Let me start this off by saying hello and thank you for reading what I have to say. I’ve never been the best at journaling, and often times my hand begins to hurt before I have said all that is on my mind. As many of you probably already know, when you are a teacher, your mind never stops. Constant thoughts of current and past students, lesson plans, colleagues and friends, and of course – the ever present question: am I doing what is best for these kiddos?
That last question is my deepest and darkest struggle. I am that teacher that arrives early, leaves late, and does all the “extra” tasks that occur during that time in between. As much as I work, as much love as I pour in, I often leave wondering what else could I have done. This question resonates and reverberates with and throughout me; it drives every decision that I make.
The education field makes it difficult to do what is best for students, often providing so many constraints on teachers’ time and what they can do in their classroom that we lose sight of what is most important – the students. So we do the best that we can with what we are given, over and over, year after year, just hoping and praying that it is enough.
Before I continue on with my rant of what is broken and how I would like to fix it, let me introduce myself a little bit: My name is Elizabeth Hardig and I am blessed to be a middle school math teacher in the Houston area.
Did you catch the sarcasm above? “Blessed.” Most students at this pivotal age shy away from math for one simple fact: as educators, we are trying to build a six-story mansion upon a broken foundation. Again, I will momentarily digress for sake of introduction.
I have been teaching for three years, although sometimes it feels like a lifetime. I did not originally want to be a teacher (surprise!). For most of my adolescent life, the plan was to become a pediatrician. My mother is an educator (currently coming up on 35 years), so I knew the stresses attached to education; after all, I had lived with them my entire life. I swore to myself, “I will never be a teacher.”
Amazing how life has its twists and turns, and almost always makes you eat your own words. Let’s fast forward two years. I am in college and deep into my pre-med program. Even though I was living my dream and pursuing a passion that I had always “thought” I had – something was missing. Turned out the passion I thought I had was just my mind convincing me to do something that would appease others. Unfortunately, this notion is becoming more common now-a-days. With the help of family and friends, I sat down and reevaluated what I wanted my life to be. Strangely enough, I still had the same priorities and goals as before: help kids, spread love, and make the world a better place. It only made sense that if pediatrics wasn’t that for me, then education might be. That next day I filed paperwork to change my major, and I thank God daily that I did.
The first time I was in front of a classroom, I felt at home. Almost as if I was meant to be there. Throughout the rest of my collegiate program, school became a breeze (in a sense). I liked the work that I was doing, college no longer felt like a task; it became a necessary step towards my destiny (*cue strobe lights and Tenacious D*). Okay, okay, okay, I’ll agree – maybe destiny takes it a little too far. Purpose. That’s a much better word. I had found my purpose.
Side-note: If you are still reading my long and drawn out life story, thank you! My life is not as interesting as most, but it helped me become me, the me that is currently writing this blog. Which by the way, will probably not always be about education. I tend to veer off on tangents, so I will apologize in advance. Because I am a math teacher, and I love all things number based, I will explain the blog’s themes through percentages. This blog will be approximately 60% education, 20% life, and the remaining 20% will be my never ending search to find the balance between.
Okay, Elizabeth, get back on track. Anyways… I feel that we have touched on all the big ideas: who I am as an educator, why I teach, where I’m from, and the most important fact that yes – I did indeed wear a bunny onesie to school, and yes – my students loved it.
Just in case you haven’t had enough, I’ll give you just a few more supporting details of who I am. It’ll be quick, I promise. I’ll even make them bullet points for you:
- Born and Raised in the Greater Houston Area
- Texas A&M Aggie (WHOOP!)
- Nature Enthusiast
- Avid Sports Fan
- Cat Mom
- Habitual Netflix Binger
- Lover of all Foods
That pretty much sums up who I am. Again, I would like to thank you for reading. Stay tuned for more thoughts!