By Samantha Lamphier
Ever since I was in the third grade, I’ve wanted to be an elementary school teacher.
The pure-hearted, stern, and loving teachers at Eagle River Elementary School inspired me and sparked my passion for teaching.
I became a teacher, but it wasn’t until I became a mother in 2015 that I truly grasped the responsibility of educating a child. What an honor it was to be a teacher, but what pressure to be a parent!
When it was time to start thinking about school for our children, I spent a great deal of time researching our options. Having come from a public school background, we could have easily followed the familiar, comfortable route of enrolling our daughter in our neighborhood school.
But, I also felt the weight of this important choice on my shoulders. It drove me to research all of our options to try to make the best decision for our family.
I researched the neighborhood schools, lottery programs, homeschool charters, and private schools. I met with administrators and went to open houses. I poured over articles and through facebook groups. I felt I fully understood the requirements of each school or program. We looked heavily into homeschooling; it seemed a perfect fit. It was flexible, well supported in Eagle River, and seemed to fit into our lifestyle. We loved the idea of a religious school; religious curriculum and small class size were just a few benefits – but the costs made this choice unrealistic.
We couldn’t choose – something was holding us back.
Researching was a huge part of the process, but we were waiting for the research to make the decision for us. We lacked direction.
The public school system was all I had ever known. I attended public school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. After earning my teaching certificate, I went back to the public school system. I will always be grateful for that experience. Public schools are home to many talented teachers who must find ways to serve a wide range of students with varying needs.
While I treasured my years working in a public school, I had to ask myself, is this where my girls would thrive?
And then it happened. A fellow Bible study member had a child enrolled in a local Christian school and mentioned that they were looking for a teacher.
I realized that this was what we had been waiting for.
I prayed, I talked with my husband, and I thought about our girls. I interviewed for the position, and when the offer came back, I said yes.
This fall, I will be going back to work full time as an elementary school teacher. I will be practicing my passion for teaching, and our daughter will be starting school in a place we had only dreamed of being able to send her.
When it’s time for your family to make this difficult decision, ask questions, do the research, but have faith. Look for direction where you may not expect, and as difficult as the choice may be, don’t let the privilege become an unnecessary burden.