Friday, June 17, 2016

Decide what to be, and go be it.

The title of my post happens to be my all time favorite song lyric from The Avett Brothers. I posted it on top of my chalkboard everyday this past year. After a couple weeks of school, a student asked me what it meant. I told them that it means to decide what you want to do with your life- where you want to go and what you want to be, then do whatever it takes to make that dream come true. For me, I've always known I wanted to be a teacher. I've worked with all ages, but second grade is my passion. For me, my dream was to one day end up in the Fort Mill school district. But the year I graduated, no schools were hiring, so I did the next best thing- I worked at a preschool in Fort Mill. I realized quickly that I still wanted the public school setting and tried again the following year. Still no jobs, but I heard about a little charter school opening up. I interviewed with them FOUR times! (I think they just liked seeing my face). Finally after the fourth interview, I got the job! I was so excited! Only to be told two weeks later that my position had been cut. I kept wishing and job searching and then one morning a phone call changed it all- YPA had moved around some people so that I could work there. I was so excited.

That first year was a blur. Really the only things I remember were the late hours (6pm everyday!), the fact that I had to sweep and mop my own classroom, and the friends that I met. I can honestly say I've never gotten so close to a group of people so quickly (and I was in a sorority!) I knew that my goal was to end up in Fort Mill, but I couldn't leave my friends and my classroom kiddos.

The next year got a little easier. I actually knew what I was doing, we were all SO excited about the new building. I loved my sweet little school too much to leave it now.

We almost doubled in size my third year. I went from a team of three to a team of five! And to my surprise, I was asked to be the grade chair for second and third grade! (By the way, it's really hard to be grade chair for a grade you've never taught!) But I loved the challenge, I definitely wasn't going anywhere in the middle of SACS accreditation!

My fourth, fifth, and sixth years all run together. But I know two things- I always had a great team to work with, and my students were the best in the world.

I've spent six whole years of my life at YPA. It's a big part of who I am. I met my husband here, I met my BEST friends here, I had so many principals/academic directors/managing directors show me what support looks like, I traveled to San Francisco with the best group of ladies (and had more fun at a Mexican restaurant than I ever have), I've learned how all that hard work is worth it when a student's "lightbulb" goes off, I've seen the hardest working teachers spend countless hours trying to find the best ways to reach their students, and I've watched myself grow and change during those years (gotta keep reminding myself I'm not 22 anymore).

And at the end of my sixth year, when I saw my students reach their personal goals- I asked myself if I had met mine. I still loved YPA, but I wondered if there was an opportunity for me in my dream district. Like I told my principal, I wasn't gonna leave YPA for just any school. After the perfect opportunity presented itself, I took a leap of faith and this week I accepted a job to teach second grade at Tega Cay Elementary School. Why did they hire me? Because they said I had the experience they were looking for, and for that, YPA, I will always be thankful for you.

I'm still gonna be a part of YPA. I'll come to soccer games and spirit nights... I'll finish school before you guys next year so I might even try to do a drop in for field day or to help Ms. Wherrey with dismissal.

I'm so ready for new experiences, but I'll never forget my first "school home."

So many pictures I could post, but these are some of my faves. Thanks for being "my people" over the years!

1 comment:

  1. You just made me cry Amanda. We will miss you so very much. You will always be Trey's #1 and mine. Love you girl and I wish you the very best! And you better stop in the office when you come to help Jess. :)