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I used to be a teacher.
You know, the staying up late, working on lesson plans, drafting the assignments for the students, working on presentations, thinking up possible questions they may pose, coming up with answers- all of it. As tiring and exhausting as it was, here’s the truth.
I loved it. And I gave it all up in a heartbeat.
That fact never really registered in my head until this week, on September 5th, Teacher’s Day. Ten years ago, I gave up a job which involved my getting up at the crack of dawn, draping a saree which would stand stiff and firm at the crease, swinging a bag in one hand and my scooter keys in another and zipping away at 5.30 a.m to a classroom full of eager students.
Each of them came to that class, fighting their sleep in the pursuit of a larger dream- to get into a Management institute of their choice. As I stood there, helping them navigate the tricky seas of Academic English, group discussion strategies, how to make presentations and perfect their grammar, a part of me felt more alive than anything else in the world.
In November of 2005, I made a decision to give up the job I loved most in the world, in preparation for a job where I had zero experience. There wasn’t too much sighing or sobbing, to be honest, because I didn’t know what exactly it was that I was getting myself into, with this thing called motherhood.
Some people would call it a sacrifice. I’m not too fond of that word, because it seems like I was forced to give up something I loved for something else that I didn’t want. The truth is, I made a choice and it was the right one for me.
Life as a teacher was incredible, so much, that a short post here on the blog probably wouldn’t do justice to any of those lessons. But it taught me some important things in preparation for my role as a mother.
[bctt tweet=”Teaching would impart lessons that I’d use as a mother. #Parenting” username=”shyvish”]
I’d not know all the answers to all the questions, but that’s completely fine.
I’d have to be open to the ideas of another person, even if he/she was years younger than me.
I’d have to survive on the bare minimum amount of sleep on many nights.
I’d never be completely sure of what I was doing and my actions would affect the people around me all the time.
But the deeper lessons I learnt were ones that have stayed in the core of my being.
I’d learn to be non-judgmental in my interactions with another human being.
I’d observe, listen, reason out and help them during an argument.
I’d learn to fall in love with my job, despite the challenges and sometimes, because of them.
I did go back to teaching, briefly, when Gy turned 3 and was in daycare for half the workday. Yet again, that thrill of facing students, watching them soak up knowledge, while I , in turn, fed off their energy is still an image that gives me goosebumps.
There are days when I want it all dearly. The stillness of the household, on all my workdays when the spouse has left for work and the kid has left for school, can be rather unsettling at times. A part of me craves for adult human interaction and the sparkling, vibrant air of a classroom. That mingling of chalkboard dust and excited murmurs is guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.
But, somewhere, I know that I am as happy being a work-from-home mom today as I would be if I were a teacher, facing young minds on the cusp of knowledge. I’d love to go back to teaching and perhaps, this time, my lessons learnt on the parenting journey will directly influence the way I teach.
There’s something to be said for viewing the glass as being not half empty or half full, but just right. If it weren’t for Gy, this blog wouldn’t exist, I wouldn’t have the job I have today, I wouldn’t have ever shared my struggle with mental illness or made the friends that I have the great fortune to call my best allies.
So, the next time you are faced with a decision that could potentially change your life, close your eyes, trust your gut and take that leap of faith. In every step, there is a lesson that awaits. Our growth depends on how well we learn from each lesson and move forward.