Since Monday, I have been in three different time zones, rented three different cars, flown through too many cities while working with some amazing educators in Wisconsin, Philadelphia and tomorrow in Washington, DC. I truly enjoy the work that I am doing. I am not bored, completely challenged and can choose the work I want to be engaged in. It is an extremely fortunate space to inhabit. I am grateful everyday.
Last night I was offered some interesting work in California. I checked my calendar and it was smack dab in the middle of a potential 8-day river trip with the students that I long termed subbed with last year. I texted the AZ teacher that I’ve been on school river trips since 2002 to say, hey, I might take some work instead of going on the river. I let the text sit there overnight and he responded, we would love to have you, but make whatever choice is best for you, we totally understand.
And as I sit at a table in the Amtrak café cart headed from Philly to DC, prepping to work with another amazing crew of teachers tomorrow… I had a moment of clarity. There was no way I was giving up the chance to go downriver with this group of kids. The overworking, cautious Midwesterner kicked in for a moment and I had to kick her back to the curb where she belongs.
Let it be known… that working hard is something that I value deeply, engage in even when there is no money involved and feel compelled to do more than is probably wise. However, let it also be known that choosing to be on that trip with those kids will mean more to me than a year’s worth of paying work. This might be the last group of kids I have that student/teacher relationship with, for some time. I have chosen to be out of the classroom for the time being, it is something I actively choose but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss it every. single. day.
Today I reminded myself that when the choice is more work (albeit, interesting and meaningful work) and kids. I choose kids, definitely kids.