Am I Brave Enough?

I received my last paycheck sometime in April 2007. I received my first child (thanks for catching her, Dr Nguyen) a few weeks later. Rather than researching tribes in Iran and the culture of Taiwan or writing up the history of the Air Force Reserve and meeting with clients as a defense analyst, I was breastfeeding and cooking, burping and cleaning, attending Music Together classes and baby & me swing classes. Add two healthy, energetic boys whose aptitude for filth upped my laundry quite a bit. Their inclination for sports had the odometer in my Suburban moving at an exponential pace.

It’s been a busy 12 and a half years.

Lately, I’ve noticed that my children don’t need me in the same ways as they used to. Rather than requiring my steady gaze and firm boundaries, they need rides and money. They will always need me–I know that, most minutes of the day–and I hope I will always be there for them. But they need to continue to grow their independence.

At the same time, I realize that I need to regain some independence. I need to nurture myself in deeper ways than lunching with friends, going for runs, walking my dogs, and being the CEO of a busy house. I have a BA and MA dusty from underuse, and energy and chutzpah to put to use.

Some months ago a little idea popped into my head after visiting a handful of high schools with my daughter. All these middle and high schools had cool global studies programs that made me think of my Peace Corps days, and of the great joy it’d be to travel with students to other countries. I realized that I wanted the job of the adviser for the eighth grade trip my daughter will go on next year to Peru. I see my daughter and her classmates bonding with teachers, learning information from them but also big life lessons.

And I thought: why not me?

So I’m thinking about it. I’m considering it. I’m imagining what my family’s life would look like if I worked full time. I’m beginning to figure out what I need to do to become a teacher, which is probably what I should have done a long time ago. I’m 43, feeling like I have many years ahead of me to teach and learn, grow and give, work hard and get a few rewards, too.

I’m just whispering this idea right now, testing it out, saying it out loud as I proofread this little slice of life which is really not tiny at all: I want to be a teacher.

Published by schwarzkate

Woman. Mother. Wife. Hiker. Crossfitter. Runner. Dog walker. Home chef. Volunteer. Wannabe writer. Task master extraordinaire.

7 thoughts on “Am I Brave Enough?

  1. So much of this struck me but perhaps this line most of all: “Bonding with teachers, learning information from them but also big life lessons.” I cannot think of a better description of a teacher. Or a writer, really — seems like many of the same good rules apply (“Show, don’t tell” …). I am thinking how those global programs hold such allure and how life has already equipped you with experiences and information to share – it’s a perfect match – but, even more important, I note the undercurrent of love and care in your words. Those are needed most, for teaching is a work of heart. Indeed – why not you? I hope you’ll journal and share the journey!


  2. I started teaching at just about your age, after many years at home with my children. I’m now 52, in my 12th year of teaching, and my youngest graduates from college next month. It’s funny to read your post, because I feel like I’m now at another crossroads, or potential turning point. Do I still want to be a teacher? I have other very strong competing interests. But whatever I choose, whatever you choose…it’s all about the journey, right? Thanks for sharing this beautifully written and thoughtful post.


    1. I really appreciate you reading my slice and responding–it’s good to hear that others have done this at a not-super-young (but not-super-old!) age. Going through the requirements now…figuring out what 2020 will look like to get me a few steps closer…!


  3. Do it! Maybe you can talk to your kids’ schools and see what’s involved with being a classroom volunteer. That could give you a sense of what working with students who aren’t your kids is like, while also watching teachers teach. Maybe you could be a parent chaperone on that class trip to Peru. I started teaching at the college level at age 44 (it was a tenure-track job that didn’t get me tenure, but did teach me how to teach). You can do it if you really want to.


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