I have been updating my resume, getting my teaching certificate in order and thinking about where to apply for a teaching position for the coming school year. I am also a nervous wreck. Why? Technically, I have been unemployed for almost 5 years. What will that do to my chances of finding a job? The teaching situation here in Fl, isn't the greatest. Lots of teachers are unemployed - because of budget cuts. I was unemployed by choice.
5 years ago, my husband and I made a choice. A choice I am proud of. A choice I feel grateful for being able to make. A choice I feel blessed to have been able to make. I chose to take some time off teaching and focus on my children. I chose to be a stay-at-home Mom.
Just because I am a stay-a-home mom does not mean I am not a teacher. I am still very active as a teacher. My intended audience has just been smaller, my own two children. I still sit and lesson plan weekly, even if it's not formally and no one is checking my plan book. In our home everyday brings a new exploration, experience and opportunity to learn. I do not leave the "teaching" to be done at school. The most important learning, especially with young children like mine - happens in the home. I know that. I live that. I am my child's first teacher.
So you see, I never stopped being a teacher. On the contrary, I think I am a better teacher today than I was 5 years ago. Why? I now know what it feels like to be a parent, to be on the other side of the situation. I know that I want the best for my children and I understand better now, all those parents who were relentless. I get it.
I have also had time to explore, get creative and focus on making learning fun. I didn't have the pressure of adhering to state standards at home. This was "extra". We could do what we wanted, how we wanted. Most importantly, we simply had fun. It actually invigorated me again with teaching. It brought that sense of joy back that I had when I first started. That feeling that you can do it all, that you can make a difference and that it can all be fun too. I feel that again.
I have a lot to offer. I have been busy (this blog shows some of that). Yet, my resume is blank for the last 5 years - no "real" work experience to add to make me stand out from the crowd.
I am worried about that blank gap - that period of unemployment. How will it measure up? Will it define me to possible employers? Will I be set aside?
There is so much I wish I could write, where that blank space is. That blank space is not a true representation of my life and my accomplishments as a stay-at-home mom. That blank space is actually where my biggest accomplishments are. It is the period in my life I am most proud of. That blank space holds so much joy, so many memories I was blessed to experience first-hand on a daily basis.
That blank space is my family. I may be a stay-at-home mom but I am not unemployed. I have the most important job in the world - I am a mom, I am a parent. I have spent the last 5 years loving and encouraging my daughters. Caring for them, playing with them and teaching them. I taught them how to dress themselves, how to share and play nicely with others. I taught my daughters their ABC's. I taught them how to write. I taught them their shapes, numbers, colors and so much more. These days, I am teaching them how to read, how to add and subtract, how to tie their shoes. I help them learn to be good people, to be caring people. I have taught them to question, to have a thirst for knowledge. I am a mom, I am a teacher.
I just wish everyone else would see all that in the space where I am forced to write unemployed/stay-at-home mom.