By now, you are tired of hearing about my leave of absence and how I was filling my days. The day had finally come where I was to return to work.
I would be lying if I said I was completely prepared for returning to the class. I mean, I didn’t know what exactly to expect: would I miss my free time? Would I struggle with the changes in the school? Would I have lost some of my techniques?
It seems strange to wonder all of this when I have taught for almost 20 years, but you never know. I mean I still have knowledge of my subject, I know most of the staff in the building, and no completely drastic or strange changes happened in the year I was gone.
I still couldn’t quite return with an over-confident swagger, because that would surely backfire. It seemed like quite a different change from returning from my maternity leave 7 years earlier; somehow, this year was a starkly different type of year away from school.
I’m not ashamed to admit I struggled this week. (Honestly I don’t think any one should be embarrassed to admit they are having trouble and need help). Yes, I missed those few extra minutes of sleep. Yes, I missed walking my daughter to school and heading off to the gym or for a walk outside. Yes, I missed having a chai and reading the news or watching a talk show. These were all luxuries I knew would be short lived.
I didn’t really feel nervous about delivering content. I didn’t really feel inadequate in my knowledge. What I worried about was forgetting routines, forgetting how I organized lessons, having a room worth wanting to come to class. I worried I wouldn’t have the patience, I worried I would be distracted thinking about the past year.
the truth is, it will take time for me to feel back into the swing of things. I need time to review school policies and follow protocols that have changed since I left. It’s a familiar routine, but one I still need allow myself time to remember, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
Something I wanted to bring with me back to the class was my new experiences from my time away. Truth be told, I’ve already worked in a story or two into my lessons as I explained something. My year away is now part of me and as a result part of my teaching style. It’s a new me, but a familiar me. The year changed me, so will change who “me” is in the class. so instead of punishing myself for missing a few things this first week, maybe I should celebrate who I am now becoming in my career.