Becoming the educator I was meant to be

The story is simple.  Teachers changed my life.  

Classes gave lessons. The schools gave community. The expectations gave me new goals.  And the diplomas along the way allowed for new opportunities.  

But the teachers? The teachers offered a day in and day out commitment to making life better, wider, more inclusive, more respectful, more understanding, and more justice-minded than my own ability ever could.  

Teachers were shepherds, politicians, mentors, experts, counselors, advocates, role-models, and story-tellers all wrapped up in one person at the front of the class.  Truth be told, they were often at the side of the class, behind the class, and walking amongst the class as well.  Regardless of where they stood, talked, listened–they dreamed big dreams for all of us.  

So I became one.  

And I loved it.  Every year. Every school.  Every student.  Every possibility. 

Despite my affinity to education, I have exited the classroom teacher role before now. Once I left my dream job to stay with my children.  Once I left the college podium to follow the man who guides and leads our family as he pursued new work in another state. Both exits gave seasons of my life to live and love alongside new people.  First my children, and then more recently, a sector of the writing industry.  Re-entering the classroom in my children’s district in 2014 proved to be a homecoming of sorts.  I once again stood in a place that, in essence, had changed my life. 

Fall 2016 begins a new chapter of the educator I was meant to be.  I step out of lesson plans and grading, ushered there by circumstances that refined and humbled me.  I feel a loss.  I will lose what daily teacher-student interactions and learnings can do and become.  

However, I step into a role that will allow me to advocate for under-served populations, support the Deans, partner with teachers and families, and connect with students as they wrestle with inequity, diversity, aspirations, opportunities, and achievement.  

This is exciting.  My one wild and precious life (Mary Oliver) gets to rise again (Maya Angelou) and be not only a teacher, but an awakener (Robert Frost). 

As an woman, a mother, a minority, an adoptee, a dreamer, a writer, a speaker, and a social justice hopeful, I may now just be becoming the educator I was meant to be.  If I have learned anything over the last few years, that although certain areas of my life feel cemented into a losing streak, being able to call myself an educator fuels me. I will bring goodness to the world the way I can. 

The story is simple. I want to change lives. #EducationMatters

Congratulations on your Graduation!

Many of my former students are graduating these days. And whether you went to college, joined the armed services, went straight to full time work, or took a curvy path too complex to explain, this is for you–

Congratulations on your “graduation” rockstar!

Graduate FROM a chapter, not from life. Remember you have not just arrived. You have been shaped and used for years already!

Graduate FOR life, not for mere accomplishment. You climbed a hill (or three) and your mountain top is beautiful. Keep the big picture of what defines you though, not this, but rather your love and service.

Graduate TO accomplishment, not mediocrity. So many of you have learned things about excellence that took me years longer to learn. You must seek to accomplish what your gifts and skills can bring to the world around you. This is not the time to hide your talents. This is time to move like you own the dance floor.

And wherever life leads you, please remember: For all that you enjoy and for all that you must endure, know I am cheering for youI have never stopped—

Love on!
Serve on!
Rock on!

He goes with you and to Him be the glory and the journey.