I knew I wanted to become a teacher before I knew most things about myself. I even have adorable pictures of me reading books to my invisible classes and stories of my 5-year-old gradebooks to prove it.
Once I was in college & spending more of my time in classrooms, I was convinced that I wanted to teach in Title 1 schools. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help where help was needed. I was going to be so in love with teaching that everyone else would want to teach too!
This is where we get real. (Already!?) Yeah, I know, we got to this realness a little quickly, but here it is. I did not love my job. There were parts of it that I loved. There were these 30-minute spurts where I would say, “Okay, this is what I'm supposed to do. I’ve got this.” But looking back, I realize I was just trying to convince myself.
You may be thinking, “Okay, you didn’t love it… But not many people love their job. Jeez, you must be a millennial.” And you’re right - but I truly believe it was more than just not loving it - it was hurting me.
The first year, I convinced myself that I was just in the wrong place. It was because I was far from my family, from doctors, from Target (that’s a very hard place to be far from in my opinion), and I just didn’t feel right about it. So I moved.
And... you guessed it. That didn’t solve my problems. It was the same thing in a different place. Target (and my family) were a little closer, but it still felt wrong. I stayed this time, determined to make it work, but it just kept hurting.
There came a point where I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I hated when people asked about work, because I didn’t even want to talk about it. When I did talk about it, all I would do was complain. No one wants to hear that any more than I do.
I was tired of dealing with behavior 98% of the time and never being able to teach.
I was tired of feeling like being in my classroom was like being stranded on an island (seriously, when you’re actually wanting people to come observe you, you know something’s wrong.)
I was tired of a lot of other things, too, but we will stop there.
Just so tired.
I started to realize that I loved putting together organized small group binders more than I liked actually using them in small group.
I loved putting manipulatives, supplies, and other classroom tools into neatly organized bins and labeling them with matching labels more than I enjoyed using those tools to teach.
I loved organizing the classroom in a purposeful way that benefitted students’ learning more than I loved the rest of my job.
When I thought about those children in my classroom, I wondered what I would tell them if they were in my position. Would I tell them to stick it out and try to love their job, or would I tell them to take a risk and do what they love? That one had an easy answer.
So after that school year… I decided to stop doing something I didn’t love to do. I decided to take on my side-gig and make it into a full-time-gig.
And I didn’t feel guilty at all.
Okay, that’s a total lie. I felt really guilty. I felt like a quitter. I felt like I was doing something horrible by leaving. Our schools need teachers. They need great teachers - that’s what our children deserve!
And this is why, after a while, I realized that I do not feel guilty. Not one bit.
I did not love my job. I don’t have children of my own, but I know that I wouldn’t want a teacher who doesn’t love what they do to teach my children.
I was not great. I was really good at labeling supplies and putting together really amazing binders, but I was not a great teacher. I’m not saying that I think I was a bad teacher, just that I was nothing exceptional.
People liked to think I was exceptional… Why? Because my room was organized. It was put together. Things matched. My binders & paperwork were in perfect order. But that’s because I love to organize, not because I love to teach.
Now I get to do what I love every day. And I get to help other people who don’t love to organize (or just don’t have the time… because let’s be real, that’s most of us) spend more time doing whatever it is that they love to do.
I will always have extraordinary respect for teachers. I couldn’t do it. A lot of people can’t do it. If it’s your passion, and if it’s what you love, thank you. You deserve more.
Starting in August, I will be dedicating 50% of Minimized Closet’s Poshmark sales to thanking wonderful teachers. This will be done through giveaways for teachers as well as school supply donations directly to schools & classrooms. To keep up with giveaways & donations (as well as some organization tips here and there), follow Minimized Closet on Instagram & Facebook.
Our first giveaway has already started - If you’re in the Charlotte area, nominate a teacher to win $100 before August 18th.