Summer 2105 is almost over and teachers and students are getting ready to embark on a brand new school year of learning. As an educator of 24 years, starting my 25th, I have spent all summer reflecting on the past year and thinking about the things that matter to me the most. As a mother of twin identical girls who will be starting their first year of college and wife of 25 years, I have discovered that my passion for teaching has changed in a way that has me asking questions, what will be different this year, can I still make a difference in children's lives, is my passion still there? It is common for most teachers to spend their summers what I call "detoxifying" themselves from the daily routines that teaching brings and the demands of testing, lesson planning, grading, meeting after meeting, deadlines, etc. There are never enough hours in a day to get the work done and most days it comes home with you. So where do you draw the line?
The Things That Matter the Most
I have always been an athlete most of my childhood into my high school and college days. Long distance running has been my main sport with two full marathons under my belt, lots of half marathons and the list goes on. Two summers ago, several of my friends and I were introduced to the "triathlon" sport and I was hooked! I had discovered a new "passion" and one that I knew would be around for a lifetime. So this year I decided to get serious about "triathlon" training and hired a swim coach to help me train for my first "half ironman" in 2016. I had finally found a sport that would change the rest of my life spiritually and emotionally. So why am I writing all this?
I believe God brings people and circumstances into your life when your life begins to unravel uncontrollably. My daughters will be starting their first year in college and I am so excited for them. They have decided to go to a Jr. college in town to take their basic courses and keep their jobs as well. I'm turning the big 50 this year and that has me consumed in all kinds of thoughts. Age has never really bothered me up until now. My parents are getting older and my dad's health can change in an instant. I miss my brother who has served this great country for 16 years and I wish he were here with us.
My swim coach has been a great influence this summer and someone who I admire and respect dearly in the triathlon community. His friendship and family have played a key role in strengthening my spirituality and I have loved spending time with them this summer. My husband continues to travel quite a bit more than usual so its been a busy summer for him. We try to spend as much time together as possible, even if it means sitting on the couch watching British drama tv all night.
My triathlete friends, old and new, continue to inspire me each and every day to never give up and continue pushing through my training. I am convinced that God continues to work in my life as he has allowed me to reflect on what's most important. My time in education is short and he is preparing me for the next chapters in my life. These relationships are what matters to me the most. Teaching will continue to change and so will children. Some teachers will have the same mindset they had when they started teaching and others will go out of their comfort zone and take risks. In the last 5 years, I have already witnessed how much education has changed. I have seen more teacher burn out and lots of frustration with state testing. So what will change for me next year and the years following?
A More Clear Perspective
It is so important to have a clear perspective in this business of educating children. As a veteran teacher who still loves teaching and the joy and happiness it brings, I will no longer bring work home, love those most important to me more, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. I will continue in my training for it brings me strength and peace. The seasons of my life have changed and so must my perspective. My priorities are no longer the same and I must accept that God's plan for me is uncertain but so worth waiting for as it unfolds in his own timing not mine. It is through him that I am able to make a difference in children's lives and my own and hope to inspire other teachers and athletes along the way.