I have to admit that I never wanted to become a teacher. I knew I loved people and teaching people, but I did not see myself as a teacher. Does that seem weird? Of course, I played teacher when I was a child. Mostly I wanted to be the boss, so I was the teacher to all things fluffy in my house. My brother never submitted to my requests to complete leftover worksheets or read books that were way too young for him.
Out of high school I had no clue what to do. I knew I was creative, I had a love for learning, and I wanted to be in a different city then my home town. At 18, I found myself at the doorstep of FIDM in the heart of Los Angeles. I was enrolled in their visual communications program for set design, store displays, and marketing. I loved everything except the two-hour drive each way two days a week. I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted to do when I left FIDM. I gained independence, experienced a lot of culture in LA , and knew how to brush out mannequin wigs like nobody’s business.
From that experience, I took my creative skills to a career in cosmetics. I worked for amazing companies including Bare Escentuals and Sephora. I held positions in training and management and eventually ran my own store. I loved everything but the hours. I was a slave to the business. I was on call 7 days a week, I traveled many days a month and I found little time to be with my family. After 7 years of this I knew something had to give.
I took my love for teaching, training, developing talent and my love for people and went back to school. This came as a surprise to me just as much to my husband. We were three kids deep at the time, I was making a great salary and we had just started to get settled.
I had gone back to my high school a few months prior to this final decision for a gym dedication. The gym was being named after a great teacher, mentor and volleyball coach that was diagnosed cancer. He had a very short time to live and this was the school’s way of paying respect to an amazing man. It was that night that I realized my impact could be so much greater in the lives of children. A month later I was enrolled at Azusa Pacific University for my BA.
Going back to school when I was all grown up, well almost, was life changing. I realized what kind of learner I was and what type of teaching spoke to me. I also remebered how instrumental a few teachers were in my school life. I wanted to be that teacher. My drive for a career working with children was now set on fire.
Completing my BA, then my credential and now my MA is no freaking joke. Lets not forget that I still have an amazing husband and now four kids and I have been working and teaching full-time. It is no secret that we are all trying to survive this part of life. Cereal has been a dinner option more than I care to count.
I felt very discouraged my first year of teaching. I was inspired weekly with great information, research based strategies and a gazillion blog posts about what I needed to do as a teacher. I wanted to be the best at everything and I didn’t want to let anyone down, most importantly my students.
Through all the blogs and websites I found a beautifully written article about first year teachers. It spoke so deeply to my heart and what I stood for as a person and as a teacher. I had taken the long road to becoming a teacher. I had sacrificed many things including precious time with my own children to get to teach the future generations. I realized that no matter what I was doing I couldn’t lose the JOY I had in my heart for taking this leap of faith. I did not want anyone to steal the passion I had for this special calling. I had to find my marigolds as Jennifer Gonzalez stated in her article: Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers
She describes marigolds as a welcome friend to other flowers (teachers). They are the people that will encourage you, love you and empathize with you even on your hardest days teaching. I found my Marigolds and I found them in the places I wasn’t looking. It occurred to me that I am surrounded by a family of marigolds through many people in my life who became teachers, SPED aids, doctors, social workers, and those who just love to support and spend time mentoring our young children to create a brighter future.
All of this to say I am elated that teaching chose me, God knows I didn’t have a clue. I am doing my best to be a marigold in other teacher’s lives and to spread the passion and creativity I have felt for what we all do. My students are not just the fuzzy ones now and I like to think that every day and every year I will become that teacher that made an impact on the lives of others. Maybe when I am gone my name will be on a bench, OK maybe a library bookshelf. I don’t need to be perfect, but I do need to give my all for these precious students.
And friends, if you dipped your toe in education and are not willing to dedicate your soul, sweat and tears into this profession, find your calling in something different. This career is for those who care about every set of eyes that meets theirs once a day or maybe just once a year. The career for the person who receives hugs from a child and gives one back because this may be the only place to find them. This is the job that keeps you up at night creating visual aids for the child who still cannot read simple words. This is the job that you will gladly hand your paycheck over for supplies and decor to make your room feel like a second home to a child who has no home. THIS IS THE ART, THIS IS BEING A TEACHER———-
For all of us crazy enough to take on this role, you are loved. LETS DO THIS!!!!