Never start or never finish: Wanting to teach

As a tutor in an elementary school here in town without a clear cut path to teaching, sometimes it feels as though the world is mocking me. I love teaching more than I have yet to fully realize, and I miss leaving the kids I work with basically hours after I leave. When someone asks me what I’m studying and I say psychology, it seems like such a joke. I know the path I chose was good in it’s season, but I’ve tasted more and now I’m afraid I can’t stop.

And yet, teaching has become such a joke. Without money, without autonomy, without respect of lawmakers who have no genuine understanding of the profession, without much consensus on what needs to be fixed in this country, with thousands of teaching vacancies due to neglect, and with a lot of impetus being placed on recent college graduates without much of any practical experience to somehow solve the worlds problems (when we should probably be listening to our elders), it seems like the absolute worst time to become a teacher.

I don’t go back to school. I don’t want to take out more loans, and I feel like I’ll study until I’m dead. I don’t want to leave my church or my city or any of it, because in reality, I’m afraid I’ll never stop going. I’ll be forever lost in a sea of legitimate passion that never slows down, and holding myself back seems like a much wiser choice as I type this because I know from experience that if I keep up the momentum, I will never stop moving. I will be dead long before I finish, and probably love it. It will be a life full of adventure and at a nonsensical break neck pace, and I’m not sure I have the stamina for that as of today. Sometimes, what I most care about can wear me out. I don’t want to be one of those people who is beyond frazzled, even if it means a full life. It is so selfish, but in this moment, I just want to breathe and be able to listen to the small voice that tells me that it is overwhelming.

If we’re being honest, I can come up with hundreds of more excuses. I know that none of this is reasonable, because there will come a day where I actually do my best to find out the information I am not willing to look up yet, and try to figure out a plan or two. I’ll ask around, and ask for ideas, and ask for bare minimums, and do my best. That day has not come yet. Right now is the moment to recognize that the small voice  that tells me it isn’t worth the trouble is being absolutely drowned out by wanting to be with the kids. And I forget what I’m afraid of when I’m tutoring. Nothing else exists for those moments. When I walk back to campus, slowly walking further and further back into the adult world, the weight gets heavier and heavier on my shoulders and I go back to the life I’m normally living. Do I really have the stamina to make it any further? Walking back towards their school, I forget.

The voice of reason asks, What else is there to do before I die? What exactly do you plan to fill all this blank space with? Is there anything else in the world that can take up such an enormous space? On the inside, this is already who I am. It has been since I can remember. If anything, rejection from various things and being disappointed after feeling so sure of myself has only made me realize that it’s not a joke when I say I want this. I wouldn’t be happy at as many “similar jobs” as I think. I wouldn’t have the same sense of purpose if I stick around my hometown but just do something that doesn’t matter and fills my time. And then I’ll be dead.

Let me tell you, before this most recent dose of rejection, I was not 100% sure if this was what I wanted. About 90% sure. I wanted it for various reasons that had to do with what I was pretty sure about, and how teaching seemed like a good fit. And now it’s almost a joke, because no matter where I hide, I can’t not want it. And when I’m with the kids tutoring at their school, I honestly have to catch myself because I forget that it isn’t already here yet.

God is good, and he knows what is right. He will make a way, whether I like it or not. Really, this is probably one of those better problems to have, because after long last, I know definitively that I want something. I should probably just allow that to be the case before it’s too late.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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