Today I am getting together with Walt Disney’s Studios and sharing a personal story of how I overcame an obstacle in my life. I am the youngest of five kids. I have a sister who is sixteen years older than me and our three brothers are in between. When I was four I became an aunt for the first time…and quickly more nieces and nephews followed. When those nieces and nephews came for a visit, I was the entertainment committee thanks to the school room my mom provided for us to play in. My mom was a garage saler and a thrifter just like I am. She bought school desks, black boards and supplies so that my nieces, nephews, and I could all play…and play we did. Just to show you all the great goodies my mom provided for us in our school room, here’s a picture of me with my copy of the Declaration of Independence that my mom purchased for it.
We didn’t just play school. I really taught them and I loved it. My mom always said I was a natural born teacher. When my senior year of high school rolled around, no one in my family really asked what I was going to do. They all knew I would go to college and become a teacher. At the time back in 1984, no one in my family had been to college and all were cheering me to be the first in the family to graduate from college. Before long I was at Mankato State University in Minnesota pursuing that teaching degree. At the time, I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Things were going well. I was taking as many classes as possible working my way through college when I went home with my roommate and met a guy. That guy and I started dating and ten months later I got a positive pregnancy test. Yes. I was pregnant. I told the guy… I told my mom and packed my bags. That dream that my family had for me to become a teacher was over. I lost my chance to be a teacher. I was marrying the guy and my life was going a different direction. My family was supportive. The guy was supportive. I was somewhat depressed. At that time, there weren’t on-line classes. We were far enough away that there was no way to commute to college. The teaching dream was dead and honestly, I was a little sad. People weren’t kind. People in the small town talked and people would stop talking when I walked into the room. I was “that” girl….the pregnant one. I got married and we moved to my husband’s community. I started working at the local school as a teacher’s assistant. I loved it. We had our first baby, Kelli, and our next, Kayla, a year later. At that point there was no use to work so we had another baby, Buck. Three kids in three years. My husband and I moved and I was isolated, just me and kids while Hubby worked long hours. That’s when I first realized that maybe…just maybe…my dream wasn’t really over. I had my own little classroom of my own kids and I was the parent/teacher. We moved again and again adding two more kids, Karl and Kalissa, to the mix. At different times I investigated going back to college but still it wasn’t feasible. I did odd jobs which allowed me stay home with the kids…but the love of teaching didn’t wane. I taught story hour…I taught Sunday School. The teacher was still in me. When our youngest went to kindergarten, I started providing in-home childcare. I loved it. I had my own little group of kids to teach. While doing that I went to community college and got my Early Childhood Education degree…it wasn’t the four year degree I wanted…but it was still a step towards teaching. That was 8 years ago. I no longer do childcare. Now I teach in other ways. I teach continuing education classes for child care providers in NE Iowa and Southern Minnesota and I am the owner and operator of the website Making Learning Fun. The site is filled with FREE early learning ideas so that teachers, childcare providers, librarians or anyone else who loves children can come and download learning ideas for kids for free. I don’t have day to day interaction with kids but every day throughout the globe, people are using ideas from my website to help children. I just love knowing that I am a part of that. Via my work on my website a part of me goes into the classroom. I feel so honored. I am a teacher. It may not be in the traditional way but teaching is what I do. I teach via my website. I even teach via my blog by providing tutorials and patterns for all of you. God created me to teach…and He helped me find ways to do it without the four year degree I thought I needed to be a teacher. I am so blessed. I can stay at home and work…I don’t need good clothes and I don’t have to commute. I can run outside and help that guy that I am still married to when he needs help farming. I can be there when my kids need me….I am so glad that I learned that there truly is more than one way to be a teacher. I recently got a chance to sit down with a few of my kiddos and watch Monster’s University
. We loved it.
Isn’t it funny how no matter how old a person grows, Disney can still make them laugh? As the kids watched the show, I couldn’t help but wonder what life has in store for them. Will life trip them up with an unplanned pregnancy? Will things not go as they dream? I am so glad that they got a chance to see that even though there are forks in the road it doesn’t mean we lose our way. Seeing that framed copy of the Declaration of Independence that my mom bought for our old school room always makes me smile…I can’t help but think of the words, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Teaching is part of my happiness…and I am going to pursue it no matter what. Like my mom always said..I am a born teacher. So would you like a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card and a Monsters University Blu-ray Combo Pack? Just leave a comment here telling how you believed in yourself and you followed your dream.
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