About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now What?

When I was in fourth grade, I watched the Challenger space shuttle explode, killing all seven astronauts on board - including a high school teacher.  I then decided I was going to be an astronaut.  In middle school, I made my decision even more specific - I would be the first woman to walk on the moon.
In high school, I volunteered in an elementary school as part of a course titled, “World of Education.”  I didn’t want to teach; I was tired of school and ready to be done.  The class was supposed to be an easy “A” for me.  And it was; except, I loved what I was doing.  I loved making a difference in a child’s life.
I decided I would become a teacher.
I went through college on a mission - to graduate and find a teaching position close to my home.  I did both.  And I have taught in the same elementary school for ten years.  
Now, I’m tired.  I’m burned out.  I’m frustrated.  I don’t feel like I’m making a difference.  I don’t feel valued or respected or appreciated.  And to make it worse, I’m a mom now.  So I come home from work after spending six hours with other people’s children and feel I have little energy left for my own child.  I feel like the best of me was spent doing things that I don’t want to do with people I don’t want to do them with.  (Does anyone ever really want to spend an hour discussing equivalent fractions or the rules for apostrophes?)
So, what do I do now?  I’ve got a three-year-old at home, and can’t afford not to be a two-parent-working-family.  The economy isn’t exactly booming and jobs aren’t exactly plentiful.  
I wanted a job, a career, that was meaningful and beneficial, that made a difference.  Teaching is supposed to do that.  I wanted a career to be proud of, that my son would be proud to say, “That’s my mom.”
Yet, more and more, I find myself intrigued by the idea of a more “simple” job.  “Simple” meaning you go to your place of employment, work your hours, and you’re done.  No work to bring home.  No papers to grade while I eat a bagel in the morning.  No lessons to plan after my son is asleep at night.  A job that would have a definitive start and a definitive ending time.
I really noticed a change in my thinking a few months ago.  Struggling with an on-going health problem, I realized that if I was told, heaven forbid, that I suffered some sort of fatal illness, I would not keep teaching.  I would resign.  I would not want to spend my limited time at my current profession.  But, time is limited.  I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t think this is how I want to spend my present.
“Dreams to Jobs” is the name of one of our fourth grade Open Court Reading units.  My students come from families who practice a myriad of jobs - ranging from housecleaning to nursing.  I inform my students that all jobs are important, all jobs matter.  And I mean it.   Now, as a ten-year teacher on the verge of burnout, I am reminding myself of this same thing.  The person who works at Coffee Bean is no less important than I am.  I go to Coffee Bean assuming someone will be working and able to prepare my beverage correctly.  I shop at Trader Joe’s with the assumption that the food will be properly displayed and a cashier will be operating the register so that I may pay for my groceries and go home.  Those jobs are important.  They matter.  Their importance (and stress level) is just different than that of a teacher’s.
As a mother, I think I want to spend my time differently.  I want my concerns to be more about my child than other people’s children.  I want to go home at the end of the day feeling like my work was appreciated and valued.  (I regularly thank any cashiers and retail employees I come into contact with.) 
When I was nine, I knew I would be an astronaut.  I was certain of it.  I was wrong.
When I was sixteen, I knew I would be a teacher.  I was certain of it.  I am.  I’m doing it.  
Now, I’m thirty-five.  Maybe it’s time to try something new.
But that’s the scary part ...


  1. Honey,

    You have my support to do whatever will make you happy!

    I am sorry that your work has been increasingly difficult over the years.

    I know the perfect opportunity will arise soon!

    I Love You with all of my heart!


  2. Honey,

    I Love You!

    Thank you for being an amazing woman!


  3. You are a one of a kind teacher.You are truly devoted to your students.You make a big difference in not only the lives of students but adults as well.I feel students are the way they are due to the lack of interest by their parents.I am by far not perfect but I feel I was always involved in my children's lives not only when they were school age but also as adults.It is sad that you have been having the problems you are having,but never forget you have parents that are requesting you to be their child's teacher.You are an EXCELLENT teacher,a SUPER mommy,a GREAT wife,a TRUE friend and a FANTASTIC daughter.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  4. I enjoy your blog. I also experienced burn-out in my career. My job was where I got the money to pay rent and buy food. I had a family counting on me. I stuck with it. Now that I am retired, I find, that I loved the job more than it loved me. You are special. Your Mother & I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad