"The hardest part was letting go, not taking part.... [it] really broke my heart..."
A lot of people have asked me what my tweet earlier today was referring to. So here is my explanation. But first, I need to give two little background stories.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with a disease called ulcerative colitis. And I'm pretty sure that it all began because of a situation in my life that "just wasn't the way it's supposed to be". Anyhow, if anything in my life isn't the way it's supposed to be, it affects me, and the ulcerative colitis gets really bad. Before I got married last summer, I had a check up, and I was in remission. I was thrilled.
Background story #2: DJ got hired at an accounting firm in Monticello. Therefore, I had to find a job in the area. I applied at McGehee and DC. After my interview at McGehee, I knew that I wasn't supposed to be there. After touring DC and interviewing there, I felt like that was where the Lord wanted me. I desperately wanted to work there, and was genuinely shocked when I found out that I had gotten the job. There were many people who were much more qualified for that position- but somehow, I got it. I was so excited about my new job, and I spent the 2 weeks before my wedding getting ready for the school year. Then I got married, went on an incredible honeymoon, and started work 2 days later.
From the first week of school, things weren't the way they were supposed to be. I mean, I knew that anybody's first year at any school is supposed to be difficult. However, this was different. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle all year long. And it took a toll on my health. I won't share what specifically has happened over the year, but it wasn't because of my students. The colitis came back with a vengeance. At one point, I lost 15 lbs in just 10 days. I was taking my medicine, and steroids weren't helping. My doctor was concerned, and I went back for a check up. I was no longer in remission.
Ulcerative colitis is something that I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life. And I've come to terms with that. However, in order to stay as healthy as possible, I have to be extremely cautious about the situations that I put myself in to. This includes career choices.
Today, I announced to my students that I wasn't returning to DC next year. It was announced on the local news website last week, and individual students approached me regarding the situation. The media made it sound like I was leaving immediately, and offered no explanation for my resignation. Therefore, I felt that I should tell my students the truth. I was able to hold myself together until I told my 4th period class.
This extraordinary group of students has been the reason why I drive to school every day. They have encouraged me every day, worked so hard for me, and they are the reason why I KNOW that I love to teach. On days where I felt worthless, they would laugh at my dumb stories and instantly cheer me up. On days where I wanted to quit, one of them would simply give me a hug, and I knew I could make it through the rest of the day. Today, when I told them that I was leaving, I couldn't hold back tears. It breaks my heart that I won't be there to teach them. They are so incredibly talented, but more importantly, they are some of the kindest people I have ever known. I was so afraid to tell them, because I felt that they would be disappointed in me. They went through a lot last year, and they were abandoned by their teacher. I didn't want them to be under the impression that I was doing the same. This decision was not an easy one to make. As I was telling them, they started to cry. Which made me cry more. After I finished telling them about the situation, they all surrounded me, hugged me, told me they understood, and that they loved me.
Today was hard. I don't want to leave these kids. But I know that I need to stay healthy. And I know that I have to leave in order to do just that.
So what's the next step? I was accepted into the Master's program in Music Education at UCA in Conway. I am very excited about this next step. I will begin online courses this summer. As I mentioned earlier, these students have TAUGHT me that I love to teach. It's always been a dream of mine to teach at the university level. I am getting one step closer to my goals, and I can't wait to see what else God has in store for us.