Owning an incurable and/or chronic disease requires a lot of sacrifices. Of course, this ownership is not of free choice, so it ultimately up to the owner how she (Sorry about the gender discrimination. I am just speaking fro myself.) will manage the these inconvenient circumstances.
The biggest sacrifice I have made as a result of "owning" MS is my unplanned retirement. Now, don't get me wrong. It was probably (no, definitely) a good idea to retire when I did, but I miss it every day.
... the smell of the school. I retired from an older building where the janitors still cleaned with Murphy's Oil Soap and some classrooms still had honest-to-goodness chalk boards so the chalk dust odor was still evident. (And probably hazardous, but that was the least of my worries. I discovered dust free chalk many years ago.) My classroom windows were huge and wood framed, and I could actually open them when I wanted fresh air. The floor's gleaming wood finish allowed for some "give" so that shin splints from excessive standing was never an issue. I LOVED my classroom as if it was another room in my house. My door was always open and anyone was welcome to step in and peruse my classroom library or sit a spell, eat lunch, observe my students, or share words of wisdom to enhance the lesson being presented at the time.
I miss writing lesson plans and grading papers. While many of my colleagues (whom I miss dearly) oft complained about the extra paper work, I thrived on developing a weekly or monthly plan that outlined my purpose both for the administration and for the students. That need for an agenda has not quelled since my premature departure from the annals of academia. I strategically plan any trip outside my home, plotting my journey according to area locations of bathrooms and logical organization destinations. I do NOT like to backtrack so it is important to me to make the best of any adventure. For instance, today I need to go to the market fro a few items, but I am also in need of some knitting supplies in order to complete my latest project. Since these destinations are relatively along the same route, I am content that n time will be wasted during today's possible outing.
... my teacher friends. Considering they were probably the only friends I really had, the absence of them has left a major hole in my heart. No offense toward my actual "bestie", but she lives, retired, in another town some miles away so daily visits are not possible. There is something to be said about after-work ranting with other folks who understand and can offer consolatory words and/or advice. Teachers do not want suggestions from the "civilian" world. Teachers tick together in their trials.
...my students. After teaching high school for eighteen years, I re-located to junior high school before moving on to middle school. There may be a difference in age, but I learned that basically there is little difference in the curriculum. The biggest difference between senior high students and eighth graders is hormonal. And, oh boy, do those hormones rage in the veins of newly crowned teenagers. but, I learned to love that age group. Thirteen year olds are fierce They are high-strung individuals passionate about becoming adults and desperate to retain their childhood. Eighth graders are loyal to a fault ans anxious please even when they don't do so. They are highly impressionable and searching for the perfect role-model. One who does not lecture, but instead nurtures.
And...eighth graders need teachers who can and will be there for them every second of every day. that's where my retirement comes into play.
MS no longer allowed me to be there for those students every second of every day. The constant, yet unpredictable, need to leave the classroom to attend to bathroom duties or walk off a spastic cramp began interfering in sometimes detrimental ways for my students. Although the rest room was only next door to my classroom it was miles away in the face of not-unheard-of student disputes or uncomfortable situations. No that there were many, but a pattern bean to emerge with my unplanned absences.
Bless my dear teacher friends with whom I confided. anyone near begged me to alert them so that their presence could be known to cover any lapse in adult supervision. The problem, though, is that MS gives very little (if any) warning of impending bodily activity. By the time any savior arrive it would be too late. Did that happen? Oh, yea. In one way or another, I am certain I soiled myself about a dozen times during my last year and a half of teaching. Fortunately no one was the wiser (at least I hope) and I was able to
remedy my situation before the next class arrived.
This severe incontinence also interfered with planned field trips to the point that I began covering other classes so that other teachers who probably would not have been eligible to go cold take my place. This really sucked when I was the only eighth grade English teacher on staff and had to be absent from important events in my student's educational journey. Talk about feeding the MonSter's insatiable appetite for depression, I realized years before my planned retirement that it was time. My original goal was to teacher until my son graduated from college (or at least was financially comfortable there) but he and I left the middle school the same year. He to conquer high school; me to wrestle with the other evils.
So, here I am reliving the glory days and wishing I was healthy and strong and still out there in the field.
Yes, I miss teaching.
What do you miss most?