I was born to do this

Friday, September 30, 2011

"I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." How many times have we all heard this--and said it--during our adult lives?? I don't think I will be saying that again.

For the first few years post-college I dabbled in several different industries but never lasted at a job more than a year or so. I had family members who believed in staying with the same company for 20+ years who were constantly perplexed (and annoyed) by my inability to find something and stick to it. One family member (who shall remain nameless) once said to me "Volunteer. Don't volunteer. Sales. Marketing. PR. When are you going to make up your mind??" I was always envious of those who went the way of a solid degree. Accounting, Law, and Medicine were disciplines where the path was obvious--and limited. Communications? Too broad for this broad to make a permanent residence in a cubicle somewhere.

When I became a mother fourteen years ago and traded in my commute, fancy clothes and lunches out for the privilege of being able to spend my days with my newborn, I never doubted my decision for one moment. I knew since I was a little girl and toted my hairless, fingerless doll around that I was meant to bring life into this world. I remember that utter feeling of contentment that I had finally found my calling--it just happened to be at home and not in the corporate world--until now.

I have loved being a mom and still do but that season is taking on a different path. At 14, 13 and 10 I am needed in different ways which brought me to this place. This past week in my Intro to Middle Schools class, we played a getting to know you game where we had to go around the room and share why we wanted to be middle school teachers. I told my classmates how ever since I was a middle schooler 30 years ago that the desire has never left me. When my oldest entered sixth grade, and I walked through the halls of his school, I knew this was where I needed to be. I told them how I "get" these kids and connect with them and they connect with me. My professor seemed a little blown away by my response and said "everyone doesn't have to be as enthusiastic as Dana." I took that as a compliment.

In my Dynamics of Teaching class on Wednesday we had to do our baseline presentation in front of our class. We had three minutes to introduce ourselves and our subject matter to our "students." Our professor gave immediate feedback and asked three to four of our classmates to do the same. It was all a blur because of my frayed nerves but I do remember hearing "you really understand your students' sense of humor and play to that very well."

Yesterday we went to the middle school where we'll be volunteering in the classroom once a week for our orientation. It happens to be where my son is in 7th grade. Lucky for him I will be with the 6th grade team of teachers. Lucky for me I am with the lovely women who taught my older son during his first year of middle school. I can't wait! As I was speaking with them after everyone left, we heard a knock on the window only to see my son with his silly face plastered against the pane. Oh how I love middle schoolers--especially my own.

Maybe I have finally grown up.