I went back to work today.
I was dreading it, if you hadn’t noticed.
It was hard to leave the baby.
I was standing by the elevator crying when I left. I didn’t want to go to drop-off at daycare. I made my honey do it. I couldn’t stand to prolong it. Plus, gathering all of my pumping gear took way longer than I’d expected.
The actual work day was pretty easy. The sub who has had my class so far is with me today and tomorrow. So I just watched her teach and took notes on her routines so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel with the kids. My students were on their best behavior. It was nice to see my colleagues again, though I had to stop myself from crying about twenty times.
When the teacher sat down to do read aloud, she read this chapter from a non-fiction book: “Newborn Polar Bear Pups.” For real? I was part laughing and part inner-crying while she read how polar bears nurse their young (What time is it? When can I pump?) And how they ween their young. How they burrow a warm and cozy place in the snow to have their babies and cuddle them close. Did you know that female polar bears just mate with the males, then don’t hang out with them at all? The males try to eat their young. I’m starting to remember the things I like about teaching.
Since the other teacher was there, I was able to work out some kinks I was worried about. I found out that I don’t have a prep period until last period on Mondays and Tuesdays, but an intervention teacher comes in on those mornings, so she said I could sneak off to pump while she’s there and together we figured out that I could do it in the ESL room, just down the hall. I did actually make it all the way to lunch time without pumping and it wasn’t so bad, but I’m nervous that it will lessen my supply.
When I ran like the wind to daycare after school to pick up Trucker and Cake, I was surprised to find my baby boy happy as a clam. So very happy, in fact, that the tearful, cuddly nurse-me-right-now reunion I expected didn’t come. He was busy watching another baby wrestle with a baby chair. He was having a blast. He barely threw a glance my way. Which is, of course, great. It makes leaving him that much easier. They had just fed him (I didn’t expect that.) So I did have to endure a rather painful walk home, completely engorged over an iced-over sidewalk with a toddler and a stroller.
Once I got home, I pulled out a note a student had written me:
Dear ms. Oneofhismoms
you are here you are
going to lern alot about
us and awer names
your the beast teacher
to and I will miss
you when you leave again.
I don’t know when I’m leaving again. I got several notes with similar sentiments. I think they just can’t separate her leaving from my coming. And I’ve been called the best teacher a thousand times (second graders give up that title fairly easily.) This is the first time I’ve been called the “beast teacher.” I’m not sure if it means I am the beast or I teach the beasts, but I like it.