Whenever the discussion of Bath, Body, Candle Moments comes up, I’m often asked: “I bet you can’t wait until you can quit your day job, right?” The question comes from a good place – a place of honor and respect for the business I’ve grown, a place of admiration for the products I’ve formulated, a place where we all live the “American Dream” to run our own business. While I love everything about owning my own business, and of course, I dream to own a brick-and-mortar store one day, I have an incredibly hard time envisioning my life outside of the classroom.
There are days when my alarm goes off at 5am and all I want to do is kick it. Usually, it’s on Monday…or Tuesday…or Wednesday. I have a count-down to the next vacation. I curse myself when it’s Sunday night and everyone is watching The Walking Dead and I’m revising lessons, or grading homework, or sending notes home. There are days when I have walked out of school in tears. There are days when I feel like every classroom decision I have made was wrong.
But every day, I walk out feeling honored. I feel honored that I have been entrusted with beautiful, young, inquiring high-school minds eager to understand their world. I feel honored that I have been able to share my love, joy, and insight into literature with students. I feel honored that someone believed so much in my words that he/she wrote them down.
Every day I walk out feeling humbled. I am humbled that a student felt compelled to stop and tell me that today was a great class. I am humbled when I have a room full of brilliant minds who have laughed at my jokes. I am humbled when an alum comes back from college to tell me that my class made a difference; that I have made a difference in his/her life.
Every day I am rejuvenated in my love of literature. I have true, deep, philosophical questions about life, the universe, and the meaning of it all with students who are far more insightful than they are given credit for. I am rejuvenated by brilliant colleagues who are so deeply knowledgeable of their content that I am always learning from them. I am rejuvenated by the metaphorical light bulb that shines through the eyes of a student who suddenly understands the reason for it all.
I teach. I learn. I serve. I serve a greater purpose. I serve a higher authority. I serve the next generation.
I love creating art through soap, candles, and skin care. I honor the appreciation of a person who spends money on my art. I am humbled by the praise that someone believes my work is beautiful enough to be a gift.
But I am always a teacher, first.
I teach not because I “couldn’t do anything else,” but because I know how hard I will always work to earn the honor, love, and respect of my students. I teach because I adore the relationships I build with my students. I teach because I know what a difference a good teacher can make. I teach for the love of the game.
I could not give up my day job even if I never walked into a school again. Teaching is in my heart, my soul. I will not live forever and what a waste it would have been to learn so many things and not share it. I will always feel the urge, the need, the hunger to pass on the skills to question the world around us.
I will not give up my day job because I have made it my responsibility, my duty, my promise to leave this world a little better than I found it.