What I Learned in My Classroom

Today I walked out of my classroom and closed the door on my teaching career.

It was harder to walk away than I thought it would be -- the friends, the students, the memories, the security. As many of you know, I am an elementary Gifted & Talented teacher in a public school, and I've been teaching at my current school for four wonderful years. I've spent most of the four years trying to inspire, guide, and facilitate creativity in students. Now, I'm finding that during this time I learned a valuable lesson in my own classroom. 

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You see, at the beginning of each year I read to my classes the book, "What Do You Do with an Idea?" It's a sweet little book about how your ideas grow and become part of you, and importantly, how you should never let go of them. It teaches that, eventually, if you embrace your inner creativity and ideas, they will blossom and lead you in new directions. 

And here I am...going in a new direction. My new direction starts now as I jump into my photography career full time. I am so excited about this new journey. I have found my passion in photography, and I cannot wait to work toward this dream.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11

I've always loved photography. From the time I was a little girl, I always had a camera and loved looking through boxes of old photos. That passion continued when I had children and began to photograph them. About 10 years ago I wanted to take photography classes but instead of following my heart, I listened to the doubts in my head that were saying, "You can't do this...you're not creative enough for that...everyone is a photographer these days...you'll never make it." I continued to take photos of my family and enjoyed photography, but I pushed the idea of actually pursuing it to the back of my mind for a long time. Last year on the eve of my birthday, I was very down and sad thinking about the regret I felt for not pursuing photography. I sat on the couch with my husband and cried.  That's when I decided I wouldn't live with that regret anymore. I didn't know where that decision would lead me...maybe a few photography classes, maybe a few photo session for friends...maybe a serious hobby.  

Now here I am leaving my classroom for a full-time career as a portrait photographer. 

I'm done being scared of starting over. I'm finished with regrets and what ifs. I'm ready to start on this new journey with all of the excitement that a teacher has when starting a new school year. 

So although I'm having a tough time with the "good byes," I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing. I'm confident that the answers to this dream I'm chasing have been staring at me all year in my classroom. How appropriate that the message on my door all year has been, "Keep Calm and Create," and the book "What Do you Do With an Idea" has been standing in a prominent place in my classroom everyday since August. I'm also confident that my Lord is guiding my steps and journey. That brings me more confidence than anything else. I'm thankful to all of you who have encouraged me as I start this new career. My husband and kids have been so positive and encouraging through this major transition. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this forever-long post. I'm excited about this new journey and look forward to many rewarding years chasing this dream of photography!