This is the hardest page to write: What is too much? Too little? Just right? On the wisdom of Tara Martin I am just going to “Be REAL”….
On the home page I established where I currently am in my journey. The 2018-2019 school year will mark my 11th year of full time teaching and the fourth in my current district. I teach 9th grade Global History in a suburb of Syracuse, NY.
If you flashed back to my childhood and asked me what I was going to be, I would NEVER have said “teacher” and entering High School college wasn’t even on the radar. I was a good student and enjoyed learning but circumstances deemed college too hopeless to even contemplate. I figured I would end up working for Burger King like my parents.
In January of my 9th grade year that all changed when my Dad went into rehab for his alcoholism (hes been sober ever since!). Suddenly hope was reborn and I found what would be a driving passion for most of my life—basketball—while my Dad was away.
One of the few activities my Dad and I did when I was little was watch the Showtime Lakers on TV (my Dad is from Minnesota….where the Lakers originated) and right around the time my Dad went into rehab Magic Johnson came out of retirement and that hooked me. Those 1996 Lakers with Van Exel, Jones, Cebballos, Campbell, Divac, Peeler, Lynch, Strong …..and of course Magic are still ingrained in my memory. That Laker team will always be my favorite.
During my 10th grade year I got involved with my High School basketball program. Working a kids basketball camp the summer before my Junior year is where I discovered a love for teaching and helping others—I loved seeing the “light bulb come on”. After that experience there was only one answer to “what are you going to do?” and it was “I am going to teach and coach”.
After High School I attended Niagara University and was on their basketball staff for 6 years—four as the Head Manager during undergrad and two as basically what they now call the “Director of Basketball Operations”. I left Niagara with a BA in Secondary Social Studies Education and a Masters in School Counseling…..and a 2005 NCAA Tournament ring (Niagara’s first since 1970).
After Niagara I spent 7 of the next 8 years teaching and coaching basketball in Florida—bouncing around for better coaching opportunities. My first year I helped a program win their first county championship as an assistant, the second year I moved to a school in Orlando and helped them reach the state title game, and then was the a varsity Head Coach at two different schools. My last three years in Florida I settled in at one school and joined the men’s basketball staff at Polk State College—a Division 1 Junior College–as an assistant. I was thriving in the classroom as an educator and living a basketball dream of making it to be a college hoops coach! Life was good!
Back home things were not so good and my Dad was having some health difficulties (the big “C”) and on my summer trip home in 2013 I decided I couldn’t knowingly go back—so I called my Principal and she was amazingly understanding. I resigned and moved back home with no job.
I subbed for a year and a half before things started to come together. First I got a part time teaching position at a Middle School, which then that led to a year long Longterm Substitute position the next year…..which I then filled when it opened. I am now entering the last year of my probationary period and am hopeful that all will work out.
Things always have a way of working out when you follow your heart and do the best you are capable of doing…..and there is ALWAYS hope for a better tomorrow.