It is always right around this time of year that I am asked, “Do you ever miss teaching?”. My typical answer tends to feel a little unsatisfying. I reply with a brief, “Yes, but…” When, really, the answer is a bit more complex than that.
Of course I miss teaching. From the time I was a child, I would help my mom set up the classroom where she would teach. I always loved the beginning of the school year. I enjoyed walking into a clean classroom and taking time to create an environment that I knew would look fun… that would BE fun… and, of course, support effective learning. Organizing my library and decorating the walls and bulletin boards filled me with bizarre satisfaction that only a teacher would understand. I looked forward to spending time poring over the pictures of the new little faces that would be joining me in my class, memorizing their names before they even walk through the door and planning activities that would lead to engaged learning throughout the year. I eagerly anticipated reuniting with my colleagues after a relaxing summer and being back in a place where I knew I belonged.
Honestly, there are times I miss teaching so much that it makes my heart hurt. But then, I walk into a yoga studio and guide a group of amazing individuals through mindful movements, breathing practices and relaxation. We come together and share our energy in a way that is often times powerful and uplifting. At the end of our class, I wait at the door for each student to leave (much like I would formerly do in my school classroom). It is here that I sense their energy and how the class may have impacted them. I check-in and make sure that they feel comfortable in their bodies and peace in their minds. Each and every time I step into my role as a yoga instructor, I am reminded of exactly why I decided to maintain, yet redirect my educational passions.
My current “classroom” is a yoga studio. I create an environment that is soothing, nurturing (and still fun) for learning and craft lesson plans that guide my students through experiences that help them learn more about themselves and the world around them. I care about my students in the very same way that I would care about the children in my classroom. As a matter of fact, the more that I think about it, the more that I realize that I never really left teaching. I am still a teacher to core. And while my classroom has changed, my profession has merely taken on a new subject matter.
Upon reflection, a change that on the surface seems so big actually is actually quite small. People often ask me if I miss teaching. The real answer is no, how can you miss something that you have never stopped doing?
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