Years ago, when I was a young girl in first and second grade, inquiring minds asked me what I dreamed to be when I grew up? Always, my answer was a teacher, an elementary teacher. Yes, I thought about having a second or even third job along with teaching - like being an astronaut, coach, and bus driver as I taught. Crazy isn't it? But I knew, with no doubt in my mind, that I wanted to be a teacher. Scratch that. I knew that I WAS going to be a teacher when I grew up.
As many young children that dream of being a school teacher, I taught my stuffed animals, baby dolls, friends, and even brother in my make-shift classroom. Worksheets, workbooks, reading books were passed out daily. I graded papers, scolded children, led reading instruction, had students or myself take names on the chalkboard, etc. I KNEW what my passion was and was determined to make my dream a reality.
Years passed by and my passion for teaching grew stronger and stronger. The more experience I gained from helping in children's church, babysitting and child care classes in high school, the more convinced I was that teaching was my purpose in life. I had everything figured out. My life was going to be grand! (Minus the high income of coarse.)
My college years were no different. I absolutely LOVED teaching at the local daycare when I was not in class. My favorite classes, hands down, were my practicum classes. Being in front of a classroom felt amazing. My life of purpose and helping others had been found. God led me to teaching, I was following the path he laid before me, and life was great!
In the fall of 2000, my dream was achieved! My career as an elementary teacher was beginning! I was going to make a difference in the lives of children and our community. I had a calling and I was going to give my absolute best to be the best possible teacher I could be. When inquiring minds asked what I did for a living, I proudly responded that I was a teacher and I absolutely loved it and my students. I was proud of my accomplishments as well as my students. My students truly became a part of my extended family.
Looking back on the past 15 years I've given my heart to teaching. Countless hours, priceless memories, wonderful connections, exciting experiences, and unforgettable teaching moments flood my memory. I know that I'm not perfect, God knows there are many lessons learned, I only pray that I have made an impact and difference in the lives of at least some of my students! They definitely made a difference in mine.
Today, Fall 2015, I have begun to close a part of that chapter of my life. My daughters and I went to "MY" classroom this morning to remove my personal items and materials. For the first time in my entire life, I am having to face the world of uncertainty? Yes, I am still employed with the school system while on medical leave, but I no longer have my position I loved so much. I know that when I'm better, I will have a position in the school system, but returning to my current school is not for certain. I can't honestly say which school I will be assigned to or what grade I will be responsible for. Just that I have a position being saved for me in our school district. Uncertainty, an awful feeling of uncertainty. My words can not describe this feeling accurately. I am hoping that one day, a sequel to my first 15 years in the classroom will be written. Until then.........................
So what do I say now to inquiring minds? How do I answer what I am now? Just saying that I am a teacher on medical leave doesn't answer the question does it? I don't have a title anymore. I'm just here.
But then again, through my health journey, God has blessed me with some outstanding friends online. These friends have helped me through some extremely difficult days. When I start to feel like giving up, or hopeless, they always jump right in to motivate and bring me up emotionally. I am so very blessed to be connected with them, as they know and understand my battle with Gastroparesis better than anyone else I know, as they are living with it as well. These new friends are great encouragers and the strongest, bravest, kindest people I've ever known. If it weren't for God, my family, and my friends met through Gastroparesis, I honestly don't know where I would be today.
So the question is.... Who am I today?
I am a teacher!
I am a teacher on medical leave waiting until my body heals and God sends me back to the classroom.
I am a teacher, educating others about Gastroparesis and Feeding Tubes, not only to help those diagnosed, but also to help spread public awareness in an effort to increase understanding, funding, research, and hopefully better treatment options or, better yet, a cure.
I am a mother to 3 wonderful children, the most amazing blessings in my life.
I am ME!