I have always envied people who feel like their job/career is a fulfillment of what they were created to do.
Daughter began her last semester of college this week and today begins her internship, or student teaching, the last step in her becoming a full fledged teacher.
And I believe she was born to do it.
She started playing school at a very young age. When her little brother was old enough to sit up, he became her student. My parents had given us an old antique desk and she would have him sit there to do his "lessons." He was required to say the Pledge of Allegiance and say "Good morning" to her at the start of the school day. He was not always the most obedient student but he was all she had and she was eventually able to coerce him into tolerable cooperation (after a few parent-teacher conferences, of course).
She also loved going to school -- every aspect of it. When we moved from Little Rock to Nashville she was in third grade. In Little Rock she and Older Son had attended a small, private Christian school that at the time was located in a church.
With the move to Tennessee, we decided to go the public school route and save all that tuition money for college. Daughter immediately took to it. She loved riding the school bus, the long hallways and bells ringing. She was also fascinated with the big cafeteria and was delighted with the cafeteria ladies and their hair nets.
The structure of school was always a perfect fit for her. For a very brief interim period before we moved, when school had already started, Wife home-schooled Older Son and Daughter rather than have them start the school year and pull them out. Older Son, who has many of the personality traits of his mom, could not imagine a better life with the concentrated daily time frame under which Wife conducted home school. He had learned to play golf and was usually on the course before noon during that brief period.
Daughter, on the other hand, experienced one of the most stressful times of her life when she would get up, eat breakfast, put a bow in her hair and seat herself at the kitchen table promptly at 8 a.m., ready for class, only to find her "teacher" (her mother) and brothers still sleeping. She was convinced that irreparable damage was being done to her educational progress.
With no principal on the campus, she would report her concerns to me and I would try to mediate between her and her teacher/mom. (As it turned out, she was more than well prepared when she began her third grade class at her new school).
Going to get school supplies for the upcoming school year was always one of her best days. Her favorite of all was the "pencil pouch" and a new one was, of course, required each year. Even last week before she went back, I could hear the lilt in her voice as she told me she was going to buy a lunch box to take with her to her new class.
She has given us detailed accounts of her "hands-on" education classes over the last couple of years, and her passion is undeniable.
She has already sent me a text message today, saying she has told her second grade students about our dog, Ralph, and that she loves her teacher.
That's exactly what I would expect. I am picturing her in that classroom today, in front of those little boys and girls -- herself not so far removed from that little girl who so conscientiously taught her brother -- and I am immensely proud of and happy for her. I believe many children will benefit from this little girl who was born to teach.