On trajectories

Thinking a lot about my trajectory in life today, especially where my career is concerned. My life has very much been in limbo for the past 8-ish years, falling pregnant in April of 2015 and devoting every ounce of my willpower towards motherhood ever since then. My daughter is almost 7 years old now, halfway through first grade, and she doesn’t need me in quite the same way anymore. My role of housewife has come to an end and I’m struggling with the obsessive need to be productive and low self-worth. I also find the idea of being forced to pick just one or two thing to focus confining—my interests are extremely varied and I don’t know that I want to ignore that aspect of myself. I want my finger in a lot of pies, and I want a job where that is appreciated and not seen as an inability to focus.

I tried art school. I tried at least 4-5 different majors in community college. I loved all of it, but a career in any of them filled me with dread. But somehow, in the past two years I fell into two jobs working as a teaching assistant: for my community college, TA’ing for two courses on counseling/therapy skills; and in the following summer, I TA’d for Girls Who Code’s online summer program for high school girls. And now, I find myself coaching the robotics club at my daughter’s school and subbing for the elementary classroom assistant there. And I find myself…loving it? And the kids really loved me?

I think I would run far, far away from a public school setting, but I send my daughter to a private Montessori school, and they have a very different way of doing things. I think it would take a whole other post to discuss Montessori, but the most important things to know:

  1. It’s student-led: the students have a lot of say in how their classroom is run AND the students have a lot of control over their work day-to-day
  2. The classes are mixed age
  3. The classroom looks more like an artist studio or a workshop It has pretty much nothing in common with your typical public school classroom.

There’s no homework. No tests. If the kids are feeling wiggly, they can go outside. If they want to attend a lesson meant for the older kids, they’re allowed to join in or observe…I could go on and on and on, but my point is that it’s a really cool experience. I sat outside watching the kids while they played, watching the damn school chickens running around, and couldn’t get over how surreal it was, and how much I really wanted to be here every day.

If I would have told 18-year-old Jenny that she’d want to be a teacher in her 30s, she’d LAUGH. She wanted nothing to do with kids. I was adamantly childfree right up until my own accidental pregnancy at the age of 29. Over time I began to have a much different opinion on children, and I started to think a lot about their place in the world, how amazing it was to watch a human develop right before my eyes, and how I really, really hated the way we tended to treat children in my country. And now I’m contemplating getting my Montessori certificate so I can teach the little buggers? What a twist.

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