How did my dream of being an educator begin? And how did I go from being a teacher to providing professional development to teachers and being a motivational speaker?
I get asked these questions a lot, but to answer that question, I have to back the story up and tell you my journey to becoming a teacher.
Gosh, how I loved being a teacher. I had worked hard to become a teacher.
After one year of college, I quit because of my panic disorder, which was still undiagnosed. I was a nervous wreck being away from home and although I yearned for my college degree, getting through each day was such a struggle.
So I quit, moved back home, and began working as a secretary at the child support office.
After a couple of years, I knew I needed to go back to college, but I was still suffering from panic, and now I had to maintain a full-time job because I was also married and managing a home.
But I pushed myself and decided to force myself to return to college. I re-enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Southern Indiana to get my degree, but I lived 90 minutes away in Tell City.
Because I still needed to earn a steady paycheck, I was lucky enough to have a boss who let me begin my workday at 4:30 am and work through my lunch so that I could leave work at 11:30 am and be at USI to start my classes by 1:00 pm.
He supported my decision to get my college degree, but also understood I still needed a steady paycheck; for this, I am forever thankful.
I would be at the campus on those evenings until my last class finished, which was around 11:00 pm, and then I would make the drive back home, which was 90 minutes. And be up and ready for work the next day by 4:30 am!
I did this for three years on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and that's how I got my degree.
And once I had my own classroom, I felt so happy.
I loved being on a journey with kids. I had 180 days a year to teach, influence, and try to impact them in a positive way.
Sometimes I succeeded, and other times, I'm sure I failed...because teaching is hard, and I had so much to learn. But, I always felt like the students taught me as much as I taught them.
I felt so honored to get to be with them and to be a teacher!
I remember standing in the hallway each morning, greeting each one as they entered the door. I was getting hugs, high-fives, and smiles.
I thought, "This is what I am called to do." It was such an honor to teach, and I'm so grateful for this experience.
It's so easy to focus on how much we have left to do, what we still aren't doing well enough, or the areas we feel like we are still failing.
I want you to think about something hard you've had to overcome to get to where you are today. Truly spend some time acknowledging what you did to get to where you are. And send that person (YOU!) some love and admiration for all you've fought for in your life.
It's time to start acknowledging your self-worth and really knowing you are worthy of loving yourself.
If you are an admin who is looking to improve school culture, The Happy Academy is now open for another week for enrollment!
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