Wife. Mother. Sister. Teacher. Coach. Student. Friend. I wear many different hats. Each one of these awesome roles fuel me each day. They make me work to be the best me that I possibly can. They keep me up at night and wake me up early each morning, often before my alarm sounds, eager to start a new day. Amazingly, the characteristics of most of them overlap daily. As a wife and mother, I have learned patience, how to have empathy, how to listen, how to build meaningful relationships with others. These skills have helped me in every single area of my life. As a classroom teacher and campus coach, it is much easier to build relationships with others once they know you genuinely care for them as humans first. Students from kindergarten through adulthood have given me ample opportunity to fine tune the skills listed above, working together in classrooms and professional learning sessions over the past fourteen years.
As I type this reflection from another one of my oldest son's weekend tournaments, I am thinking about how fortunate I am to help others daily. I am fortunate to partner with others to assist them each day in being their best. I partner with students to show them how much they mean to their community, how important their voices are, and the importance of their education. I partner with teachers to help them be their best and bring their best to students daily. I partner with administration to ensure district and campus vision statements are realized in classrooms. Lastly, but most importantly, I partner with my husband on a daily basis to help shape and develop three little humans, Paul (12), Kaden (5), and Kaleigh (5). This, by far, is the role I most enjoy.
Growing up, I can remember my parents always being there for me. Without a doubt, they loved me, protected me, and provided the best for me and my siblings. As an adult, they are still there for me. When I have good news, a bad day, or simply need advice, they are always a phone call away, and I consider them two of my closest friends. Both of my parents are first generation college students turned professionals who instilled a strong work ethic into all three of their children. My mother has a career in finance, and my father is an educator. This should explain why my undergraduate degree is in finance, and I have been a teacher for 14 years. Everything that I am can be traced back to them. I owe them much more than I can ever repay them. However, as much as I know I have always been loved and cared for by them, I cannot remember a single classroom party, field trip, or school event during the day where my parents were there. Yes, they always sent money, treats, dressed me for various campus occasions, and spent countless hours helping me memorize and rehearse for many different things, but I cannot remember having their presence at these events. I wanted them there. I wanted them to experience my school day and school events with me and my peers. Those moments are so important to kids. They were important to me.
Friday, I took a few hours off from everything else in life to simply be mom. I am fortunate enough to work for an amazing school district and an amazing principal who value families. My campus took a field trip Friday to Six Flags, and I was not going to miss that. However, my youngest two also took a field trip to the zoo. Somehow, the stars aligned, and I was able to make both events. Most importantly, Kaden & Kaleigh wanted me there, and in the hustle and bustle of the school year, I realized I had not attended one single outing with them this school year.
Upon arrival at the zoo, Kaden & Kaleigh lit up when they saw me at the gate. As soon as they entered the zoo, their teacher, Mrs. Coleman, reviewed her expectations for the day and quickly assigned each student a buddy to hold hands with as they walked around learning about the animals. Although each one of my kids had their own buddy, every now and then, they would ease up to me, grab my hand, and make their pair a trio. At one point, both of them were on either side of me, and we were a huge group of five. They needed me there, and to be honest, I needed to be there for them. I needed to be there. I was unable to stay the entire day, but the few hours I was able to spend with them meant far more to me than it did to them. Just as much as they need me, I need them. I'm thankful for the time we were able to spend together.
I am a teacher. My husband and children realize that teaching is more than simply a job for me. It is my calling. It is why I was created. It is why I exist. For the past few years, I have served as a teacher leader for my campus, but my true heart is for teaching and learning. I want to help people be their best in order for students to succeed. As an educator, there are many times when I've had to make choices. There are many times when I have had to choose my calling, my passion, and my job over fieldtrips or classroom events. This does not negate the fact that my favorite role is that of mother to the most perfect three little people on Earth. When the three of them look back over life and reflect on their childhood memories, I pray they know how important they are to me. I pray they find my work, my calling, my passion honorable and an extension of who I am. I pray they know exactly how much they mean to me. Being there for them is my greatest joy.