It's been more than two years since I wrote anything for this blog. I have thought about it several times, but I each time I did, I felt as if I had nothing to contribute, nothing to say that had interest or value. More so than anything, I think my creative energies focused on fitting back into the working world by returning to teaching after an extended break, and figuring out how to balance home and job in the best way possible.
I also had to find out who I was again, in the context of myself. I had been solely Momma for six years and I needed to rediscover exactly who Melanie was. I'm still working on it, and still surprising myself on occasion when I find a new facet of who I am. The itch to write, however, has been resurfacing lately and getting harder and harder to ignore. I feel rusty at it, but like I tell my students and my own children, the best solution for almost any problem is action. You'll never know if you don't try. So please forgive this attempt if it falls short, but getting back into the regular writing game is going to take some practice. It's kind of scary because I am used to being good at putting words together, to conveying a message. I hate not being good at something I care about. Nevertheless, I need to just suck it up and jump back into writing, even if takes several attempts to get back to being coherent and well-written. As a friend of mine told me once when I was lamenting about using technology in the class room and my fear of screwing up, "You just need to go ahead and do it. You can't suck at it forever."
I just finished my third year as a social studies teacher for a small alternative high school, and for the most part, I have enjoyed every minute of it. In addition to teaching several different courses and sponsoring clubs and classes, I jumped into becoming a member of the teacher's union. With both endeavors, I discovered that as I have aged my voice has become clearer and stronger. Initially I worried that my break from teaching had caused me to lose my ability to teach well, to lose my sharpness and skill. However, I was very pleasantly surprised that my confidence regarding my skills and contributions became more solidified. I actually think I am a better teacher now than I was when I worked for 11 years straight. Taking that time to be a stay-at-home mother, facing financial difficulties, living through some very challenging personal issues, and having time to reflect and explore what's important in this life gave me a better perspective on all different kinds of people, especially young people. I think I am better able to empathize with students and the issues they bring with them to school because I have faced some of those issues first-hand. Taking that time helped to clarify a lot of my ideas about what is important in teaching, and even though I had to play a lot of catch up with pedagogy and the best practices, I am a better teacher than I was before. I am better a person than I was before, and I am fortunate that I can bring my improved self to the class room and share it with students.
I am at a point where I feel pretty balanced and centered in my life. I think that's why I want to write again. I don't know if I have anything of merit to say, but that's not really the point anyway. It's a creative outlet and I have both the desire and the room for it again. That makes me happy. So, I am going to pursue it. I am going to enjoy it, work at it, and get better at it. It feels good to be back.