Something tells me that many people don’t fully understand what it means to be a teacher, and what the profession can end up costing you.
It’s now 11:30 pm and I’m in bed, about to go to sleep. I have been working for almost 16 hours.
Today I got up at 5:30 and taught from 7 until 3.
Right after that I had a track meet until 6:15, and I got home around 6:45.
When I got home I put some pizza in the microwave and Meghaan and I talked for about 30 minutes about our days. Lela had a doctor’s appointment, so we had a lot to talk about. She got some shots, she was weighed, and she is doing really well, according to the doctor.
And then Meghaan asked me a question that, when looking back on it, breaks my heart.
She asked, “do you want to hold Lela for a little bit?”
I replied, “I want to, so much. But I have to go to work. It’s almost 7:30.”
It killed me to say that and it’s still eating me up as I think about it.
I had to go into the basement for 3 hours to print some shirts. And the reason we print shirts is so we can afford to have Meghaan stay home and raise our daughter. Before Lela, we just printed to pay our bills. Don’t get me wrong- I love the creative process and I enjoy all the great opportunities that have come from owning Moreland Print. But after a long day, the last thing you want to do is pull ink through a screen for hours.
We really only print because we have to. Because teaching does not pay a living wage for a family.
There’s nothing normal about passing up an opportunity to hold your baby so that you can make enough money to pay your bills. Especially when you’ve already been working for 12 hours at that point.
Teaching comes with a significant cost to me and my family. I love it and I think I’m really good at it. But when you only bring home a little over $2000 a month, you have to find a way to make some more money. So all of our “time off” is really spent finding other ways to make money.
Now the cost is becoming way too high for me. I don’t ever want to be the father who is too consumed by his job to be with his children.
Sadly, my profession forced me to be that father tonight.
And I don’t think I can do that again. I can’t do that to myself, and I absolutely cannot do that to Lela.