09 May My Big Leap
How I went from feeling stuck in the school system to creating a successful business…
It all started because I was feeling like I wanted to do more. As a teacher, in a self-contained classroom for kids with severe autism, I was feeling like I really wanted to help the families so much more than I was able. I wanted to provide these parents with hugs, strategies, and more support. When you teach in a public school classroom, you are limited as to how involved you can be in your students’ homes.
To fulfill my need of wanting to better support parents, I started tutoring children, who were not my classroom students, in their homes. Parents were so grateful to get the help they were desperately searching for. They wanted to know how to get through homework time, how to structure their home environment, how to stop their child from watching so much TV, and how to get their child to eat food other than chicken nuggets. This is the kind of stuff that I couldn’t help parents with from the classroom.
I was providing so much more than academics; I was helping families with social skills, sensory challenges, behavior, and communication. I was teaching parents how to connect with their children.
I started to think about how awesome my life would be if I could work full-time with kids in their homes. Wouldn’t it be incredible if I could actually do this for a living?
A seed was planted. Actually an entire garden was planted.
I started to ask myself tons of questions, as I often do right before something HUGE is about to unfold in my life.
What would happen if I did this full-time? Could I do this full-time? Would I be able to actually make a living by working with children and their families in their homes? What would happen if it didn’t work out? My whole life I wanted to be a teacher, and now I wanted to leave the classroom? I got my Master’s in Special Education so that I could teach children with special needs. Was I giving up my career? Was I giving up on my students?
And then I had an epiphany. My education, experience, students, and students’ families helped me get to where I was. Without those experiences I would not know how to provide support and strategies in the home. I was not giving up on my career or students, but rather I was taking my passion for both of those things and building something much greater.
I started to think of all of the children I would be able to help, all of the teachers that I would be able to hire to help work with even more children, all of the parents who would feel so supported because they would have consultants working with them and for them.
My future started to unfold before my eyes and it was the brightest path that I had ever seen. It all made sense.
I made an appointment to talk with my principal. I took a deep breath, explained my plan, and requested a Leave of Absence for one year. At that time, taking “a leave” was in the realm of possibility (much has changed in 10 years). He admired my passion and courage and told me that my position would be there next school year if I changed my mind. A part of me was relieved to hear that, but the majority of me knew that I wouldn’t be coming back.
I remember one mother hugging me in tears when she heard the news. I was her son’s classroom teacher. She wasn’t crying tears of sadness, but tears of hope. She was so proud of me and hopeful for all of the lives I was about to change. Her belief in me continues to inspire me daily.
I had no idea what the future held. I just knew that this made so much sense, this is where life had taken me, and this is where I had to go.
Friends and families, I have never looked back. Actually there was one time, years later, when I moved to a new state, and ALMOST went back to teaching in the classroom. I pretty much built my business all over again from the ground up…that’s a story for another day.
Working with parents and children in their homes, starting my own business, creating a company and providing a service that would not exist without me, is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life.
Do you have a little voice inside your head that is saying, “I want to do more?”
What do you say to that voice?
Click here to share your hopes and stories with me. Go on! Do it! It might be the bravest thing you’ve done yet!