About 6 years ago I was sitting in a lecture for one of my Master's classes with about 40 other teachers-in-training at Queens University of Charlotte. It was the last class of the semester, so our professor asked us to spend a few minutes thinking about where we thought we'd be in 5 years. Immediately heads looked up at the ceiling or dropped down in thought as we all looked through our crystal balls and sought the answer for what we'd be doing.
Those silent moments seemed to drag on forever for me. There I was, more than half way through the program (countless dollars into it, too!), but I wasn't ready to say, "I'll be happy as a clam teaching fourth grade." I did enjoy and work hard at my job as a fourth grade teacher (and third grade, too), but I just didn't see it as my life's work. I wasn't quite sure I should stick with the honest truth when it was my turn to report my vision of the future, lest the optimistic women around me come after me and send me running before I could earn that degree. So, I took a breath and listened to the dozen or so responses before my turn. Some of the visions that were reported included:
- I see myself in a colorful kindergarten room with 20 smiling faces looking up at me as we read together from a big book.
- I see myself as Teacher of the Year for my school.
- I see myself going back to school to become a reading specialist.
- I see myself team teaching with gifted students.
- I see myself taking a break from teaching to raise a family, but will volunteer in the schools.
On and on the reports went. And, I think they were all sincere and optimistic - as they SHOULD be! But, my heart wasn't right there with them. My crystal ball was telling me something much different. So, when my turn came, I took a breath told the women what I saw for my future:
- I see myself as a published author. I'll still work for and with kids, but not in a traditional classroom setting. For me, teaching is a stepping stone for something else.
That was the first time I really verbalized and believed those ideas of being an author. And here I am, just a bit more than 5 years later, after three years in a classroom (I taught while I finished my degree) and four years at home with children . . . a published author. An award-winning author.
The thought of that dream becoming a reality has been overwhelming the past few weeks. When the final award listing was published this morning, I called my husband (cried a bit), updated Facebook to let my friends know the results, emailed my illustrator/graphic designer/foreword author/newspaper editor to let them know and then did what all good runners do . . . I went for a run!
And I'm here to tell you that that overwhelming feeling is clearning and I feel refreshed and excited and ready to do all that the honor of this award needs me to do. There is just NOTHING like the release of a good run.
You can see the award results for yourself at Independent Publisher. We Are Girls Who Love to Run is honored with the Moonbeam Children's Book Award Bronze Medal in the Body-Mind-Spirit category.