Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How we define ourselves

Yesterday I was talking to my 7 year old neighbor about school. As the school year comes to a close, I can't help but ask her a plethora of questions. How did you like first grade? Did you have a fun year? Did you like your teacher? Are you excited to be a second grader. In the midst of these questions, she caught me off guard. She asked, "Aren't you glad school is over too?"
Of course, I was a bit confused. Why would I have an opinion on the end of the school year for myself. I was happy for her and all the other kids on the block that summer vacation was just around the corner and I sympathized with the teachers who were dealing with all the end of the year b.s. that needs to be finished. But myself, was "I" glad the school year was over?
I said, "well, yes I guess." to which she responded, "Are you sad to leave your class?"
I got it then. She knew I HAD been a first grade teacher, and assumed I was still doing it.
I quickly clarified, "Well, J I haven't been a teacher this year or last year. I have been home with Mo & Maeve."
She says, "So, you'll go back next year?"
Me: "Uh, no. I resigned."
J:"Well what does that mean?"
I go through some eloquent explanation where I tell J that I have decided to stop teaching to stay home with the girls. I explain how I loved what I did, but I want to be here for the girls now that they are little. I go on and on and apparently this definition fell on deaf ears because she responds.
"Oh, so you quit!"
I am taken aback. I didn't quit!
You quit soccer because your coach is sexist (Remember when I was 8 mom & dad), you quit piano because you hate practicing, you quit field hockey in high school because frankly you suck, but you don't quit a job you loved in exchange for becoming a stay at home mom.
Resigning isn't quitting.
Resigning gives you the opportunity to keep a relationship with many of the families and co-workers you have meant over 8 years. Resigning demonstrates integrity. Resigning is professional while quitting, well, it's not.
I think for a moment about this and then I realize to a 7 year old, there is no difference.
I quit teaching to stay at home.
It's all semantics anyway.
I never regretted quitting those times above, but on some days a bit of regret comes over me in terms of quitting, errr, resigning my teaching position.
Like any kid, within in minutes I know that this conversation had left J's brain, but I know for me it's going to remain one of those defining moments where I said it out loud that I chose spending time with my kids over my job.
I guess, now you can call me a quitter. I hope my kids thank me someday.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very difficult decision and one that truly redefines your life. I'm sure that 7-year-old will have her own journey of whether or not she should stay home with her children.
    I have to say I never thought I would.


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