I taught in the public schools in Texas and California, both rural and urban schools, for 8 years before having children.
I was one of those teachers that parents requested each year.
I had parties at my house for my students. I wore a button with a big red heart on my shirt that said, “Good morning class, I love you.” I wrote letters to any former student who wrote to me. I drove students home if they missed the bus. I picked up students on Sunday mornings and took them to church with me. I was asked by the local college to head up the training of student teachers. I was voted “best teacher” by the staff of 40 in my last elementary school.
I LOVED teaching. I felt it was my calling. My gift.
I was always aware, though, that there were teachers around me who didn’t feel the same way I did. A few were like me, but there were an awful lot of teachers who were just there for the paycheck.
They would talk scornfully about the students in the teachers’ lounge and complain about parents who wanted to know what was going on in the classroom. They could be heard berating students who performed poorly, although, never, never when parents were around. They taught what was in the text books, and never anything more, and were always long gone before I made it to the parking lot each day when school was out.
Those teachers’ lack of enthusiasm bothered me, but I reassured myself that I was making a difference in the lives of my students, and that students going through school were bound to get a few outstanding teachers that would negate any years they got stuck with the lousy teachers.
And then I had my first baby.
No one had told me how much I would love that little baby girl or how fiercely I would want to protect her from negative experiences, whether it was diaper rash or loud, startling noises or the pain of sickness.
I wanted only what was best for my precious baby. If it was best to breastfeed for the first year, then, no matter the inconvenience (I continued teaching that first year.) I was bound and determined to breastfeed.
During that first year of her life, while I continued to teach school, and also train student teachers, I was horrified to think of leading my baby by the hand into a classroom, when the time came, with a teacher like some of those I taught with every day.
It made me ill to think of handing her over for eight hours each day to someone who did not love and cherish her as I did. To someone who might have actually despised her if she happened to be slow in learning her lessons or have difficulties sitting still.
I mostly pushed those thoughts out of my mind and convinced myself that I would adjust. After all, every child goes to school!
At that time, I had absolutely no prior experience with homeschool, had never met anyone who homeschooled, nor ever entertained the notion that I would one day be interested in learning about homeschooling.
I figured I would just be one of those parents who was always volunteering in the classroom and keeping myself informed about what was going on.
I never could shake the yucky feeling I got, though, when I would see or hear a teacher treat a student harshly when a parent wasn’t around and then be sweet as pie to the parent’s face. Then, later in the teachers’ lounge everyone would get a good laugh about how annoying So And So’s mom is, always butting in to what is happening at school.