I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was little I used to force my sister to play school. If she refused to play, my dolls were always willing participants. When I entered my own classroom right after graduating from college, I was excited to begin the journey. Teaching has its ups and downs, but I’ve always taken my role seriously. I am being trusted to teach someone else’s child and help prepare them for their life after high school. To me, it’s a great honor to do so.

Teaching already felt overwhelming and exhausting, and then I became a mom. I love being a mom. It also has its ups and downs. It’s the most challenging role I’ll ever have, but it’s one with the biggest rewards as well. However, being a teacher and a mom can be extremely demanding.

Pre-momhood, after a long day at school I would come home and nap or decompress in front of the TV, maybe even with a glass of wine. Now, it feels like I’m always on. I leave my classroom at the exact same time each day to begin the mad dash across the city to make it to daycare pickup on time. From there, we race home for snack, potty time, tidying up a little around the house from the hectic morning, and then starting dinner.

Downtime doesn’t really come until after my little’s bedtime, and, honestly, I usually just go to sleep. Doing schoolwork at home is nearly impossible, so I try my best to be as productive as possible while at school. It’s early to bed and early to sleep for me. The late nights of my 20s are now a distant memory, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life.

Being a teacher mom makes me an expert at multitasking, organization, and balancing many responsibilities at once. I am a better teacher because I use the hopes I have for my daughter’s educational experience as fuel to provide the best experience for my students. I know their parents also want the best for their children, so I try to rise to that expectation daily. I am a better mom because the patience, compassion, and understanding I have provided to my students for the past 11 years prepared me to provide the same to my daughter. On the days when everything seems to go wrong, I’m thankful that tomorrow is a new day, with new promises and an opportunity to try again.

To my fellow teacher moms, I know the balance is hard. Some days you may feel like a better teacher than a mom, and vice versa. But we have the best jobs in the world. No matter where you are in your teaching career or your current school year, I send you all the positive vibes you need. You are doing an amazing job. Know that I appreciate you today and every day.

Darcel Hunt-Finegold
Darcel Hunt-Finegold is a wife, mother, and life-long Bostonian. Her life passions are education and fitness. She is a proponent of public education and works as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Darcel's own personal health journey inspired her to earn a personal training and group fitness certification as well as create her brand, “Living the QuoBreaking Life.” She encourages women to step out of their comfort zone to create life by their design via mindset and fitness. Darcel loves to run, hike, cook brunch, and discover new places in the New England area with her daughter, husband, and Pomeranian, Brady.