Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Passion Became My Purpose...Now It's My Profession!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. This school year will mark my 15th year as an educator. My story is not the traditional one.

I didn't get a degree in education from Anderson University, but one in Human Services and Resources. After graduating, I did not find a job in that field, so I went back home to Kingstree. While in Kingstree, my wonderful uncle got me a job with the county. Of course, I knew my destiny was not there. I knew this was not my calling, but I needed a job. My husband, then boyfriend, suggested I apply for a teaching position in Salisbury North Carolina. After submitting an application on line and sending resumes to principals, I got a call! I traveled to Salisbury to interview at Knox Middle for a Home Economics position. The principal at the time was wonderful. After my interview I returned to Kingstree anticipating my first job acceptance. In my heart I knew I already had the position.

I will never forget the day that I got that call. The principal said he wanted to offer me the position and was recommending me for hire. I was so excited, I left work, packed my little car up and headed to Salisbury that same day! By the time I got there, the principal had already contacted my husband to tell him that the board denied his recommendation. My first educational rejection, but definitely not the last.

I fought for a chance to get employed with Rowan Salisbury. I contacted the interim superintendent, but no luck. He said his hands were tied. Refusing to accept defeat, I applied for a position in Charlotte Mecklenburg. Here I was again starting this procedure all over again. After submitting my application and resumes, I waited again.

 A few days passed and I got a call from the principal at Bradley Middle School. I knew this was probably going to end the same way the last one did, but I gave it a shot. Failure was not an option. I went to the interview and he said he needed a sixth math teacher. Math was not my best subject in school, but I knew I could do the job. After the interview, he said he would give me call. My thoughts went immediately to the last time I heard these words.

As I was walking out of his office, I noticed his degrees hanging on the wall. He was a graduate of the Citadel. I told him that my sister graduated from there also. We continued to talk about South Carolina and he said he went to this bar-b-cue restaurant in Pawley's Island that had the best bar-b-cue he's ever had. When he said the name of the restaurant, I immediately starting smiling. I asked him did he want to meet the owner's son. How ironic that my husband was sitting in the car. The restaurant was my husband's father restaurant. After introducing him to my husband, I felt a calming spirit in my heart. I felt good about this interview. Praying that God would order my steps and having faith that he will do what He said, I was at peace.

A few hours later, I got the call from him saying that he recommended me for a lateral entry position as the sixth grade math teacher. This was on a Wednesday or Thursday before school started on that Monday. Although not certified, I knew that God had a plan for me.  It wasn't until that Saturday that I got the call asking me to come to Open House that Sunday. My first teaching position...

I started my first teaching experience with nothing at training, no room decorations, no resources. But the one thing that I had was passion! The passion I had ignited in me a fire for teaching students mathematics. My passion drove my desire to be great.

Since August 27, 2001, I have been driven to motivate and inspire students in education. I always knew I was different than most educators. I wanted to make sure my students were engaged in learning math through creative and innovative lessons and activities.

I love being an educator because it is my purpose. Every step that I took prepared me for this journey in education. God blessed me with a gift to teach. He knew that being are educators, but only a few are purposely designed for this role. During my time in education, I have inspired many students, received my Masters in School Administration, presented workshops, and created educational resources. I don't just teach...I inspire...empower...motivate...educate... I do what I have been called to do!

I experienced my first rejection in July 2001 and have had over twenty more. From being rejected from other teaching positions, assistant principal positions, facilitator positions, and awards. I know my purpose is still inspiring others. I may not be a great fit for other schools or not great enough for awards, but I do know I have been great for about 1,000 students. I know I will face many more rejections, but those who I have inspired will continue to outweigh those rejections.

So don't ever give up. Keep inspiring your students to be great. Let your passion motivate you to be great. This year during Teacher Appreciation week, reflect on why you became an educator. For many of us it is our purpose, our calling. For others it is only a stepping stone for something else. Regardless of the answer, just know God has a plan for us all. You were meant to be in this very moment in your life right now.


Leave a comment below telling me why you became an educator.

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