Education

The Award for Most Imrpoved

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I am a preschool teacher.
I absolutely love watching children grow and reach milestones in their development. As an infertile, teaching preschool is tough. But as an educator, teaching preschool can be so fulfilling at times.

I have actually  worked with all ages between three months and ten years, but I am currently  working with toddlers and twos. I am a lead teacher in a two’s classroom, and a substitute  teacher for infant and toddler classes when their teachers are out.

In my class, we have ten children, and one of them – we’ll call him “Max” – seemed to have some serious developmental issues. My kids stay with me for a full calendar year, and from the time Max joined our class almost a year ago until just a few months ago (June or July), I really had not seen much development.

My superiors at work were constantly asking if I thought he needed to be placed in special education, while my coworkers shook their heads at him and made comments to me like, “I don’t know how you do it!”  And I have to admit that there were a lot of times where I felt exhausted and truly challenged by this child. But deep inside I knew that Max was/is a typically developing child with no need for special  education  – just a need for more discipline, more boundaries, and higher expectations.

The first  time that I tried talking to his parents, I felt that they were uninterested  in anything I had to say. They seemed annoyed that I would find any sort of fault with their child and they seemed offended by my “implications” of their bad parenting. Perhaps I misread them, but this was the impression that they gave me.

For a long time, the mother barely spoke to me and I have no idea if this  was purposeful  or if she was truly  in a rush. But I felt that she didn’t like me at all! Meanwhile,  Max’s behavior and delayed development  seemed to be getting  worse and worse.

I’m  not sure what changed his parents’ mind, but I think it was when Max hurt another child and we warned them that our director has a three-strikes-you’re-out policy. They seemed to start disciplining more and mom even started talking  to me again!

She informed me that she was going to have him tested for any developmental delays and have him put in speech therapy.  Music to my ears. Of course, I told her my thoughts – which were that I encouraged the testing but honestly did not believe Max was incapable of being (developmentally) where he should  be, but that he was just not doing more than the bare minimum  because it was not required of him.

A specialist came to visit and observe Max during class, and I had a nice, long chat with her. It felt so good to know that she agreed with me and that she would do what she could to help Max’s parents and I get on the same page.

Max is now only a couple of days away from leaving  my class and graduating to the next age group, and thankfully  he is doing much better! I adore this little boy and am so proud of all the progress he has made in these short months. He is talking more, is doing more for himself, is less aggressive, is able to follow directions  and pay attention,  is making  choices (good ones!), and is just an absolutely  adorable  bundle of affection.
I’m so proud of him.

Preschool teachers often feel undervalued  and overworked – even more so than teachers who teach within a school system. We are often seen as little more than glorified babysitters, and we are not often taken seriously  by parents or professionals in other fields.

But seeing improvements in kids like Max and watching these kids gain confidence and independence makes it so worth it.

And I will be so happy if, one day, I can experience this type of pride in a child from a mother’s point of view.

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Christianity, Family, Infertility

Dear God: Though You Slay Me.

Dear God,

Every October that passes without a child is another year that’s gone by since my husband and I began trying to concieve. There are so many lectures, songs, and scriptures that encourage us to worship You through the most difficult times of our lives. And although I’ve matured a lot during this process, I can’t say that I always handle my struggle to have children in the most spiritually mature way. In theory, it sounds like a great idea to worship You despite my challenges. On a day like today, when I’m home alone cleaning my apartment or working on a blog post, I can listen to all the uplifting music I want. I can post scripture verses all over my house. I can avoid looking at Facebook or Instagram where I am sure to see pictures of everyone’s children or pregnancy announcements.  I can pray prayers of thanksgiving for as long as I have the time. It’s so easy to do that.

But eventually I have to leave home. And when I do, simple, everyday tasks become harsh reminders that I cannot produce children. My body is broken, indefinitely. And I have no way of knowing whether or not it will heal. Only You know. That’s when it gets hard.

Seeing the love and pride my students’ parents have for their children is hard. I may never get the chance to experience those feelings for my own child. And yet, I know You’ve called me to continue working with children. Fighting with insurance about expensive medical prodecures that aren’t considered “necessary” is hard. Why can’t they see that I am only trying to get my body to do what You created it to be able to do? And, if You created it to be able to function in this way, why won’t it? Answering the “Why don’t you have kids yet?” question, and rebounding from the “You should be glad you don’t have kids…” comment is hard. A trip to the store or a walk around my neighborhood and seeing all of the expecting mothers and young families is hard.

Watching my husband play with our friends’ kids, knowing that it’s my body’s fault that he doesn’t have his own kids to play with. That’s hard. He may never get the chance to become a father, because of me. I have robbed him.

In theory, I am supposed to have a worshipful attitude during times like these. But in practice, those are trigger moments for me. Those are moments that throw me into deep holes out of which it may take several days to climb. Then, once I get out, I am often immediately faced with another such trigger moment. It’s a hopeless, relentless, never-ending, life-consuming cycle.

But this is the path down which You are leading me.

I don’t want you to think I am being ungrateful. Some people my age have lost their husbands. I know others who are facing terminal illnesses. I know people who have slept on park benches at night. I thank you everyday that I haven’t had to face those things, yet. And if Job could agree to trust you despite losing everyone he loved and everything he owned, I can surely follow his example and do the same.

I’ll just need You to help me figure out how.

Family

I Still Do

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Some of my blogging friends are doing this thing called “little happies,” in which they blog about whatever they are grateful for at the moment.

Last weekend, my husband and I were invited to attend a marriage conference called “I Still Do” with some friends of ours. We got to hear a lot of different speakers and many interesting stories about the different things a couple goes through in the various stages of marriage. At the end of it all, we renewed our vows and went out for dinner with the friends who’d invited us. We had a lot of fun!

One thing that stood out to me during this conference was just how good our marriage actually is. We didn’t always have it so good, but thankfully we have become best friends over the six years that we have been married.

So, I guess my “little happy” for the week is that – although my husband and I could have easily ended up in marital torment – we worked our way into marital bliss instead. 

I’m so grateful for him.