When I taught second grade at our synagogue’s religious school, it was challenging and rewarding, and I learned a lot. Also, I made a few shekels, and that didn’t suck. It was tough going though. I am not a trained teacher by degree, and in terms of Jewish education, well I’m sort of the Jewish Nell. Tay-ay of Lahhfe. Tay-ay of Lahhfe.
Every week, I’d park myself in front of the computer and flip through books and learn myself all that Jewy stuff I never retained after years and years of religious school. I'd liken the process to studying for a final exam – cramming a semester’s worth of material into a couple of days – and coming up with a craft to supplement the lesson on top of everything else – every week. Add to the stress of the learning, my desire to do right by my students, my little Jewish sponge cakes. I didn’t want them to look back at their Jewish education 30 years later and wonder what the heck they learned all that time while their parents were eating bagels and reading the paper and high-fiving after successfully dumping the kids somewhere for 2 1/2 hours on a Sunday morning.
I surrendered my weekends to late night lesson planning and early morning teaching and afternoon recovery naps, and I thought to myself, “That was a great experience, but I won’t be doing that again for a long, long time.” Apparently, 3 years is the new “long, long.”
I wasn’t looking to do it. I don’t know what happened.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! That’s right, people. I’m the Jewish Michael Corleone of Hebrew school teachers.
“Wait a minute. I thought you were the Jewish Nell?”
Yeah, well maybe I’m having a bit of an identity crisis, ok? I mean, one minute I’m a stay at home mother who thought that she could coast at home for a few more years writing her blog and doing as little as possible around the house and the next minute we decide to actually pay attention to our finances only to discover that things are worse than we thought (which is quite common amongst those of us who live beyond our means and hide our heads in the sand and overuse clichés) and realize that if I don’t get a job immediately, we’re going to have to give up multi-channel, digital television!
So not only has Morah Devorah returned for an encore performance of The Jewish Lorax (because in addition to Nell and Michael Corleone, I am the morah. I speak for the Jews), but I have also accepted an assistant teaching position at a local preschool. I am officially employed.
Do you wish me mazal tov on the new jobs? Do you say you’re sorry I have to give up my life of leisure ? Do you complain that I haven’t posted more vacation pictures? I’m not really sure what to tell you. I’m very happy to have the jobs. Both are great gigs working minutes from my house without the need for childcare. I actually do like kids though hanging out with my own these last few weeks of summer forces me to question whether I am capable of love. It doesn’t help that through the wonders of social media, I am now all too aware of the many schools across the land that have already opened their classrooms while I count down the next two weeks of torture. The adorable photos of your kids on their first day of school sting like lemon on my grated soul.
When our boys go back to school, so do I. I will be at work. I will be a teacher. A preschool teacher. An assistant preschool teacher. I imagine going to a party and meeting people and answering the “What do you do” question. I compare this answer to “I’m a stay-at-home mother” and when I try these labels on for size, they both sit funny on me. Bra-fitter seems a better match though I'd hate to strap myself in to something so specialized.
I’d like to say I’m a writer. I am a writer. There I said it. But until I can pay the cable bill, and a few other bills for that matter, with my words, that label hangs on me like a Balenciaga on a hillbilly. I think I’ve exceeded my simile/metaphor quota for one post.
The jobs will be good, and I am grateful. I’ve always said that for me, change is easy. It’s transition that sucks. This is my back-to-work angst, and it’s best to ignore me entirely. Truly. Just ask Gabriella. She’s really good at it.
Look out small, impressionable children! Here I come!!