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edu180atl: emily zavitz 2.7.12

I struggle to find balance.

As an English teacher with three preps and two children ages 3 and 6, I often allow the immediate to become synonymous with important. I’m easily overwhelmed, and I frequently worry that I put my school “children” before my biological “children.”

Today, I did just the opposite. I asked a colleague to cover my 3rd period journalism class, jumped in the car, and drove (okay, sped) to my daughter’s elementary school. I arrived just in time to observe 22 precious kindergartners file into the cafeteria, weave their way down the length of table A, and dump the contents of their lunches onto the long table.

I found myself run-walking past the hot lunch offerings of chicken nuggets and applesauce, clutching my purse, cell phone, and a small bag of m&m’s.

I was practically in front of her before her eyes caught mine, and the smile that spread across my daughter’s face triggered an awkward, overly-emotional, misty-eyed response in me. I shyly greeted her with, “Hi, Baby. Can I have lunch with you today?” She nodded a shy response, clearly reacting the same way I was.

And it was chaotic and beautiful and special to eat lunch in an elementary school cafeteria with my first-born.
Back at school, I felt invigorated and excited to discuss ellipsis with my AP students. I felt balanced, and my school “children” benefitted because I learned to find that balance. I was a great teacher AND a great mother today.

Emily Zavitz (@EmZavitz) is a high school English teacher, blogger, photographer-in-training, and mother of two.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for this lovely and relevant post. I particularly like: “I was practically in front of her before her eyes caught mine, and the smile that spread across my daughter’s face triggered an awkward, overly-emotional, misty-eyed response in me. I shyly greeted her with, “Hi, Baby. Can I have lunch with you today?” She nodded a shy response, clearly reacting the same way I was.” I have had similar moments to the one you capture here.

    February 8, 2012
  2. Stephen G. Kennedy #

    A charming and “idyllic” piece of writing. Sometimes teachingandlearning means speeding to the source of what matters the most. One’s own children can often be powerful inspiration for infusing teaching with a special passion. Even as a Head of School, I always try to imagine that all the students are “my children” — and I often hear teachers who don’t have their own biological children refer to their class as “my children” in the most personal sense. Thank you for this!

    February 8, 2012
  3. Yes, balance and invigoration. I know the feeling of bringing your whole self (back) to the students in your classroom. Meaning and purpose breed valuable energy for this work with the “other” children. Thank you.

    February 8, 2012

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