As far back as I can remember I have always had two goals: to be a teacher and to find my happily ever after. If you were to ask my mom about the childhood me, she would probably tell you I believed wholeheartedly in fairy tales, loved to make sure everyone around me was happy, and truly enjoyed playing school. Lucky for me, my own fairy tales are coming true. I met and married my Prince Charming, Joe, several years ago, and we now have a wonderful son, Grayson, who we adore very much. Now through The Epiphany Place, I also get to bring happiness to people around me and play school. I am so fortunate to see my dreams coming true…
Getting to this point definitely had its ups and downs, however. After teaching in the public school system for 9 years, I felt stifled. I was bursting with creative energy that I couldn’t use, and I saw children aching for something more in school that I wasn’t able to provide. I stayed for another year to try to make it work, but it ended up being the most difficult year of my professional life. This caused me to go inward and decide what it was I REALLY wanted to do with my life.
Throughout this reflection time, I also had an infant at home who was so full of joy… I wanted to feel that joy, too, so I could be the best mom I could be. So I started delving into these “new” ideas about how to become the best version of yourself. I had to have read at least 20 books on the subject. Martha Beck, Laura Berman Fortgang, Mike Dooley, and Deepak Chopra are among the many authors in which I immersed myself. I kept thinking to myself, “Why isn’t anyone teaching these ideas to children? Why do adults get the benefit of the self help movement, while there is no one really putting this advice in a format that would work for students?” It got me thinking… So I decided to go back to school to get my gifted certification thinking that their mindset was to teach to the individual child, and their research was very much lined up with what I was reading on my own. I felt there was more of a chance I could inspire in the gifted classroom because there was less test stress. Learning through this program was such a great experience! I discovered amazing information about how the brain learns and how important creativity and critical thinking are to our human potential. Then I saw a HUGE discord between that research and what was actually happening in the public schools. I had to get out.
So I took a permanent leave of absence and tried to go down several different paths. I always had in the back of my mind that I would like to start my own business, but I didn’t think I was ready. And as I was trying all of these other paths that I thought were more realistic, doors were closing everywhere. So I thought to myself, “maybe now IS the time,” and sure enough, doors began opening at lightening speed. I knew this was the right path.
Now, as I look to the future, I know I am not finished dreaming. I have a passion inside of me to not only help individual students, parents, and teachers, but to positively impact the education system as a whole. So even though it is a lofty goal, right now it is what makes my heart sing. I am really just at the beginning of my fairy tale, and I can’t WAIT to see what joy still lies ahead.
There were no students in the chairs and no chalkboard in the room. The teacher couldn’t have been more than nine years old but she was teaching to her imaginary students like an accredited college professor. I remember those days and how dedicated I was to being that teacher. Then around thirteen years old I babysat my three younger cousins and declared to myself that children were just too difficult. I would not be a teacher.
Fast forward to my adulthood. There was a marriage and three children. Yes, I said children. They were mine this time. In getting to know them and all their friends I decided to re-think my original dream. I realized that children possess a light that shines around them. I wanted to be in that light.
Now my goal was to get my teaching degree before my oldest child got her degree. It took twenty-five years, in between raising children and moving a thousand miles across the country, but I did it. While working on that degree I got a job as an instructional assistant at my daughter’s school. What better way to familiarize myself with the intricacies of the teaching profession, I thought. I watched those teachers every day and said to myself, “I can do that!”
Finally the day came for me to have my own class. The chairs were not empty this time and there were chalkboards in the classroom. My first days flew by. About the end of my first month I was exhausted and I realized that good teachers make teaching look easy. Great teachers make it look easy and wonderful. The teachers I first watched were both of these. It has since become my realization that most people view teachers with the eyes of their own childhood or in my case just outside looking in. I was seeing the end result, a product of time and dedication in putting those lessons together. I saw presentations that were so perfected they were like well-choreographed dance routines. They flowed with definite rhythm.
Now I am at the other end of the spectrum having retired from the general classroom after 25 years experience and acquiring advanced degrees. I bring with me an understanding of the method of teaching and how the love of teaching can help produce wonders in a child’s learning. I’m so happy that the light still shines! (especially for my three grandchildren)
Sharon has recently started her own tutoring company! Visit her here www.tutoringplus.net