|Spectrum Academy: I am a founding parent...look at the impact that 8 moms with one idea can create. Ideas are powerful.|
Dreams…what are they really? Sometimes they are stories with an entire plot and setting, sometimes they are scary, sometimes they are random thoughts, sometimes they express frustrations/joys/emotions, and sometimes they are warnings, directions, or they can be a life changing moment.
For me, dreams have always been a direction of communication between Heavenly Father and myself. I know that I have received true direction through my dreams. When this happens I call them visions. Now that doesn’t mean that I have nightly “visions” of my life, family, and the future, but it does mean that when those “visions” occur, I stop, ponder, and write them down. This is one of those times
A few nights following Christmas I had a dream about Spectrum Academy. The setting was an everyday school day: being a Special Educator to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. During my dream I was asked to see Miss Jaime (she is the principal). While in her office, I received direction about a “special assignment”. Miss Jaime explained to me that I would have 15 students in my classroom that needed me to reach them. These students needed not only the academic basics, but they needed to be emotionally healed, supported, and loved. She said, “As a teacher you are in the position to influence the life of a child for either good or ill. These 15 students have been given to you because no one else can reach them, help them, or cares for them. The task before you will be filled with risk: you will work hard, put in extra time, thoughts, and probably prayers for them. They will take and take from you physically, emotionally, and spiritually…you have to be prepared for that.” I remember asking her, “Why were they assigned to me?” She looked at me directly and with a firm and strong voice she said, “Because…You ARE a TEACHER.” As the dream continued, I saw myself teaching, disciplining, trying to figure out ways to break down tasks so that the students could better understand the material and so forth. I remember being so exhausted, but feeling like I was accomplishing this task set before me. Throughout the dream the thought that continued to echo was, “You ARE a TEACHER”.
Now to give a little bit of background in November 11-12, 2010, Spectrum Academy hosted the Autism Conference and we had a key note speaker come who said something that was life changing for me. (Although I must admit that I was fighting the change as it was going on—I am so stubborn sometimes). She basically told her story of how she became a teacher. It started off in a small school in the South and she didn’t even have a teaching certificate. She stuck with it and taught those children with the best thing she had: hard work and love. Her motto is very simple, “I AM a TEACHER!”
Now for the whole summer, I’ve been thinking about going into Administration so that we can better support our family. (I mean at the time we were looking towards an implant for Marianne and the cost and up keep could bankrupt us). So that was the direction, but as the sweet Lord knows all, he placed some people in my path (namely my 6 children) and told me that this career change was NOT for me. Why?? Why?? We don’t want to go into debt, I’m still with the kids, and I could still be at their same school. Why not??! It was simple, the answer would be revealed at a later time. That’s it? The answer will be given at a later time? Well, as the Sweet Lord always does for me, the answer came with a huge dose of Humility: April, you Are a TEACHER.
I was fighting it while she was speaking. I kept thinking that I needed to become more than a teacher, but it then the moment of truth hit me when the speaker talked about the letter that she gives to each one of her students and how (this is the very shortened version) that letter saved this student’s life. Basically the student (who is now 23 but at the time was 17) had a traumatic experience when he was 12 (he was kidnapped and sexually abused for over 4 months before he was found and his kidnapper was put into prision). The student because of those events was fearful and had trust issues. He would NEVER talk about it and began to self destruct. It finally came to the point of no return and he was going to be thrown out of the house because of the anger, the rage, and the terrible choices he was making. The impact on his family was tearing them all apart. He ran to his room to pack when the suddenly the letter that the teacher (the key note speaker) had written to him 4 years earlier fell on the ground and he read it. The words unleashed his emotional dam and needless to say it changed his life forever that day. He now runs a center to help other damaged children. She looked at the audience and said, “your influence is powerful—and you never know when it is going to stick. So, treat each day and each student as if they were gold, and see what your return will be.” The impact of her story, the impact on this one child’s life snapped in my head. I get it…I am a TEACHER.
I will never be paid what I worth. I know that I am looked down on by society as being “just a teacher”. I know that I will be pitied for “wasting my talents” (I’ve actually been told that). I know that will never be able to reach everyone academically that comes into my classroom, but I know that I am in the business of changing lives for good or ill based on the choices that make: the choices to work hard and love the students every day. For some students I might be the only positive Adult model they have in their life. I am in the business of service. I am hired by parents to teach their precious children. They trust me to do this. They are counting on me to deliver the service of teaching to their children. They are giving me that responsibility. It is the most powerful job in the world (next to parenting), and I am blessed with the opportunity of changing children’s lives. Now think about it. Can you name me the teacher that impacted your life? I bet you can name the teachers that impacted you for good and unfortunately for ill. I know I can.
I find it fascinating that it took me till I was 36 to FULLY embrace the fact that I have always been, and forever will be a teacher. Now something a little silly, but it opened up a world of other teaching opportunities. Duh! I can teach some on-line classes, adult classes, and so forth to help bring in a little extra income when we need it. Ohhhh, that’s right I’m still teaching and helping others. Anyway, the dream, the vision about me teaching these 15 students hit me again with soberness and truth. I am what I am. I’ve known it since I was 6 but I have not fully EMBRACED it until I 30 years later. Oh well, better late than never.
My resolve to do all that I can is real. I am now a better mother because of this vision. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am a better member of my community. And I am a better person because the Sweet Lord is willing to stick with me through my stubbornness and help me to see the direction that my talents were meant to go…It is a humbling place to be in…I pray that I follow the Spirit and direction so that I can best help others, impact other, and direct others as they cross my path along their path of life.