When you think back to one year ago, what do you think of? One might think of relationships that were gained, or maybe lost. Another might think of a career change, maybe by choice or maybe it was unavoidable. What about moving? As we all know how the college life works, one might have moved into a new place and is now having to find another place to convert to. How was your attitude towards all of these changes? Changes are bound to happen — they are inescapable. Some changes are exciting and exhilarating while others, well, are merely troublesome.
This year was a year with one of the most changes within my life, and one that gave me one of the biggest adventures that I have come to encounter. As I endured the M.A. T. program at the University of Arkansas, I learned that this was not always my dream. Maybe I played “teacher” as a little girl, yes, but to work endlessly on lesson plans that are molded around students and research past experts who have intervened with certain aspects of literacy within a classroom setting and saw the results and reported them in a 180 page research paper? No. Certainly not always my ‘dream’. As an undergraduate student, I participated in classes that were encompassed around lesson designing and creative ways to implement ideas within my imaginary classroom. As a graduate student, however, I researched and created and designed and implemented and saw a first-hand experience of how a classroom setting works.
As I worked endlessly throughout my internship, my Action Research, my Curriculum Unit, and much more this past year, I came to a quick realization that this was not always my dream. I saw kiddos in a classroom setting who needed their teacher, who needed the school staff, and who needed that positive classroom community to help mold them. I saw mentor teachers who planned each day accordingly, and then trusted me to help plan their days alongside them. I never had time to write or work on this blog on my own, as I always had in the past. I gave my whole time, energy, and heart into this internship . . . because it needed me just as much as I needed it. I woke up at 6 a.m. each day to attend school, teach lessons, implement action research within the classroom, take on each school-related responsibility that was expected of me, still attend classes at the University, and then reflect on each and every day as soon as I hit my couch at home. I worked until bedtime, went to sleep, woke back up, and did it all over again. Maybe this has happened to you before — you had a ‘dream’ in your mind and then once you get in the midst of it, you realize maybe this wasn’t the vision that you had in mind after all. Maybe it was much, much more difficult than you had imagined, and maybe you just wanted to rethink things at that time.
What you don’t realize, however, is that once all of it is over and the accomplishments set in, you realize that your heart still belongs in the place that you were not expecting. You still think of those kids in your classes in which you were placed in, and you think back to what small difference you might have made in their lives. You think back to you when you were in elementary school, and how well your elementary teachers worked endlessly to help shape and mold you into who you are today. My teachers helped to mold me to get a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, in which I will work to help shape other lives to hopefully one day do the same. You see, you might find yourself in the midst of your life one day and think Just how did I end up here? What you need to realize is that the path or journey that you took to get to that spot does matter. However, how you allow that particular challenge to change your life matters more. How your attitude towards that challenge in your life matters, too.
No, going about this year did not seem like my ‘dream’ life that I had envisioned in the midst of it. Once it is all said and done, however, I find myself seeking career opportunities in which I am able to do this for the rest of my life. Because this year shaped me. This year molded me. These kiddos need people to help shape and mold their own lives, too. Attitude determines direction, and you never know where that direction might lead you. Stay strong through the depths of obstacles in which you encounter and enjoy the ride that this life will lead you through.
My desire for you today is that you realize that envisioned dreams might have a push and pull factor, but eventually they will lead you to where you are meant to be. Here’s to you, and maybe your teetered dream, and to you believing that your journey will lead you to where you were meant to be.