*This post is being re-posted with some revisions marked by blue text.*
Today is an interesting day. We are about to join the rest of our team for a breakfast in honor of "Teacher Appreciation Week" for us TOSAs while some other awesome teachers prepare to interview for my current job this afternoon. Talk about a limbo. Talk about emotions. Actually, I just don't want to talk. I don't even want to go in. Not because I am not appreciative of the effort. Not because I don't care for everyone in that room. It is for selfish reasons, because I can't seem to keep my emotions in check lately. And I don't like that. They are raw and they are showing loudly and clearly displayed on my sleeve, no matter how hard I try to cover them up.
So how do I deal? Well, as usual, I process through writing. My last few posts have been a bit dark and down and that is not who or where I want to be. So today I am flipping the switch. I am doing what I encourage others to do and look for and celebrate those bright spots. So today, on the last day of "Teacher Appreciation Week”. I am going to share my appreciation for my four year journey.
*A little background: Prior to this TOSA position at the district office, I worked at the same school for 14 years. I did not know the world outside of my site. I didn't even realize that there were two elementary schools within walking distance from my own. I did not know anyone outside of my staff. It is incredible for me to reflect back and see how many amazing people I have been blessed to get to know and walk along side with. Grateful, is the word.
Showing gratitude is one of the best ways to change your attitude.
1. I want to start by thanking those individuals who allowed me to embark on this incredible journey of learning and growth. To those who took a chance, and hired me for this position. I can picture you all, sitting at the large dining room style table as I answered question after question about many things that were unknown at the time. Every single one of you have played a part to get me to where I am today, most, I have seen on a daily basis. I wanted to thank you for taking a risk on an unknown. I was a wild card- I didn't know that was going to be me and I can bet neither did you. I know that I am not the same quiet and wide eyed person that sat in front of you four years ago, and I really hope that is a good thing. My hope is that you have felt confident in your choice and understand the passion and care that has gone behind my every word and action.
2. I have incredible love, respect and gratitude for all of the wonderful educators that I can call my partners. You have come in the form of team mates, mentors, friends and supports. Many have come and gone off to bigger and better things, but I know that I am better for our time together. It hasn't always been easy, in fact, there have been times that were quite painful. But through the pain, I believe that there is growth and I have grown because of every interaction with you. One of THE most important lessons I have learned, was how to really be a part of a team. I learned that people can have differing opinions and ideas. In fact, I have learned how much they are needed. I didn't know or understand this before. Now I preach it. You were there when I needed to be challenged, when I needed a wake up call, when I needed to learn and when I needed support...and for all of the above, I am truly grateful.
3. In this role, I have had the pleasure of getting to know and work with an incredible group of support staff. And they truly are that. They are the ones that work so hard behind the scenes to help us all be successful in our positions. Beyond that, these unsung heroes have been an incredible personal support to me as well. With this shift in my role and leaving this office, these women have shown up in such amazing ways. Their kindness, care, concern and hugs have warmed my heart-in what could have been a really cold time. For them, I am grateful!
4. Along this journey, I have been incredibly blessed to have had exposure to and work with a group of incredible administrators. When I started, the site administrators had no clue who I was and vice versa. But from my first day in front of you, I felt respect. This was new to me. I was unsure of who I was, what I was doing and why the heck I was allowed to work with you all. But you made me feel at ease and were so accommodating as you played along with my instructional strategies in your meetings. I had you singing, dancing and I remember a VERY fun "soul train" type line as we did "lines of communication." As we got to know each other, many of you shared how much you disliked those types of activities (and guess what, as a participant, so do I)- but that you did them out of respect for me- and that meant the world. Many of you have allowed me to work with your staffs, sometimes quite closely, and for that as well as your continued support, I am thankful.
5. This next one is an interesting, but incredible by product of my job. Somehow, I will never understand, I have been blessed with an incredible network beyond the district. I have somehow collected this amazing group of people who I lean on constantly, who I seek advice from regularly and who I love to death. One interesting thing is, those in this group are from all over. Many don't even know each other or they don't know that each other belong in this "support group" of mine. This group both collectively and many individually have not only helped me to stretch and see way beyond what I could see, but they have helped to keep me a float over the past year, in particular. Many call this group of people their "PLN"- Personal Learning Network, but I love the term my friend Tara Martin coined "PLF"- Personal Learning Family, because family is what it feels like. And for them, I am truly blessed.
6. To those that have been there for me, "behind the scenes". I don't know if I have been able to express the amount of appreciation that I have for you. You are the ones that have seen me for my best and waded with me at my worst. You were there to turn to when I needed re-adjustment, re-alignment or re-enlightenment. Your methods weren't always met with ease, but your intent and care always showed through- and in the end, were understood and appreciated.
My number one, original goal in this position was about you. My "six word memoir" was in plain sight, in my area, every day until yesterday as I packed up. My hope is that I stayed true to it and true to you. My hope is that at some point on this journey, I was able to connect and or support you.I have had a blast getting to know you, to learn from you and grow with you. That was pretty tough given the sheer number of you all and all of us being pulled in so many different directions. I believe that I did that best I physically could to connect to as many of you as I could. I just hope that I served you well and will continue to do so, even though roles have changed. I am big on relationships and I am big on them not having walls. I hope that our journey of collaboration and learning does not end with the change on my business card (do I even need a business card, do I even get those, now?).
I have been inspired by so many of you. When you shared a risk you took for kids, it brought a smile to my face. When you shared your #failforward moments, it brought me chills. When you brought me into your journeys, it grew me forward. I have been so incredibly proud of what I have seen in you, in the past four years and am excited to continue to watch future en devours.
I believe that you all know how to get a hold of me and I hope you know that I will continue to be there. It has been a pleasure serving you and l hope you have gained even a small fraction from me, compared to all I have gained from you. *A special thank you to those who allowed me to come in and be "edu-auntie" and work with your students. They were in fact the best part of my job (no offense), and as I move into the unknown, I have to remember that.
With that- I wanted to express my gratitude, one more time and am anxious, yet excited to see what the future has in store for all!
Mother, Teacher, Presenter, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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