My mom retired after 35 years of being an elementary teacher. As she was ending her teaching career, I was beginning mine. I loved sharing teaching stories with my mom. She could relate to what I was going through, and on those really tough days and weeks, I always felt better after talking with my mom.
Unfortunately, a few years after my mom retired, she passed away. I expected holidays and birthdays to be hard without her. What caught me by surprise, though, is how much I missed her as I drove to school. And at the beginning of each new school year, waves of grief would roll in and out.
Now, I anticipate the waves, and instead of them overtaking me, I ride them out. As I drive to school each day, I welcome the childhood memories that come to mind....
One of the inventions I’m most thankful for is GPS. Being directionally challenged, driving to new or unfamiliar places can cause me to feel a little anxious....even with a GPS.
I still remember how excited I was years ago when I got my first navigation system for my car – a TomTom. Even though I heard the word “recalculating” a lot (when I missed a turn), I felt a sense of security knowing that this little device decreased the likelihood of me getting completely lost.
Now, instead of a TomTom, I typically use the navigation system built into my car, Google Maps, or Waze. Recently, I was in an unfamiliar area and was about to leave to go home. It was dark out, and I was in the middle of the country. I clicked “Go Home” on my GPS and started to follow the soothing voice that was giving me directions.
Years ago, when I was going through a leadership training, part of the training required us to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Through this test, I discovered that I am an ISFJ: The Nurturer.
I wasn’t sure what that meant, but when I read the description I was surprised at how well it described me. And for the first time, I realized that as an introvert, I have just as much to offer the world as an extrovert. I no longer saw being an introvert as a weakness, but a strength. As a quiet observer, I often pick up on subtle non-verbal cues, and I can usually sense how others are feeling.
I’ve known for years that I am an ISFJ, but several months ago I heard about something called the Enneagram. According to the Enneagram, an ancient personality tool, there are 9 different personality types. Knowing your personality type will help you understand why you think, feel, and behave in certain ways.
Here’s a fun infographic about the Enneagram:
At 2:30 a.m. my alarm went off. After only 3 hours of sleep, it was a struggle to open my eyes and roll out of bed, but I kept telling myself, “It will all be worth it at the end of the day.”
My friend and I had been planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, and a 6 a.m. direct flight meant we would have the whole day to explore the area. We would just need lots of caffeine to help us stay awake.
Even though it was a 4 hour flight, because of the change in time zones, we landed in Phoenix at 7:05 a.m. With Starbucks in hand, we picked out a rental car and began the 4-hour drive to the Grand Canyon.
We’ve spent the past year together, and while it is time for you to move on to the next grade, know that you will always be my students. I will always care about each one of you, because I have loved being your teacher.
I have loved seeing your smiling faces each day. I have loved listening to the stories you tell me. I have loved laughing with you. I have loved helping you. I have loved seeing your confidence grow. I have loved teaching you. What I love most about our classroom is that I have been able to share it with you.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.