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The Story Within My Story

Balancing a teaching career while pursuing an artist's dream.

It’s not easy being a full-time teacher and indie author. 

Scratch that. 

It’s not easy being a workaholic who wakes up before 5 am every morning in an (hopefully not delusional) effort to facilitate a grand merger between everyday work realism and a lofty artistic dream. 

I write every day. For five whole weekdays, I venture out into the world of kindergarten special education and be there–100%–for my kids and staff. I handle meltdowns and put out fires (and yes, many of them are my own!), and I wouldn’t give any of it up. Not a second of it. But unlike a lot of indie authors I’ve met out there, though, I don’t plow through the day in drudgery while hoping for my “real break” to one day come. Teaching is not my day job. It is my passion. 

I’m probably one of those rare and unusual individuals who, if I hit the lottery tomorrow (I don’t play the lottery, but let’s just pretend for the sake of this point I’m trying to make here), would NOT quit teaching. I’d still balance my logical mind with my artistic heart, and wait until August to go all out on an adventure to Bali. And, yes, August, because I teach summer school!

You see, there is something incredible about the balancing act. Something about the read-alouds and runny noses. The PD sessions that fluctuate from irrelevant to life-saving. Reaching out to families, learning from my talented colleagues as I stare at their Pinterest-ready classrooms in awe, all the while watching a child master a previously unknown skill with wide-eyed determination. Pair that all with writing a self-published series, nightly Yoga sessions, the pressure to keep up on social media (which I’m currently failing at, by the way), and well, we’re looking at a pretty busy schedule!

The thing is, we all have our special gifts and talents. And as many families and kids are getting ready for the new school year, whether their district is currently in session or not, it’s important to remember that this is a learning experience for all hands on deck. I’m learning too. I’m learning about each and every individual who comes my way, but I’m also learning an awful lot about myself too. What works, what can be worked on, and everything in between. It’s more than having the right kind of crayons or dry erase markers. It’s more than remembering to contribute that much-needed extra box of tissues. 

It’s about nurturing all parts of who I am. And the same mind that searches to find new ways to teach sight words and create awesome STEM centers, is the same one working on the second novel of an adult fiction series. 

One question I often get from people is: “Are you writing a children’s book?” This always makes me smile a little because it reveals just how much we unconsciously compartmentalize people and their roles within our lives. More often than not, those same questioners are shocked to learn that no, I am writing books for adults and would most certainly NOT recommend that children read my series. Their reactions are often similar to that of a confused student who learns that her teachers do not, in fact, live in the school building. 

This morning I decided to share my first post on ThriveGlobal with the hope of lending my voice to the community. Not as solely a teacher, and not simply as a writer either. I’m a healthy and happy merge of the two. And in many ways, most of us are. We wear many hats, some more recognizable than others, and slip in and out of roles interchangeably–sometimes with magnificent ease, and others not so much. We all have multiple facets of our personalities that have the potential to realize themselves in the most imaginable of ways. 

There are no boundaries when dreams are limitless. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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