You volunteer for a lot of things and people don't like that. You have your hand in a lot of pots and people don't like that. You always go to the voluntary [Professional Developments] and people don't like that. You ask a lot of questions when presenters come in and people don't like that.
Um... what?! This is something that I have struggled with for... as long as I can remember. My father always teased me about being an overachiever. From him, it was in the most loving, worried-that-I-overextended-myself, kind of way... never mean-spirited.
Something about last night's conversation hit me hard.
In high school, I was teased (as many were) quite a bit. I was overweight, I had thinning hair, I had acne. Because in high school, it doesn't matter whether or not you've got a serious hormonal disorder that could adversely affect your life forever.
In high school, I was teased for caring about my grades. I sat in all Honors and AP classes due to my hard work. I sat alongside students... people I had called friends... who were there because it came easily to them. To me, it didn't. Me? I had to work at it. I had to stay up late studying and creating outlines and note cards.
In high school, I spent my evenings pouring over text books and class notes. I worked my BUTT off. These "friends" of mine constantly told me that I cared too much. I worked too hard.
What does that even mean?!
When it came time to graduate, I was told that I was making a dumb choice, taking the easy way out. "Who wants to be a teacher these days?" "Why would you do something so lazy?" "You're too smart to be a teacher!"
I am utterly perplexed by the comments of so many, but this is what I know.
I strive to be the best me that I can be.
I may not look the healthiest, but I love who I am.
I love that every morning, I wake up with a smile on my face.
I love that I drive to work, happily singing along with the radio.
I love that when I get here, I jump right into it and have a terrific rapport with my grade partners and floor-mates.
I love that at 8:40am, I get to see 24 smiling faces, all excited for what the day will bring.
I love that my students' parents all linger to talk to me and tell me about their child's growth and successes.
I love that in 10 very short months, I get to watch these 24 little faces grow and change and become readers! and mathematicians! and scientists! and historians!
I love my job. I will continue to love my job. I will strive to be the best teacher that I can be. If that means volunteering for extra PD, staying late, asking questions at meetings and during presentations, then so be it. I make no apologies for doing right by myself and my students.
And to those so-called high school "friends"... The easy way out is coasting through life, settling into something that comes naturally. That's the lazy way to do things. Try stretching yourself daily... try learning new things... try pushing your boundaries... share something with the world.