God blessed me abundantly. I quickly got to know my teacher (master teacher, really) and she put my anxiety aside. I soaked in everything I could from her and the team I was working with. I blossomed in those 7 weeks as a teacher, professional, and as a person. I fell in love with the school, with the kids, with the faculty. It felt like home. Thank you Vickie Stearman, Aretas Brookings, Lisa Bumpus, Larry Ellis, and Kathy Hamilton for being a part of my early experiences at Western Oaks and putting up with me as a student teacher in 2nd Grade.
The blessings continued. Although I was preparing to interview at another school that afternoon, I was pulled in to a quick impromptu interview at the end of the school day at Western Oaks. All through college I had said, "I will never NEVER teach 1st grade. I do not want that responsibility of teaching a child to READ, I can't do it." God has a sense of humor. Mr. Eichelberger offered me a 1st grade position. I was very unsure at first, this was the grade I had sworn away from. However, I so loved this school and I knew this is where God wanted me to be. I said, "Yes".
I started my first year in 1st grade in August of 2005. There were so many up and down moments. The definite ups - I was working right across the hall from one of my best friends, Amber, I made lots of new friends, I had GREAT mentors (Ann and Vickie), I built relationships with my students and my student's families, I was not just part of a work place...I was part of a family.
I continued to teach in 1st grade, in the same classroom for the 7 years. This summer, I interviewed for and accepted a position as a Literacy Coach...at two other schools. While I am beyond thrilled and excited about this, it breaks my heart to leave my WOE family.
I turned my key in yesterday. The same key I used for 7 years. The same key that let me into a classroom where I transformed from a young and timid teacher to a confident and (somewhat older...) teacher. I learned about heartache in this room, the power of a smile, the importance of unconditional love, the irreplaceable feeling when you see a child learn, and I learned how much I loved 1st grade.
As I walked out of my room for the last time, millions of memories were going through my mind...among those memories is when I remembered where I was standing when my husband proposed to me (along with the rest of my class). It is just a room, but it is a room I will never forget.
I had so many teachers (and a principal) I looked up to that helped me along the way. I can't think of one person in that building I will not miss. Each person has a memory that I will hold on to. So many moments of laughter, shared tears, moments of support, shared victories....I could go on and on.
Western Oaks Family, you all mean so much to me and I thank you so much for all you have done for me and my family these last 7 years. Even though I move on now to some place new, you all will always be on my heart and mind.
I am so glad I was there to be a part of WOE's 50th! What an awesome celebration that was.
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