Updated: Jan 27, 2020
I have always been the type of person who devotes the majority of my time to my work and family. I love being a teacher because it gives me the opportunity to have a positive influence on so many kids’ lives. What better gift than to help others? When I am not working, I like to putter around my house, go for long walks, enjoy a little yoga and just be a mom. I also enjoy playing with my Labradoodle, Doodle, and running from my cat, Bean, who for some reason doesn’t seem to care for me. But we are working on that! As you can see, my life is quite simple or I should say, was quite simple!
Back in 2014, my family up and moved, nine hours from our home in Michigan, as my husband began a new career. This was a huge change for my entire family, as we moved to a small town in Iowa where we knew absolutely no one. It was a bit scary but exciting too. I was a high school teacher for 24 years before this move. A year before I left Michigan, my supervisor came to me to see if I would be interested in helping teach math to adult learners. I said I would be happy to help out and so I began working evenings in adult education. Of course, at the time, I never realized how much this would change my life. I quickly learned that adults attended school because they experienced life without an education and now knew how much education could mean to their future success. When I think of my high school students, many of them attend school because the state tells them they must. Many of them get good grades because their parents reward them for their success. But none of them have experienced the difficulties of life without an education. They are just going through the motions of an education because it is forced on them. As I taught adult education, my eyes opened wide. These students wanted to learn for themselves and were appreciative of the help. Many didn’t initially have the confidence needed for success, but as time went along, their self esteem grew and they began to open up much more. I noticed their attendance improve as their comfort levels grew. They began to ask more questions in class and they smiled more. As it is for most people in this world, testing can be scary and stressful, but these students learned quickly that hard work leads to success. I quickly realized how creative and intelligent they were and it inspired me to work even harder to help them see their self worth. As they learned from me, I also learned about life from them.
Teaching that adult education class, opened my mind to more possibilities as a teacher. When we moved from Michigan, I knew I wanted to step away from high school teaching for a bit, to work more with adults. I began looking for positions in adult education. One particular job stood out to me. Teaching GED to offenders in a maximum security prison. I thought about my adult students and although many had spent quite a bit of time in jail, none had been to prison. I actually never knew anyone in prison. Should I veer off my normal path and try something new? Why not? This job kept popping up when I was looking for work in Iowa. I kept looking at the posting and thought, I can make a difference? "I want to do this, and so I did! It was the best decision of my life. As you will learn in my upcoming book, “Seven Doors In”, this detour gave me a new appreciation for life. It opened my eyes to a new world.
Never in my life did I think I would start a blog, let alone write a book. I was always the person to enjoy a good magazine article, but not one to sit down and read a full length book. It just wasn’t me. I enjoy reading math books and doing puzzles but writing a book, no. Well let me tell you something, if you find your passion, anything is possible. Passion drives us to become better. Passion encourages us to step out of our norm. And passion is my inspiration to “Be Brave Enough to Make a Change.”