Choices – by Cheri

Growing up, I witnessed all of my family “react” to circumstances in life.  I cannot remember a time when one of them were able to make a choice on their own.  Maybe this was their “choice”, but sometimes things happen to people that force choices…and I knew at a very young age I would never allow my circumstances to determine my choices in life.

We all make choices in life.  I have recently been thinking about this in the passing of Barbara Bush.  What a remarkable woman who worked to ensure that everyone felt valued and children grew up valuing education.  My friend posted one of her famous quotes on facebook this week in remembrance of her…”At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal.  You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent” (Barbara Bush)  This made me think about choices I have made in my life…why I made them…and how this may impact the teaching world for current and future educators.

  • I chose to go to college and study education.  I could have studied just about anything, as I am a pretty bright individual.  I chose teaching.  I wanted to have an impact on learning for kids, wanted to be able to help that one student who didn’t have anyone in their corner, and to change the view of education.  I will never regret this choice.
  • I chose to get married at a very young age.  I married my high school boyfriend when I was 20 years old.  We had a child a year prior and I chose to build a family for her.  This brought about many other choices…including staying in my home town to attend college and not participating in the typical college experience, becoming a responsible adult at a young age who had to pay bills, make dinner, run a family, and care for two others, and it included sacrificing the “party scene” and finding myself as a single person before beginning a family.  This choice I will not regret (most days).
  • I chose to have only one child.  Some say it is selfish, but I say it was responsible.  I wanted to work and never imagined being a stay at home mom (not that this is wrong, but it is not for me).  I knew that if I had more than one child, the amount of time I could give to my career would be more limited…or the amount of time given to my family would be more limited…so I made that choice.  I will never regret this choice.
  • I chose to move away from all of my family (expect, of course, my then husband and daughter) to begin my teaching career.  1000 miles away as a matter of fact.  This was difficult.  I missed being around familiar people and places.  I missed having support for things that you really don’t think about until that support is not there.  I missed many birthday and holiday celebrations.  I missed funerals and births of children of family and friends.  But it is the choice I made.  I will never regret it.
  • I chose to teach in a low-income, highly diverse area of an urban setting…actually the fourth largest city in the United States.  I LOVED teaching at the school I was at.  I developed networks with other educators that have helped me advance in my career.  I met some of my closest friends (my new family).  I learned so much about teaching children with diverse needs.  I will never regret it.
  • I chose to leave the classroom and pursue leadership positions.  Learning how much impact I had on a classroom of students each year, motivated me to want to have an even bigger impact…and soon discovered I wanted to be a campus principal.  It was hard work going back to school and working.  It meant sacrificing time with family and friends.  But it also meant that an average of 600 students each year of the last 12 years have been changed by work that I have done!  I will never regret it.
  • I chose to change my whole life when I got divorced.  Although I did not choose my divorce directly….it had such an impact on me.  It needed to happen and so I guess God found a way for it to happen.  When it did, however, I was able to design the life I wanted to lead.  It was messy and it was tough for a while, but it was the choice I had to make.  I will never regret it.
  • I chose to sell my home, leave my “new” family and my familiar surroundings, and move back 1000 miles to my home state to lead a school where my whole education started.  Everything changed with this choice.  I went from a home owner to a renter again.  I went from being one of the most veteran educators in a district to a brand new district.  I went from one state where I knew curriculum standards and expectations, to another state where I had to learn every thing new.  I went from 100 degree summers to below zero winters.  It was messy and it was tough, but it was a choice I made.  I will never regret it.
  • I chose to leave my home state once again, and move back to Houston, to lead a failing school with the expectation that it needed to improve in one year.  What a challenge that was, but seeing the students and teachers grow was amazing.  Seeing the community build back into a community was unbelievable!  And knowing that after three years at this campus, teachers know how to teach, students know how to learn, and parents understand the importance of education…I will never regret it.

People make choices every day.  Some choose one path, while others choose another.  Never would I say one is better than the next, but I do say this…make a choice.  Do what makes you happy!  Be in control of your life.  And when you make that choice, be all in.  100%, whatever it takes!  Life is too short for regret!

Sparkle on, my friends!

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