life, teaching

Used to be

Today was my first day of work. I wore a crisp white shirt and dark black suit with a strand of pearls around my neck. Three years of law school, numerous legal internships, and a whirlwind application/interview process lead me here today.. An almost-lawyer ready to fight for truth and justice.

And yet- this morning as I sat waiting for the lady in human resources to process me I noticed a picture of her daughter in a bright blue dress grinning at me with a toothless smile. “Is this from school?” I asked. She nodded. “My school used that background as well” I said smiling. My supervisor ,who walked in as I said this, smiled at me “That is who used to be. You wear a different mantle now.”

Used to be? It’s strange to comprehend that I used to be a teacher and that I no longer am. For so many years teaching defined who I was, woven inextricably to my very person as natural as breathing. Though three years of grueling graduate work was done with the intention to be where I am today, somehow actually shedding my old skin and embracing the new seems to be more bitter sweet than anticipated. Somehow I can’t escape the memory of Demba’s beautiful smile as he learned to read before my eyes. Somehow talking to teacher friends about lesson plans and learning centers still brings me joy.

And yet I’ve left the world of red apples and Roald Dahl stories and traded it in for fast paced lunch meetings and trial calenders. Though I hope I will make a broader impact for children through this avenue, and hopefully this new career will be rewarding and meaningful its scary to say goodbye to a career I knew I loved and excelled in. Will I be good at what I do? Will I succeed? Was I really meant to be a lawyer? Was I really meant to be a “used to be teacher“? Was this leap of faith into a whole new world worth the deep sense of loss I feel today as I begin a new journey into completely unchartered territory?

I hope so.

18 thoughts on “Used to be”

  1. You’ll be just fine. Continue to believe in yourself. I wish you the very best in your chosen path. Insha’Allah you’ll do great!P.S. You still are a teacher, in so many other ways. Nothing can really take that away from you :o)


  2. You’re fighting so that more children and teachers are able to experience the joy that you and your students did. You wouldn’t have gone through L school if you didn’t feel that, in some way, you were meant to do this. I think you will do just fine ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Mezba, Suroor, Mystic thank you for your vote of confidence.Enyur thanks so much for the PS ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully in some ways I always will be.Rehtwo that means a lot coming from you since I know you’ve been reading me from back in the day when I actualy was a teacher. I agree, in some ways I feel I was meant to do this. Hopefully that means I will do right by it. Thanks.


  4. What a date to start a new job.I don’t know about this “used to be” business. Why can’t it still be part of you?When I became a mother, I didn’t cease to be a daughter. I may have had to change, sometimes dramatically so, but human beings are complex enough to be more than 1 thing at once.You are still a teacher, perhaps not profession wise, but in your heart (where it matters most). You are a teacher and an almost lawyer. You are a writer and a very good friend.See? More than one thing ๐Ÿ™‚You will succeed in many things in this life, Aisha. Look back on all you’ve accomplished. You are already a success. Anything more is just icing on the cake.


  5. Aneesa, thank you so much for putting it that way.. makes me feel better ๐Ÿ™‚Tee, you’re right.. my mom says I will be a teacher to my kids.. my job is interesting and its exhausting but there are perks to not being a teacher such as flexible hours… when you’re a teacher you have a time schedule and you must stick to it.. you can’t take lunches really as a teacher… you can’t have a bad mood day because your kids dont deserve that..t hough in a desk job your computer doesnt care… ๐Ÿ™‚ There are posotives I suppose!


  6. i have no idea why you decided to switch careers, but from what i gather you did it for all the right reasons and with a lot of thought. i’m sure you’ll make an excellent lawyer.


  7. ..speaking as a former teacher (albeit for only a year) once a teacher, always a teacher! good luck in law land – you will do just fine!!-ash


  8. Wow. Well, you are many steps ahead of most who would be wondering whether or not they should do this or that for the rest of their lives rather than try it out and see. If you have come this far in the process, I think you’re pretty well a shoe-in for a good lawyer.


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