Happy Friday my friends.
Today my fellow blogger, scarf sister and friend Patty
will be sharing HER story.
Her words, her photos, her "I'm Better For It".
In the summer of 2004,
after teaching special ed. for 27 years,
a friend and I came up with a plan.
In my job I was constantly overwhelmed
with student referrals -
students who had not received early support for the difficult
and complex task of learning to read
and were now failing.
Our plan was one of prevention.
If we could target and help students early enough,
before they started struggling,
we could save so much personal frustration and
also potentially keep them from needing special ed.,
saving the system millions of dollars.
I poured my heart and soul into this project.
Research… workshops… books.
It felt like I had finally found what I was meant to do.
I worked long hours, but didn't mind, because
I had a goal and was finally using my skills
in a way that could produce relatively
quick and lasting results.
We tested all of the students in the school,
set up intervention groups, trained parents and volunteers and worked closely with teachers.
We shared our program ideas with others
at workshops and conferences.
Our test results showed significant improvement
the first year out.
We wrote grants to help fund the program,
but each year it was threatened by budget cuts.
At the end of the third year, I was heartbroken
when my position was eliminated,
forcing me to move to another school.
I started all over.
After a lot of hard work, we were again able
to show positive results at the new school.
Reading scores were up and special ed. referrals were down.
It was working!
Sadly, during this time, the CA state budget
was in a shambles and in April 2009,
I was told there was no money to continue the program
or my position.
I waited through the summer hoping that
things would change, but instead of getting better,
they only got worse.
Going back to special education felt like a
backward move at that point, so in August 2009,
I submitted my paperwork for early retirement.
Instead of feeling excited at this prospect,
I was devastated.
After all of the planning and groundwork
to get this desperately needed program off the ground,
it was simply going to vanish into thin air.
There would be no more BLAST program and
no more formalized early intervention.
I quickly realized how much of
my identity and self-esteem had been tied to my work.
No one said good-bye.
There was no party to end my 32 years of teaching.
No one called to wish me well.
It was like I just walked out and evaporated
(yes, insert a couple of pity parties right about here.)
My hope was to pursue my creative interests,
but I didn't know where to start.
I cried the day the new schoolyear started and
felt completely lost.
The previous spring, I had stumbled upon an art retreat
scheduled for October on the Oregon coast.
I felt really drawn to this, but due to the uncertainty
of my work situation, I hesitated,
ending up on the waiting list.
I completely forgot about it until I got an email
in September about an opening.
I almost talked myself out of it, but, t
hank goodness, I did decide to go!
The retreat was life-changing for me.
It came when I needed it most and had a powerful impact. Connecting with other, like-minded women
gave me the courage to start a blog and
to put some of my creative work out into the world.
and am so excited to be guiding other women
on their creative journeys.
I still miss parts of teaching,
especially the students,
but I am on a brand new path and it's OK.
I have stayed connected with the women from the retreat
and it has been pretty amazing.
In fact, we just had a reunion!
So, it’s not what I would have chosen…
Thank you so much Patty for sharing your story
here in my little space.
You can visit Patty HERE
where she shares much of her creative prowess
through words and amazing photos.
And thank you everyone for
stopping by and taking the time to read
another wonderful story of how when
things don't go exactly as we planned....
there is another plan... and we can certainly
"BE BETTER FOR IT."
if you want to share...please
email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
you never know how your story can help someone else.