The back to school season is a difficult time for me. When I was teaching third grade, this was the time for excitement, new faces, supplies. It was a fresh start in a fun atmosphere.
I grew up the oldest of eight cousins and learned from a young age how to corral our masses. I loved to teach them new things. We’d play games and read aloud, swapping homework and classroom stories. I always wanted to teach in one capacity or another, volunteering from an early age in the church nursery and later working after school as a library assistant.
Balancing Softness and Strength
When I started my first “real job” as a teaching assistant in a third grade classroom in Los Angeles, I was astonished at the varied backgrounds of the students. Our classroom was remarkable, a unique gifted program that drew children from all over the county. Eight-year-olds came in from Compton and Hollywood and Universal City, bonding over shared circle time. I cared deeply for these kids, raising money to give them opportunities like ice skating and camping in Yosemite. Compassion came easily. Discipline was a learned skill for me, but I eventually became comfortable taking a strong stand. It was in those firm moments that my students learned the most valuable life lessons.
I moved on to a highly-valued teaching position at a private school, where I learned what really makes a teacher great. I learned that true strength sometimes meant doing the hard thing because you care so much. For me it meant finding a balance that I could live with, and walking away when something didn’t feel right.
Three years ago I shared my story about why I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and left my teaching job. In the end, this brought me to where I am now – with a career I love and two kids who give me opportunities to use that strength and softness every day.
I’m proud to announce that I’ve teamed up with Angel Soft, known for their “ideal balance of softness and strength.” I’ll be sharing some more soft and strong moments from my life over the coming months, along with an awesome giveaway! If you haven’t gifted your child’s teacher a back to school package yet, consider sending your kid to school with some Angel Soft facial tissue. Teachers go through a TON of tissues throughout the school year, and it’s one supply I often found myself trying to wrangle into my classroom mid-year.
How do you find the ideal balance of softness and strength?