The other day I ran into an acquaintance and I was telling her about my plans to leave my current job to become a teacher. And she asked me something that no one has when I tell them my plans, she asked me if it was my dream job. I paused for a second before responding “Yes, mentoring and teaching so yes I think it is.”
Ever since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about my response. I would never associate “dream job” with teaching. I’ve been surrounded by teachers my whole life but I never dreamed of being one. Of course I played teaching my dolls when I was a kid but my dreams have surrounded fashion and design for so many years. When I was in design school over 14 years ago, I had the first feelings of wanting to teach. Fashion of course.
When I left design school, I didn’t long to go to New York or Paris, I wanted something more. So I took a job working for the Navy designing military clothing. I designed on the side first baby accessories, and then bags. But I still had the idea of starting a mentoring/teaching program for underprivileged girls. An idea that was born in design school because of the lack of diversity in my classes.
That idea stayed with me until about 5 or 6 years ago, when discontent came knocking and did a long hard search inside myself for real purpose. I wanted to find a “career” and not just a “job”. A career has passion and purpose behind it. A job has a paycheck. I pulled out a business plan (I wrote in design school) for the organization that I hoped to start and began tweaking it. I gathered supplies and I started contacting people about working with young girls in the schools and in my community. All the while the stresses of my “job” were taking a major toll on my health.
About 3-4 years ago, I started taking steps. I volunteered at a middle school, I ran a summer program at my church, and I taught a class for a kid’s college. What I found was a fulfillment that I had never felt. Seeing the ideas and creations pour from those children made me feel alive. After a trip to the ER in an ambulance and a health situation that created a countywide health scare (panic attack gone viral), I decided to take the steps towards a “career with purpose, a career in teaching”. Without really realizing it, teaching kind of snuck up on me. I saw kids proud of their accomplishments, kids with real talent for design, and I received an awesome letter from a parent about how I’d influenced their child.
We Are F.A.S.H.I.O.N exists now as a blog but one day it will be the mentoring/teaching program/summer camp, that I planned for it to be 14+ years ago. In about 5 months, I’ll be stepping out on faith and beginning a teaching career. Even as I type this post, thinking about the possibilities I find myself smiling.
My mother who was a teacher told me to never go into teaching (they don’t pay) but she understands the personal fulfillment changing a child’s course can bring. She gets it and she supports me. My husband is currently a teacher and even though he looks at the money and wonders how we’ll make it, he gets it and he supports me.
So again I think about her question -Is it your dream job?
If I run into her again I would clarify myself and say it’s my purpose. It’s what I was ultimately created to do. Life took me down several paths but they were all meant to get me standing in front of a room of children to plant seeds of inspiration and creativity and witness the beauty that grows.