Monday, January 28

This one's for the teachers . . .

From what I can tell, people go into the teaching profession for a myriad of reasons.

Me?  I became a teacher because I love teenagers, and because I knew - without a shadow of a doubt - I had the capability to impact my kids for the better.

About two weeks ago I was told, "You might have been able to influence [your students] in the moment, but you probably didn't have an impact that would last through the years." *This is a paraphrase, but essentially what this person was telling me.

This person didn't mean to offend or upset me, but wow.  How ignorant.

Fast forward to today.  Today, through the magic of Skype, I entered a high school classroom to hear a student read her letter to me, thanking me for the impact I had on her while she was in my class.  The current teacher had students write letters to people who had influenced them for the better, and this student chose me.

When she was in my class, D. was a freshman.  She was full of spunk, smarts, and attitude to boot.  She was part of a crew of girls who all aspired to be cholas.  They had no clue they'd met the HCIC.  Needless to say, it was challenging to have them all in the same class.  There was a lot of "tough love" shown on my part, but I knew that she was better than the choices she was making.

In her letter today, D. explained that it was during a parent-teacher conference that my words really struck and caused her to start changing her path.  I had no idea that I had impacted her in this way.  Now, three years later, she's sharing that there's no other teacher she'd rather write about.  Wow.  I was in tears.  Now, because she listened - because she made a choice for the better - she is well on her way to making her family proud of the young woman she's becoming.  Very few students thank their teachers, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a powerful relationship there and no matter how hard it is with certain kids, it's worth it.

Both of my parents were teachers.  To this day,  their former students still seek them out to thank them for all that they did.  Not all kids recognize when they're being loved, but they remember it.

If you're a teacher, it matters.  It doesn't matter if others don't get it.

In closing, some classic Taylor Mali. {A little "French" at the end, so you're warned.}

Friday, January 18

Never meant to fit in

So I've never been one of the cool kids.  I've never seemed to fit in completely anywhere I go.  At times, it made me sad.  Other times, I was more than fine with it.  Sometimes it's the way I dress.  Sometimes it's the way I talk.  Music preferences.  Opinions.  Etc.

I think I'm coming into a renewed season of being unapologetically me.  You see, where I live, I'm surrounded by people who like to fit in.  Maybe you live in a similar place.  Maybe you're blessed to live somewhere where people are encouraged to be themselves - to be individuals.  In Savannah, I felt the freedom to be me.  I currently live in northeast Georgia, just outside of Atlanta.  There's a whole lot of "keeping up with the Joneses" and such going on up here.  I'm not a fan.  I've offically decided to stop feeling like I need to be part of this group.  For the record, I'm not really thinking of specific people - it's more of a mentality, if you will.

I think we all struggle not to compare ourselves to people around us.  It's so easy to look at someone else and assume her life is so much better - so much easier, less complicated, less dramatic, more blessed - than mine.  What a lie.

I think I got caught up in this "adult" idea that my life is supposed to look a certain way by now.  I should have 2.5 kids.  Own a house.  No debt.  Solid savings in place.  Be well travelled.  Be crazy successful. At something.  Anything.

Yeah.  Ok.

Those things would be nice, but who along the way told me my life was less if I didn't have these things by now?  And in all sincerity - kudos to anyone who's already gotten there or is closer than I am.  Truly.  I just find it tiring to feel - what is it? - less of an adult?  not as accomplished?

God didn't make me to fit in.  And I've never liked being told what to do.  How did you learn to ride a bike?  My dad tried to teach me.  I think I was around 8 or 9.  The lesson lasted about five minutes.  I decided I didn't like the way he was teaching me, so I told him to go home.  I would figure it out by myself.  And I did.  

Today, I'm rejecting the lies.  Ha.  As many of the kids I still fiercely love would say, "I'ma do me."  God has more than equipped me for the calling he has on my life.  I don't need to worry about what other people think I need or what they think I should be doing.

I know this isn't my typical style of entry on this blog, but I wanted to share.  Don't get me wrong - the lighter things I tend to post are most definitely me being me - I love to stop and smell the roses.  I just figured someone might read this and think, "Yes!  Me, too!"

Thanks for reading :)