Yesterday, I finished up my 1st year of teaching kindergarten at Holland Hall. The decision to leave public school was very difficult for me. Most of you know my relationship with Makenzie. For those that don’t know, she was in my kindergarten class last year. In the last week of school, she was diagnosed with leukemia. I planned to be her tutor while she was going through chemo & unable to attend school. I had already signed my contract with the district when I got the call from HH. Unfortunately, leaving the district meant I could no longer be Makenzie’s tutor. I spent many nights agonizing over what to do. After speaking with her family, they eased my mind & heart and gave me the blessing I needed to move forward and accept the position at HH.
I had a lot of anxiety when I started this adventure. It was my 1st experience with an independent school & my 1st experience with a religious school. I will admit there were times I felt overwhelmed. New people, new procedures and new curriculum to learn. All grounded in traditions that have been a part of Holland Hall for generations. *gulp*
However, I found myself surrounded by wonderfully supportive teammates & staff. They were so gracious to answer my litany of questions and jumped in to help when I felt like I was walking around in a fog. People would stop in randomly and ask how I was doing or if I needed anything. My teammates put me at ease by reminding me that it was ok to not know everything my 1st year. I cannot thank them enough.
One of my biggest anxieties stemmed from the fact that parents would be paying for their child to get an education. I worried about meeting their expectations. I worried that they would be disappointed when they found out their child got the “new” teacher and not a veteran of the school.
My mind was quickly put at ease. These parents are some of the most thoughtful, invested, caring and genuine parents I have had the pleasure to meet. They embraced me with both arms and made me feel like I had been a part of this community for years. I received notes and cards with the sweetest sentiments and some of the most uplifting words of encouragement. I will never forget the parents of my students this year. Your children are blessed to have you!
Finally, I have to write about the students in my class. I was gifted such a fantastic community of kiddos! I had a student that showed more empathy than I have ever witnessed in a child so young. I had another student that never stopped asking questions. Never. (That really is a good thing, I just had to remind myself of it sometimes. Ha!) I had a student that could spell almost anything. I had another student that knew what a cephalothorax was and could explain it to the other students. Most importantly, I had a classroom of students that cared about each other. They were concerned when someone was absent. They were worried when someone was injured during recess. I watched them become a family. It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced in my career.
Before our last day, I asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had a few artists and veterinarians, a paleontologist, a cardiologist, a dancer, a pop star (his Michael Jackson moves are on point!), future NBA players (but 1st they will play in college for OU and Duke), an actress on Broadway (I better be invited to those shows!), an architect and a scientist. The future is looking pretty bright from my point of view. I have no doubt these kids can be anything they set their minds on becoming!
Sometimes God throws a fork in the road you’re traveling. You can choose the familiar path. The path you know will continue to give you comfort and safe passage. There is no shame or wrongdoing by choosing this path. But I made a different choice. I think Robert Frost said it best, ” Two roads diverged in the woods. And I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Holland Hall community. It truly has made all the difference. It has started off better than I could have ever imagined. I’m already looking forward to next year!