Moving right along

I love this reminder.

So many things in my life have occurred that show me that everything happens for a reason. While I might not understand why something's happening in the moment, I know that I can trust that it's a movement to someplace new. 

I am loving where I'm at! While God closed the door (slammed?) on teaching, He opened another one in a place where I am so happy. I would never have thought I'd be entering back into the business world again, but I am honestly loving it.

**Yes, I'm giving up summer travel and time with T. 

However, we've also traveled so. much. in the past three summers, and we're pretty happy with where we've been. 

*Disneyland (twice)
*New York
*Mexico (twice)
*Disneyworld (twice)
*Costa Rica
*Numerous Oregon staycations

We're also feeling like absence will make the heart grow fonder with each other. :) Two spirited people together 24/7 the last three summers has made for some interesting conversations! We're just going to be more intentional about the types of vacations that we plan and where we decide to go.


With life changes that occur, I walk in these truths: 

1. God loves me
2. Whatever is good, is of God
3. God promises to work all things in my life out for good, according to his purpose
4. God's plan is not to harm me, but to give me a purpose and a hope
5. God loves us enough to send His son for me. 


Blessings of teaching

I have had an amazing three years in education. Aside from budgets and politics, I got a lot of joy out of being a teacher and spending time with the fabulous people that I worked with-- it truly was a privilege. While that chapter is coming to a close, I really don't see the last three years as a loss or a waste of my time. I wanted to write down a few blessings that I was able to experience through being a teacher, and some of the ways in which I have grown as a person. There are so many people that I am thankful for, and am appreciative of, who have taken me under their wings to mentor me and guide me through my experience as an educator.


Through teaching I...

Met my husband. 

While T. Love is an awesome guy and I knew him before we officially started spending time together, the sole purpose we even went out to breakfast that day in late December was because I was beginning my full-time student teaching placement, and I needed guidance from a fellow middle school teacher. We didn't really have anything in common (that we knew of at that point) besides teaching, so education was the common ground that brought us together. If I hadn't become a teacher, Timothy and I probably wouldn't be together right now. 


Through teaching I...

Was mentored by excellent, seasoned educators.

Cindy and Marika, my mentor teachers in my student teaching placement, taught me so many things about classroom management, about assessment, about lesson design, about navigating difficult situations, about patience, and even about different ways to have fun in the classroom. I was blessed to be able to teach on a team with Cindy after my student teaching was over for a year, and was able to stay close with Marika after my time at Hopkins was over. I owe so much of my educational practice to them, and appreciate them for giving up their time in the classroom to mentor me along the way. 


Through teaching I...

 Made so many lasting and authentic friendships.

Between Hopkins, Conestoga and Evergreen (even in my time at George Fox), I have remained close with colleagues who are AMAZING teachers. People who inspired me to be a better teacher, who taught me patience, who encouraged me and supported me, who believed in the initiatives I took, who trusted me and who partnered with me with the students that we shared together. Having teachers as colleagues is an incredibly bonding experience, and to me, they really feel like family. I know that just because I have left the classroom, does not mean these friendships will cease to exist. Thank you so much, colleagues, for EVERYTHING you have taught me-- I cherish it and I hope that someday we can partner together again. :)


Through teaching I...

Got to work for fabulous administrators.

My administrators were such a gift to my teaching career. Never before have I felt so supported and believed in-- especially in my time at Evergreen. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to work for Rian and Linda-- it was truly one of the best jobs I've had before, and I know that everyone who has worked for them feels the same way. To have a supportive administration when you're a teacher, and dealing with all of the things that we face as teachers on a daily basis, is one of the best gifts and makes what we do worthwhile. I so appreciate all of the principals and administrative staff that I've worked with who have invested in me as a new teacher-- it did not go unnoticed. 


Through teaching I...

Spent time with students that I will never forget. There are too many to name on here that I care so much for, and will always be cheering on in life. Teaching is incredibly rewarding, and daily-- daily, I was impacted by my students. They surprised me, made me laugh, challenged me, blessed me and I was so fortunate to be their teacher. 

I do not for one second regret entering in the teaching profession. I think so much of the policies and funding measures that go into education need serious reform, but being a teacher was one of the best titles that I've held. Thank you for all who made it memorable for me, and for the time and resources you invested in me. I'm looking forward now to new experiences and new learning opportunities, and am excited about what the future holds. 


Private vs. Public Education Soapbox

{Stepping onto soapbox...}

I grew up in private schools. Not because my parents thought they were too good for public education, but because they wanted a better educational experience for my siblings and I. 

