Dec 9, 2010

The End

NOTE: This is a long post so people like my friend Martha will probably want to just skip over this one. :-)

In 2002, Reagan and I began to talk about me coming home full-time in preparation of us having children. It was before we'd gone through any fertility testing and actually a couple years before we were on an adoption waiting list. But our goal was for me to be a stay-at-home mom when children ever came into our lives. As we were discussing and weighing options, I also began to talk to business associates and friends about me leaving my full-time job. As I was speaking with a friend one day she told me that she had received a call about an opening for an adjunct position at an area community college. She gave me the name and number of the contact person at the college. I called him. He had me come in and observe a class, and as they say, the rest is history.

I began teaching in the vocational/technical department in January 2003. The first class I taught was a Beginner Advertising course. I think I learned more that first semester than my students did. Not about Advertising, but about what I could realistically expect of my students and myself. I learned quickly that just because I studied for tests in college, that didn't necessarily mean that everyone did, or does. Oh, and deadlines, those are basically just suggestions as far as my first students were concerned. And I'm not even going to talk about how many cell phones I've had to take up during my teaching career. Eventually, as my reputation grew, my students learned, "Mrs. Brown don't play. You turn your work in, or you don't get credit. You turn your cell phone off and HIDE it before you enter her classroom." Seriously, I did learn compassion during my career. I realized it's tough going to school and working to support yourself at the same time, which some of my students were doing. It's tough if you're a single parent and you're trying to work on a degree in order to make a better life for you and your children.

Even with the "learning" process I went through during my career, I would not have changed it for anything. There were a number of times that I was tired, frustrated, and even a little overwhelmed. But not once did I come home and say, "I want to quit." Every time I spoke with my supervisor, my husband, my friends, I always said, "I love what I do." I had never felt as fulfilled as when I was teaching. I loved my students. I loved how they challenged me. I enjoyed the joking, the discussions, the activities that we did in class. I always looked forward to the beginning of each semester. I think I could go on and on with stories of my time teaching. And I can confidently say, had it not been for Sara Madalin coming into our life...well, I'll just say, so much of my life would be different were it not for the blessing of her.

By 2008, I had gone from teaching that one class to teaching as many as 5 classes per semester, which is the maximum that an adjunct is allowed to teach. (Oh, and I started working on my master's degree as well. Just cause I thought I needed a little more on my plate. Ha.) I was told many times by our dean and my supervisor that, had there been funding, I would have been offered a full-time position. And, had I been offered a full-time position, I most likely would have taken it. But once again, God had a different plan for me. If you've read our blog long, you might know that not only in 2008 was I teaching more and heading toward that full-time position, but God also brought a beautiful little girl into our life. It may be difficult to see this from my posts on the blog (ahem), but I kind of fell completely in love with her. I still struggled. I loved working. I loved her. I had gotten so far in my graduate studies that I felt I couldn't quit that either. So, I tried to make it all work.

Try as I might, and as much as Reagan helped, and as patient as he was... I just can't do it all. Something had to give. So, I re-examined my priorities. The number one priority is my family. And I've come so far in my graduate studies and am so close to finishing that I really can't quit that. So, that left teaching.

Although I never wanted to quit, I have to say it was a little easier to let go than I thought it would be. I'll miss it. I hope to someday return. But , God gave me grace and mercy this past week in order to really let go. I haven't even really shed any tears, which is surprising considering how emotional I am. I told my students about mid-semester that I would be leaving at the end of the term. Some were disappointed. Others, I'm sure were thanking God for answering their prayers. :-) We joked about my leaving from time to time throughout this semester. But, Monday morning as I addressed my class for one of my last times, my eyes did tear up a little. I guess the finality hit me. And then, Wednesday afternoon as I heard the very last advertising presentation (which I informed them was the last presentation I'd hear of my career - no pressure), I was a little sad. I must say, that last group, they didn't disappoint. I was proud to go out on that note. I'm proud of them. I've seen some very promising students throughout my career. I've seen some that have gone on to succeed in their career field. I still keep in touch with a number of my students and hope to for many years to come.

And just because this post isn't quite long enough, I thought I'd add some pics of my students from this past semester. This was a student in my Advertising class as he presented his first television storyboard.

In Entrepreneurship, my students spent the semester working on business plans and developing their own business. During the last class, they gave presentations as if they were approaching possible investors. They shared their business plans, as well as models of their business. The lady in the pearls created this model of a restaurant/cigar bar, banquet facility. She always brought her "A" game and the younger students always knew they had to perform at a greater level when they were in a class with her. And I knew I had to perform at a higher level when she was my student.

Trouble - that's what these three ladies are. But they are also very talented. They kept me on my toes in that I had to stay on top of which celebrities were dating whom and what they were wearing and, finally, what they were saying. The young lady on the left, she's the one who taught me what "We Gucci" means. And when you're teaching at a community college, that kind of information is important to know.

My department chair and I during our end of the semester party.

And I had to end my career on a sassy note. Cause I'm so Gucci.

I've been very blessed to be able to do what I love for so long. And I'm even more blessed that I can now move on to something I know I will love even more - being available for my baby girl and my loving, patient husband.

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Jana said...

So as I am reading this post I am the one doing the crying! i can't believe you are not going to be the "stable one" any more! I am so blessed to have God put you in my life first as a teacher and now as a best friend.
I love you and although I am sad, I am hoping this means not only more time for SM but more time for me as well!
Love you!

Amanda said...

What a beautiful post, and I know you'll be missed by many.