I'm still having a hard time deciding which grade level to teach. A friend in my class, who truthfully doesn't know me all that well personally but whose opinion I respect the utmost regardless, said to me this weekend that she thought I should teach at the elementary level. And it hit me in the heart. Like someone told me they loved me. Words that resound as truth, even if flippantly cast from the lips. But to be honest in return, I don't know if I have what it takes to teach there. And I'm scared to.
I'm scared that I would fall into the category "teacher" rather than woman. That I would be seen as a woman with thirty children, who has no need for more, or any of her own. That I would resort to wearing shapeless yet comfortable shift dresses and wooden bead necklaces in hopes to downplay my shapely figure so as not to bring on puberty too early for any youngster.
And I don't know that I can completely convey my fear of teaching every subject to a class of thirty-some developing minds that I'm not sure I can completely comprehend. Not that I would say I have a firm grasp on the subject that I am pursuing to teach either.
I'm almost two months in the sixteen that it will take me to finish this program to be certified "teacher," and I'm still having these doubts. I think an experience I had today might best show rather than tell the heart part of this dilema:
I do an outreach storytime at a nearby elementary school. I look forward to walking into the first grade classrooms. The smiles, the cheerful hello's and "I saw you"s. The hugs. Oh...the hugs. It's nearly always the best part of my day, even if the rest of it is hurried, and hard and no fun. However, today, it got better. One of the little girls from that class saw me while I was away from the library. Just a normal person. And she hugged me, sat next to me, told me about her day, thought hard when I asked her a question. And I loved seeing her. She didn't cut into my personal life. I didn't lack confidence, or feel awkward though her father was obviously curious as to my identity and relationship with his child. I was a teacher, friend. And it made me second-guess myself again. Who do I teach? The one's like this; young and lovable even when they are not, or the older, more moldable, hard to reach and unendingly gratifyingly when you do?