She Started It

I am a school teacher. While growing up, and attending college, I never imagined that I would be a teacher. Never-ever.

I remember about 20 years ago I was in-between jobs after unintentionally finishing my second career. I spent a few months helping my then horse trainer, Tina, with beginning riding lessons for children. She asked me if I wanted to do it, and I was excited to take the opportunity. Nothing at all advanced, just the basics of horse care, riding prep, and easy going hand-led riding. For me it was very enjoyable and satisfying. One day Tina made this declarative statement, “You should be a teacher!” What? The furthest thing from my mind was now being suggested to me by someone I was simply helping. I didn’t know what to make of it. While working for Tina, my intention was never to look for a new career suggestion or opportunity. I had just ‘ended’ my second career working in software development however I didn’t yet realize it.

Like many things in my life, I am often swayed in a direction by mere suggestion. Not that I am easily persuaded, I am not, but because I am a thinker. I think a lot…about everything. Yes, I will sometimes catch myself overthinking simple decisions in my life. You should be a teacher. I thought about this one, a lot.

At the ‘end’ of my software development career I started thinking about the meaning of my life’s journey. What was I doing, and why was I doing it? Ok, so I helped some company refine their product so that it can be sold to another company as a ‘Solution’. Talk about vague description. Solve what, and with what? The credited term Solution was supposed to prompt questions form potential customers. After-all the word itself was so ambiguous for use with engineering software, that a sales guy or gal (they were young) could respond to a prospect with an equally ambiguous answer. Sell, SEll, SELl, SELL! All that really mattered was to help increase our stock price so that the company would make more money, and everyone within the company can ‘make’ more money as a result.

Thank about it, would you pay $36,000.00 for one seat of software? Neither would I. But many companies DID! That was the crazy thing about it. We were the only game in town, until we weren’t and our stock began to fall, and fall, and fall.

This was a HUGE eye opener for me as I was witness to just how much ‘the dollar’ meant to so many people. These people were self-serving. Everything they did was essentially for themselves. The worst part…I was one of them.

Maturity then led me to think ‘What am I doing for the greater good?’ Helping to raise stock prices for a company in which I was employed did nothing for who I was. Tina’s suggestion came at the perfect time in my life. I decided to go back to school so that I could become a teacher and provide a service that would help others.

Fortunately Irene supported me, my desire, and my decision to seek a new career. So I went back to school to obtain a teaching credential. This was no easy feat, as nothing truly rewarding in life should ever be easy. Before entering the credential program, I was required to take two years of prerequisite courses. My Bachelor of Science, Industrial Design degree from Art Center College of Design helped me very little with usable transferrable credits towards my newly pursued interest to become an elementary school teacher. That was ok with me, I wanted to make a difference.

Four years later, I graduated with my teaching credential. I was now a teacher, albeit one who needed to get a job, and I was excited to go out into the world and help others. Already in my new career, someone once said to me “Why would you want to become a teacher?, you won’t make any money?” My response, “For me, it’s no longer about the dollar.” For me, it was a wonderful liberating statement to declare!

I know that I have a lot to offer, and I want to give something to others. I want to do something big, I want to make a difference in the lives of others.

Currently in my sixteenth year of teaching, it seems to me that I never want to retire. I know however that the day will come. Having touched the lives of hundreds of children, my desire is to touch the lives of hundreds more.

I remember when Tina made this declarative statement, “You should be a teacher!” What? The furthest thing from my mind at the time, is now considered my most fulfilling and most satisfying career. She started it.