A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Voices from the Classroom: ‘I am exhausted and powerful. I love, am loved. I am a teacher and a mom’

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By Rachael Fait
Beechwood Elementary School

I’m trudging up my basement steps with my unorganized and overflowing teacher bag along with my daughter’s backpack.  My six-year-old son is moving up the steps at a snail’s pace while my three-year-old daughter decides her legs are tired and needs to be carried.  It’s 4:45 and my goal is to unpack, finish homework, give the kids a snack, and do my best to leave the house in 30 minutes to make it to my son’s soccer practice.  My dog is standing there to greet us because she needs to go out and eat.

Okay, I add that to my mental to do list, how could I forget the dog?  

The mom

Balancing the needs of our profession and the needs of our children can be difficult, demanding, and exhausting.  I tell my husband that working with little ones in the classroom and then coming home to my own little ones means I am needed by someone for the majority of my day.  And while that’s an insane amount of pressure, it’s also incredibly rewarding.  

I am needed.  I go to my place of work, and what I do matters. I handle every minute detail and personal exchange matters.  I have the ability to make a child’s day the “best day ever” which goes for my students and my own children.  
 
Regretfully, sometimes I fail.  That’s when the mom/teacher guilt falls upon me.  I question myself.  

Did I do enough today?  Did that student leave happy, have their homework, or need one more hug?  Do my children know how much I love them?  Why did I lose my temper?  I need to go to bed earlier. My house is never spotless and I always have at least two laundry baskets filled in my room waiting to be washed, folded, or put away.

Me

I once saw a “Humans of New York” post that really hit home.   In it a young mother states,  “There are days when I can be great at my job and there are days when I can be a great mom. I’m trying to have as many days that I can do both at the same time. And I’m learning to forgive myself on the days that I can’t.” How powerful and painfully honest!  

Our students, children, family, and friends deserve our best 100% of the time.  But we are only human.  We are going to fail at times, but we reflect, we learn, and we make ourselves better because of it, because we are needed.  This goes beyond parents  that are teachers.  Teachers are daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, grandchildren,  and friends.  They are all needed.  A quality that all exemplary teachers  share is the innate ability to be there when they are needed.
 

The teacher

When I get overwhelmed by being needed 20 out of the 24 hours of the day, I remind myself to pause and take a step back. I appreciate the fact that I am someone’s person they seek for guidance and help. I am their person they trust. I am the person they need.  And then I’m overwhelmed with a different feeling entirely; self- worth.  

There will  be a time in my life that I am no longer needed the way I am now.  I will be retired and my students along with my own children will be grown.   

At that point, I may be the one that is in need.  When that day comes, I will remember these rushed Wednesday afternoons with fondness and wonder why I ever thought I was stressed in the first place.  

I have two  of the best jobs in the world combined into one beautiful, messy, exhausting life.  

I am a mom and teacher.
 
Rachael Fait is a first-grade teacher at Beechwood Elementary School with 12 years teaching experience. She lives in Ft. Mitchell with her husband Zach and two children.  When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling

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4 Comments

  1. Matt Raybuck says:

    This is great. Happy to have Ms Fait in our Beechwood school and community!!

  2. Zach Ashley says:

    One of the very best people and teachers you will ever meet! Thankful to work with Rachael and her children and students are blessed to have her.

  3. Mary Stevens says:

    What a beautiful article written from the heart! Rachael is an amazing woman, wife, teacher and mother! I am so blessed to know and teach with her!

  4. Paul says:

    She’s an amazing teacher. My daughter loves her like she’s family.

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