Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lean Into It

On the very last day of my very first year of teaching, my principal shared some great advice.  He said, “Lean into it.”  Such a simple statement, yet so full of wealth.  Lean into it – Feel every emotion, whether it be positive or negative.  Be vulnerable.  Experience joy.  Let it all happen.  Be there.  Experience all you can without worries about the outcome.  Feel alive.  Live. 
I’m not sure if that’s exactly what he meant by that statement, but that’s how I interpreted it.  During my first year, I experienced the bitterness of defeat, breathed in the luminous rays of hope, and tasted the sweetness of victory.  I leaned into it.
Even though my last day of school was almost a full 2 weeks ago, I haven’t really taken the time to truly reflect on my year.  As I was lying in bed, 11:58pm, restless and wide awake – it hit me.  What an extreme year this has been!  Extremely tough, but an extreme blessing! 
So many twists and turns, ups and downs, and unexpected changes – this year has been action-packed to say the least!  Such an incredible journey – a complete emotional roller coaster… but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!  Teaching is my true passion.  I’ve found my home away from home!
I endured hardships and kept on pushing through… I survived.  Not only did I survive, I thrived.  I had the opportunity to teach 84 amazing children who came to my classroom with many different backgrounds and learning experiences.  It was a challenge, but the benefit was far greater.  Each one of these 84 children brought joy to my classroom… and to me.  No matter what their circumstances, they always came in excited and ready to learn.  They have shown me the importance of having a positive attitude, putting forth 100% effort, and believing in yourself.  These have always been my core beliefs, but my students have shown me the true beauty and power they hold.   I am forever grateful for this experience. 
This upcoming school year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach 4th grade at the same school.  Having my own classroom has been a dream of mine and I feel so fortunate that it is finally coming true.  I don’t know what will come of this next year, but I do know that there will be many challenges, unexpected surprises, and moments of sheer joy that come with this dream.  My plan – experience it all!  Laugh.  Cry.  Learn.  Grow.  I will lean into it with all of my might!