While I loved my friends, classmates, and memories formed throughout the years in private school, I always wanted to go to public school instead (I even did, for two months on a brief sophomore stint). There was an allure that I thought I was missing out on which included: dating, proms, dances, theatre, and generally better programs than we had. 

I thought my educational experience would be so much better, and I really wanted to ride the bus and go to different classes every hour. 


Instead, I got individualized instruction, small classes, deep friendships and a general protection from teen dating, drugs + alcohol, and other temptations that high schoolers tend to face. Yes, some of those moral decisions had to do with my upbringing, but going to private school by and large kept me from the exposure to things I didn't necessarily want or need in my life. 

Because I grew up in private school and had small class sizes, I wanted that to transcend into my college experience as well, which is why I chose a local private liberal arts college to attend instead of a booming state school. My college experience was extremely enriching educationally and otherwise.

I am SO THANKFUL for the education I received throughout elementary, middle, high school and my college years. My parents made financial sacrifices to pay for it, and I made financial sacrifices to continue in it. I never got to go to a school dance or really "date" in high school, nor did I get to be a cheerleader or star in a school play. However, what I realize that I gained in exchange for those things was a quality, individualized education that met my needs academically.

25 students in a classroom used to be large; now that's considered small. 35 was unheard of, now 40 may be the new normal. My graduating class had 19 students in it, and that was absolutely perfect. My teachers were able to sit down with me at length and explain processes and procedures to me in time I would never get in a public school classroom, and it has absolutely impacted my educational experience today. 

The flip side of this argument is obviously: What about those who cannot afford private school?


Obviously, just transferring to a private school in order to get a quality education is not the answer. Am I saying that private education is the way to go? Not necessarily. However, they're doing something right with student achievement, and that's what needs to be examined.

Teachers, with the best of hearts, work so hard to try and meet each and every one of their students' needs in fifty minutes' time, but unfortunately, the achievement gap is continuing to widen because it's just not physically possible to do so. A scenario of less time, more students and bigger needs is equaling an educational process bursting at the seams. Our students deserve better. They are our future generation: our lawmakers, our innovators, our healthcare professionals; our mayors, lawyers and Presidents. 

If we don't invest in our future generation by giving them the best possible public education they can receive, then what do we have to gain in twenty years?

Lowering class sizes + hiring more skilled teachers = effectively reducing the achievement gap. Period. 

Our government educational spending and funding priorities need a HUGE wake-up call-- immediately. 


Necessary change.

I've taken a summer hiatus from blogging, as travel and freelance work have consumed my free time {in a good way}.

It breaks my heart a little, reading the last post I wrote: honest, raw. Pouring my life and heart into education for these past three years has been beautiful, yet emotional in so many ways. For so long I thought that my calling was to be a teacher. I was good at it, but more importantly, I loved the students who challenged me to grow each day. 

Sadly, yet full of hope, that chapter of my life is coming to a close. 


I had to be honest with myself this summer and determine what it was I wanted in life, and what I wanted to see that I had worked so hard for. The honest truth is that Oregon's educational budget situation and the way that teachers' jobs are retained is broken. The fact that someone's career and livelihood could come down to nothing more than a hire date is broken; that budget relief could be felt in bigger class sizes and pay deductions for teachers who already work above and beyond their call of duty on a daily basis is broken. While I loved being a teacher, public education and policy is just not something that I can be ping-ponged around in anymore. At twenty-eight years old and with two degrees I supported myself to attain because of my professional dreams, a half-time position and pay reductions with increased class sizes and decreased funding priorities is not something I can compromise on anymore. 

So I'm stepping away, likely, for good. I'm confident that my abilities and talents that God has given me will benefit an organization that appreciates the work that I do and what I have to give, and that I won't have to wonder every February: am I going to have a job next year? 

I can't keep putting off life, wondering if I'm going to have a job or wondering how I'm going to make ends meet with a pay reduction and hours reduction-- especially being married to a teacher enduring the same obstacles as well. 

Public education is broken, and change needs to happen. 

I hope that as I move on in my career, I can still be an advocate for that change, but emotionally, financially and otherwise, I can't stick around to wait and see what happens. It's sad. Disappointing. Discouraging. 

Our kids deserve better than tenure status, bigger class sizes and underfunded programs, and I hope and pray those changes occur sooner rather than later. 

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to new change... positive change; an opportunity for growth, for investment in something bigger and to spend my free time volunteering, staying connected to education on the sidelines, and cheering on my husband as he stays low in the trenches. 

Wish me luck. :)

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