Someone asked me the other day how long I had been teaching, and when it dawned on me that I was beginning my fifth year in the classroom, time seemed to stand still (think of a slow motion video of your life from the past few years flashing in front of you). Many of my mentors have been teaching for numerous years and have experience far surpassing my own. I am thankful to have all of these wonderful people in my life. Two weeks ago, I moved from Gruver to Denison, TX where I will be teaching Spanish and Coaching basketball and softball. When deciding where to move and continue my career, one of the most important pieces of my ideal environment were the people I would be surrounded by. I had a chance to move to a different school, as a head softball coach, where the team had been to the state tournament the past few years and will probably continue to do so for the next bit. However, in Denison, I have people. People who I love and know love me. People I am loyal to and are loyal to me. And to me, being happy is being around these kinds of people.
When I graduated from St. Edward's University, with my degree in English Literature, I was not sure how I would be able to use my education--mainly because there are many evil articles filling the internet such as "What to do with an English degree". Though these articles are meant to be helpful, often times I think they are misguiding. I am a firm believer that with an English degree, you can get hired to do what you want to do. When I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with my Masters of Science in Education, I had no idea how I would use the degree to continue my career (I still don't--clue me in if you have any ideas). Though both experiences were different, there was one constant throughout all five years--the people surrounding me and supporting me throughout my education. If you don't already know, my parents are hands down the smartest, most selfless, most loving, and undoubtedly coolest people I know. My best friends are wonderful--whether they are near or far. All of the professors that I had in the English Literature department deserve a raise because they continue to teach me even though I no longer sit at a desk while they teach from the podium. And last but not least, my brother, who let me live with him and managed to deal with my all-day Sunday homework studies while I was working on my masters.
The other constant support that I have received since I was sixteen is from my late dog Reggie who passed away in June. Though many of you may not understand the value of companionship with a dog, Reggie was with me through many bumps and joyous moments and was the only one who greeted me everyday after school with a twist of his body bucking up and down like a bull because he was so happy to see me. I have adopted my parents' dog Raider who is now with me in Denison. He's not Reggie and hasn't been my boy for almost ten years but he's a great companion as well and gets riled up in excitement when I get home everyday.
The last time I wrote a post, I was fixing to be entering the world of Special Education. I wasn't worried really--I just had no idea what to expect. Teaching English is still my forte and I imagine I will love teaching Spanish as well. But at this point, I have decided that my true gift is not what I teach, my gift lies in how I teach. I am a relationship builder and have a love for teaching kids that is, at this time, unexplainable. Someone who I respect once told me that my greatest strength was being able to pull the good out of kids that no one else could even see. I know I am only able to do this because so many other teachers have done this for me.
I moved into a rent house in Denison that some would call luxury and others would call a dump. For me, my little house is perfect. Living abroad and living in Willacy County taught me that I don't need much to be happy. I have a roof over my head, cool air, a bed, and couches that are comfy. To me, living in Gruver was luxury. Here I have a fridge that is regular size and makes ice--in the first house I lived in, I had a mini fridge and no freezer. I have my very own washer and dryer! After going to the laundromat for two years and washing my laundry at my aunt's house during college (Wid you're the best), I know the value of being able to do laundry at home--let me tell you, it's a blessing. I have wifi--which I did not have in the Valley and I also have more than five gallons of hot water. My house is just right for me--it has everything that I need and I couldn't be more thankful to have found such a great place so quickly (I also have a stove where all of the burners work). Many students that I have taught and will teach do not have these things in their houses--the harsh reality is that some are even homeless.
Every person that I have met (seriously) in Denison has welcomed me and has told me how glad they are that I am here. The people are genuine and the Yellow Jacket family is real. Though I know few of my colleagues intimately, they are all in the arena with me--I can tell.
Speaking of the arena, this became my mantra last year and has stayed my life mantra since--I also think this is a good place to end...for now.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt
― Brené Brown,
"...if you're not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." What a great way of telling the haters to shut their mouths.