Travis Naughton

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur for yours truly, (and not just because I’ve been taking prescription painkillers).

You may recall reading in last week’s column that I was recently named the interim music teacher at Southern Boone County Primary School. Someone else had been hired to replace the school’s previous music teacher, the wonderful Miss LaRose (who left on good terms after her contract ended), but just weeks before the new school year was set to begin, the position unexpectedly became vacant once again. I was honored when the district’s administrators asked me to step into the role as a long-term substitute until a permanent, certified replacement could be hired.

There was just one problem. As the first day of school drew nearer and nearer, it became apparent that everyone who wanted a job teaching music already had one. Therefore, with the approval of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), school officials offered the job to me for the full year.

Of course, I said yes.

With no time to let the notion of being a real teacher sink in, I immediately went to work. I spent two full days in new-employee training and learning about all of the behind-the-scenes things teachers have to do. The very next day, I fulfilled a previously scheduled obligation. I underwent hernia repair surgery.

While I would never insinuate that the excruciating discomfort I felt in my lower abdomen and nether region the day after having my procedure done was in any way comparable to the agony women must feel while giving birth, I will contend that it was as close as I will ever come to knowing that kind of pain.

Sitting up, sitting down, standing, walking, and breathing are startlingly painful endeavors when one’s belly is stitched together in five different places inside and out. Thank goodness for my wife—who is a trained medical professional—and for prescription painkillers.

Men are, without any doubt, the far-weaker sex. If men had to give birth, the human species would go extinct within a single generation.

Despite my discomfort, there’s still much work to be done before school begins. I spent several hours on my computer last weekend reading policies, filling out forms, researching curriculum, and forming lesson plans. And although classes don’t start until next week, the other teachers and I have been busy working in our classrooms, attending meetings, and completing trainings since August 6th.

Hoping that this opportunity could lead to a permanent teaching position within the district, I decided to go ahead and apply to an online master’s degree program that would allow me to earn my elementary education teaching certificate. I should find out soon whether or not I’ve been accepted. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

Life has been a bit of a blur lately. A lot of things seem to be happening all at the same time. Besides getting a new job, applying to grad school, and having surgery, I’m also dealing with my oldest child moving away to college, my daughter starting high school, and my youngest becoming a teenager soon.

Yes, there’s a lot going on right now, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has reached out to offer me words of encouragement and support. The phrase “I believe in you” is one of the most empowering things a person can hear, and I’ve heard it an awful lot over the last few years—and especially these last few weeks. I appreciate all the love you have shown me, and I hope that I will make you proud.