Coast since my retirement three years ago, but as my-former-now-current vice-principal quipped when he suggested it to my good friend and former-now-current teaching partner, “She’s up at 4:30 a.m. anyway, so…” (The truth is, I have taken to sleeping in until 5, sometimes even 5:30, but all that is about to change.)
I’m writing this because as I do, the commitment becomes ever more real. I already spent some hours caught between sleep and awake last night. I imagine that is not 100% over either. My husband has said, “Approach this with professionalism.” He knows my passion for my profession. He also knows that I can get swept away with it.
But I am not who I was; my experience as a substitute will help me keep perspective— that so much exists beyond my control despite my worthiest intentions. And the pandemic has been an exacting and enlightening educator.
I still believe that teaching is one way to make a difference in this world. I will do what I can.