Life as a Lone Soldier
Cycle of Independence and Self Belief
“Remind yourself it’s okay not to be perfect”
Born and raised in the Country Victorian town of Traralgon, Australia. I started my solo journey of self perfection young. Straight A’s up to Year 11, academia came easy but that could not be said about socialising. Finding my tribe was hard as I never ever felt I fitted in anywhere.
After marrying and starting my family young. The birth of my third daughter at the age of 27 made me question myself on what I wanted out of life. I knew, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. I wanted to be a teacher. My husband challenged my dedication to succeed and I rose to that challenge. Working five days a week, studying and caring for three children under the age of four, for three years I put every minute I had to finish on top.
The school bell rang and in ran the students, I had found my calling. Teaching the toughest of the toughest kids from Day 1, my determination lead my Principal at the time to question me about my obsession with perfection. I would work long hours and research every minute I had to make sure every day was the best it could be for my students. The sense of achievement and knowing I was changing lives drove my day and would not leave any stone unturned.
At this point, I started to see I was different from others. I was always problem solving, having conversations and making relationships my number one priority. Not only was I teaching children with challenging lives and circumstances, I was dealing with two of my daughters being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and an my own ongoing battle with depression. While others tell me they would have caved in, I just continued to professionally develop myself. Without realising I was taking this journey alone. No tribe, no friends, just my family and my job and that was all I thought I needed.
After being offered a chance to work on a global project and travel to China my life changed forever. I was introduced to the world of Global Education and the need for kids to be learning about the world with the world. With no idea how to use the internet or use a computer I attended a PD to teach me how to blog. Next I was experimenting and self educating myself, I built a blog and I was bringing technology into my classroom.
Over the past few years my persistence and perfection has lead me around the world. My travels have taken me from the Middle East to South America sharing my knowledge and passion for connecting classrooms around the world.
After years of being the lone solider in my school, in my life and in my mind I found my tribe. Two inspiring ladies who just got me, who battled barriers just like me, who faced challenges head on and who never give up. These ladies have changed everything about me. They made me step out of my comfort zone and let people in. Something I find really hard to do.
This week I watched my Our Global Classroom Flipgrid, created and ran from my ideas, hours of sleepless nights and creativity smash every record possible linked to Flipgrid Technology. Before my eyes 4700 students shared a book recommendation on my grid. Students from countries all over the world.
You see when you find your tribe you start trusting people and your journey becomes a reality. Without my good friend Marialice Curran who lives in the US and my Professional Learning Network globally, I would have given up on my Our Global Classroom dream a long time ago. Now I sit looking to my next challenge.
I am one of the luckiest ladies on earth, I have a beautiful family, I still have depression but manage it fantastically and I have the best friends on this earth. Friends who understand me, care about me, listen to me and I know will have my back even when the road is tough as I continue to follow my dreams.
My greatest gift of all is seeing my students, who I teach each day, learning about and with the world. The children I teach know very little about the world and have no real inspirations in life. My goal everyday is to change this attitude. My unconventional teaching style with flexible seating, students leading their learning, empathy for others and the empowerment that learning different is OK. Sees every student achieve and move personally and academically. My data always shows my teaching is making a difference.