This one is personal. Bear with me....
In 2008 I became too ill to keep teaching at my current job which was elementary general music teacher at a performing arts magnet. I remember feeling guilty and weak and devastated that I could no longer handle it. I had to take short-term medical leave which turned into long-term medical leave. (I’m happy to share they details if you ask, but they’re beside the point.)
As I began to recover enough that I could hold a part-time job, I was offered a position as an academic consultant for student teachers at Appalachian State University. By the next semester, I was promoted to University Supervisor. I continued to direct a church choir part time and to take occasional gigs conducting honor and all-County choirs and teaching workshops on classroom management and a variety of other things.
By 2015 I was asked to conduct another all-County choir and on a whim, I offered to write a piece to be premiered by that choir. I sent it to a mentor of mine who is also an editor. I asked her if she would please make sure it wasn’t embarrassing before I shared it with the all-County chairperson. My mentor emailed me back and asked if she could submit it for possible publication. That piece was “If You Heard My Voice” and it’s was my first published piece with Hinshaw Music.
Since then, I’ve had nine more published and a handful more scheduled to come out next year. I have discovered that I LOVE composing and I LOVE teaching college students how to become teachers. I also have a small number of private voice and piano students who bring me joy on a weekly basis. I know how fortunate I am. I have won several composing competitions and this past spring one of my pieces was selected to be performed at the President’s Concert for Southern Region ACDA.
I am so grateful and surprised and humbled by it all.
But here’s what I now know... none of it would have happened unless I’d been forced to give up my full-time teaching position. In 2008, I thought I was giving up the opportunity to use all of my knowledge, training, and degrees, but it turns out that I still use all those things - just in a way that’s way better suited to who I am. I used to struggle and now I shine. I’m not sure I deserve all of the wonderful things that have happened, but looking back, I wouldn’t change them for the world.
I’m sharing this now because some of you may be feeling like I felt in 2008. Maybe this is too much. Maybe you dream of something better for yourself. Listen to that small voice and honor it. Transitions are hard and letting go is harder, but what if letting go means you can grab onto something exponentially better?
Have hope. If you want to talk about it, just private message me. I will listen.