Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I loved everything about school, reading, math, music, friendships, and lunch time socializing. I was fortunate, for the most part, learning came easy for me. And when it wasn’t easy, I had good teachers who helped me. I had many favorite teachers over the years. I admired them and was inspired by their work to go into the teaching profession.
By the time I entered college, many teachers were leaving the profession, some voluntarily, others were being laid off. For those entering the work force there simply were no jobs. My dad strongly encouraged me to get a degree in business. I can still hear his words, “Become an accountant. You’ll always have a job.” So . . . that’s what I did.
I worked in the accounting field for thirteen years. I loved my colleagues, but I never, ever, loved the work. As often as I could, a few hours a month, I would sneak away and volunteer in my children’s classrooms, that was the work I loved, that is where I loved to be. Life was too short to continue doing work I did not enjoy. I went back to school to earn my teaching credential. I LOVED school all over again. With the help of a very understanding boss, I was able to earn my credential, while I worked full-time.
For six fulfilling years I taught 2nd and 3rd grade. During that time I continued my education, earning a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. This year marks my twelfth year as a school administrator. I have so much gratitude associated with this life changing decision. I am grateful for the kiddos, every shape, size, color, personality, and ability level, who teach me something cool or interesting, and even unexpected, every single day. I am grateful for the many wonderful teachers I have worked with in the past, and those I work with today. I can tell you that based on what I witness everyday, the extraordinary work of students and teachers, our world’s future is bright because good things are happening in classrooms. THANK YOU TEACHERS!
I am grateful for the strength and courage I pulled out of a hat. Somehow I believed that I could go back to school and make this significant career change without the support of my husband, and then as a single parent with teenagers to raise. The scariest part was the huge pay cut associated with this change, tough but not impossible.
I remember my dad telling me as a teenager that we girls, his daughters, were lucky to be growing up a time when we could be or do anything we could imagine. We had choices that women before us did not have. That really stuck with me. Funny though, how this same man discouraged me from following my dream. Looking back, I know he was trying to protect me, he wanted to ensure I’d be gainfully employed and able to take care of myself. When I told him about my decision to change careers, he was thrilled for me, and when I became a teacher and then a principal he was so, so proud.
Grateful for the courage to make a change, grateful to work in a profession that I love, and grateful for teachers, including my dad . . . definitely one of my favorite teachers.