Gems and Winners

It would be an absolute travesty to have a blog about my journey from engineering to teaching without dedicating at least one post to the battalion of supportive individuals who march and have marched alongside me.  So much of who, what, and where I am is a product of the love, support, and friendship I have been blessed to receive from the lovely people around me. The good news is that today is Valentine's Day, so let's do this! As a grad student, I have found myself in a cohort of the smartest, most dedicated scholars, professors, and teachers I think I have ever had the honor of working with. They love what they do and they pursue knowledge in their disciplines with focus and commitment.  In the throes of their hectic, academic lives, they always have time for an encouraging word, challenging feedback on work, or a beer. I can't think of a better group of people to grow and learn with.  They keep me sane.

As a teacher, I have been consistently floored by the community that educators seem to form. In my experience, people who teach tend to have the kindest of hearts. They give of their energy, time, and love to serve and support the students in their lives.  Their daily goals include the betterment of others; those others are often kids who have a very real need for friendship or just some extra love. These teachers carry their beautiful calling out in every aspect of their lives. This has been hugely challenging and encouraging to me. The mentoring wisdom and advice I've received from veteran teachers is gold. The amused commiseration and positive feedback I am able to share with fellow new teachers has been a source of joy, laughter, and stamina for me.  I'm humbled by the kinds of people the teachers in my life prove themselves to be.

When I told my friends about my decision that engineering was not the right fit for me and that I was going to leave my well-paying, stable job to go back to school in order to teach high school English, I was greeted with nothing but heartfelt support, hugs, and high fives.  No words of doubt, discouragement, or incredulity even entered the conversation.  My magnificent friends immediately responded with excitement and prayers for success in my new path.  I'll love them forever and will never be able to repay that gift of confidence in an unsure time.

My family is small, but it packs a punch.  One of the many awesome things about my family is that they think I am the best at everything.  To be fair, the feeling is pretty mutual.  What this means for me is that, in every decision, struggle, or success, I have a little group of cheerleaders who are sharing the ride with me and who don't bother to entertain the slightest shadow of a doubt in my ability to succeed and make a difference.

Ultimately, my faith is my core.  Valentine's day is a day about love and I love believing in a God that loves love as much as I do.  I'm thankful for the things I learn about love through my faith and how those things inform and shape my role as an educator.

At the end of the day, I just hope I'm known by the company I keep, because I run with a crowd of gems and winners.