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momacress

My husband and I are both teachers. He is a fourth year English teacher, I'm currently student teaching in Social Studies. I've been on both sides of the teacher marriage and I can honestly say that it has taken four years, but I'm happy to report that its Sunday and Mr. Momacress is sitting next to me on the couch reading a Stephen King novel and drining coffee. It can happen, I promise. His mentor teacher when he was first starting out gave him a very important piece of information: The only cure for the first year is the second year. Though in our case it took about three years. But it happened.

Here's the main thing: At first in teaching you're going on pure adrenaline and fear. Fear that you aren't doing enough, fear that you're a fraud, fear that there is some student who really does need that one last comment on their paper that you were thinking of skipping. Fear that you'll be called in by administration and reprimanded. That's a lot of fear and it can mask the mental and physical fatigue. For a while. But in the end, you can only really be there for your students if you take care of your own physical, spiritual and intellectual needs. After that adrenaline rush subsides a bit, you need something else to keep you going and that something else is your *life*. Live it. If you don't, you will burn out and will not be able to be there for the students five years from now.

I know that in my case my husband being a beginning teacher almost caused us to seperate after only being married a year. He became so wrapped up in his own personal hell, there was no room for me, our marriage or our friendship. It was a shame and I'll continue to blame not him but a system that teaches us that to be a great teacher you have to sacrifice everything for your students. Which is, in a word, BS. Neither of us signed up to be a martyr. A teacher, yes. But not a martyr.

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