Okay, not really over. Just put on hold for a while. It’s official: I’ll be staying at my teaching job for a few more years.
As you may have heard, there once was a plan for my wife and I to have a kid. Then I would become a stay-at-home-dad and have some extra time to work on pottery/photography/design while watching the kid. We bought a house a few miles from my wife’s school and she got her master’s degree. I slowly put together a small clay studio and we tried to save up a little money. Then we had an awesome little girl. But she turned out to be SO awesome that my wife can’t stay away from her for very long. So she will be the one staying at home and I will continue to teach reading.
We tried our best to make it work. My wife tried to get a part time position at her school. But her school got enough funding to make the part time position a full time position. She tried to get them to split it but they said that they couldn’t. On the plus side I do work at the finest primary school in all the land. But I’ve always dreamed of creating things for a living, or at least giving it a shot.
To be honest, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past few months. I guess looking back, I’ve always had a passion for making things. But maybe I didn’t realize how strong that passion was. As the school years have passed by, my desire to make things has gotten stronger. Or at least I’ve noticed it more or maybe I’ve just gotten tired of teaching things instead of making things.
As I started the previous school year it was an exciting time. Not only because half the staff members were new and I was back “at home” working for the coolest principal, but because it was almost the end. The end of piles of paperwork and reports and lessons. And staying late for parent meetings or track meets. And only seeing my kid for a few minutes before she went to bed on some days. The worst part of my “new job” was going to be changing stinky diapers and trying to keep the kid from getting too dirty before mom got home.
As the school year passed by an excitement started to grow. Every day after I finished my teaching and coaching duties I felt better and better. I’m not much for emotion but I was nearing ecstatic levels on some days. Especially as I worked in my studio on weekends and thought about how a little extra time would allow me to do so many new things.
But now… it’s back to the weekend/breaks/summer studio hours. Which is a little bit of a letdown to say the least. I just feel slightly bad that I’m an educator and I don’t feel that my top priority in life is to teach kids how to read.
Maybe I’m a terrible person for not feeling as proud of helping a kid to be a better reader as I am of throwing a 12 inch vase with only a few pounds of clay. Maybe karma is kicking my tail for wanting to read books about how to make a stable glaze instead of how to help a kid comprehend a story. I see all these other teachers that will do about anything to help students succeed and I feel a little bad that I don’t want to stay until 5:00 or spend my break time or weekends working on things for school. Maybe it’s just the grind of the school year. Maybe other teachers feel like this too? Maybe I’m just burnt out. Maybe when I come back after a summer of learning and creating I’ll be happy to jump back in and get these kids headed in the right direction. And happy to have a job that provides insurance and a safe place to work!
It HAS gotten a little better now that I’m on summer break and I’m free to spend all day throwing or working on my websites. But I’m worried that when I head back to school I’ll feel the same way that I did when my wife decided she couldn’t go back and my dreams of doing what I love busted to pieces like a bone dry pot hitting the floor. The good news is that you can pick up those bone dry pieces, throw them in some water and eventually have some “brand new” clay to work with.
So maybe it’s a good thing. I’ll have a chance to do some trial runs with the online sales and maybe try a couple art fairs or other outlets. Maybe I can make some connections and learn a few things from the members of the Clay Guild this summer. And if I have to wait a few more years to set up shop as a craftsman/artist then I’ll have a few more years of work under my belt. And if I completely bomb I can look for something else and I’ve got my education degree to fall back on. And my good looks of course!
So here’s the new plan: I’m going to work my tail off this summer and head back to school in the fall. I plan to give up coaching for now. I’m working on opening an Etsy shop to explore online sales. We thought about moving over to Ligonier so I wouldn’t have to spend over an hour per day in the car. But if my wife plans to get a job at her school again I don’t think moving two times in a few years makes sense. It took me about 3 years to get my clay studio set up the way I want it, no sense in taking it down now!
Really, if you think about it, not much is going to change. If I hadn’t gotten my hopes up FOR the change it would be business as usual and I would be writing about glaze tests and new work. It will just be hard to get back to teaching after feeling like I was finished with it and headed into something new.
So… I guess I could have just written a book. I started this post at the end of the school year when I thought it might be interesting to get some thoughts on paper. I was still hoping for a miracle but today my wife turned in her resignation letter. If you read this whole thing I don’t know if I should say thanks, or feel sorry that you’re reading about my First World problems when there HAS to be something more worthwhile you could be doing. But thanks anyway!