In the realm of sixth-grade anxieties, where the spotlight was the stuff of nightmares and confidence was scarce, there was one question that pierced through the fear for young Deann. It was the dreaded "What do you want to be when you grow up?" moment, a rite of passage in the classroom. She had to face her fears head-on, a daunting task for a shy, overweight, glasses-clad student who would rather blend into the background.
Deann had always known the answer to that question. It was a dream that had whispered to her in the quiet moments of her childhood, a dream that she clung to like a lifeline. She took a deep breath, feeling the crisp fabric of her light blue dress against her skin, and in a bold voice, she declared, "I am Deann, and I am going to be a teacher."
The room fell silent, time stretching into an agonizing eternity. The teacher, a gruff ex-marine whom she had painfully nicknamed Mr. Dream-popper, shattered her fragile dream with his words. "Oh, that's too bad. There won't be any jobs available by the time you finish your degree. Okay, Eric, you're next..."
With those words, her dream-balloon deflated, leaving her feeling crushed and defeated. She trusted Mr. Dream-popper's wisdom; after all, he was the embodiment of the very profession she aspired to join. If he said there would be no future for teachers, then it must be true. And so, at 1:45 pm on a fateful Friday in March, her dreams of becoming a teacher were shelved, left to gather dust.
Deann followed the expected path, graduating in the top 2% of her California high school class with scholarship opportunities beckoning. Yet, she lacked direction, a true calling, and motivation. Her mother's phrase, "Words have power," echoed in her mind, a reminder of the moment Mr. Dream-popper's words had shifted her course.
Fortunately, her journey led her to a career in higher education, although not in the teaching role she had once dreamed of. Instead, she found herself in an administrative role, managing a College Career Center and helping students navigate the uncertain waters of higher education. Deann had inadvertently created a career that supported students in identifying their dreams, nurturing self-awareness, and providing them with the tools to make informed decisions. Her team understood the weight of their words, avoiding off-hand comments that could potentially alter a student's course, for, as her mother had wisely said, "Words have power."
Yet, amidst her fulfilling career, Deann's passion for teaching never truly faded. She began teaching spiritual development and metaphysical studies after her regular work hours, realizing the profound joy it brought her. Still, she never imagined it would become her primary path.
Years passed, and her administrative position demanded more and more of her time, pushing her beloved teaching further into the background. It seemed like teaching would forever remain a side note, a hobby rather than a profession.
But life has a way of surprising us when we least expect it. Less than a month after retiring from her demanding career, Deann stumbled upon a community that believed in teaching one's gift and rekindling dormant dreams. Their unwavering support and belief in her talents breathed new life into her deflated dream-balloon.
Today, Deann stands at the precipice of a new adventure. That balloon, once on the brink of collapse, is now filled with light, motivation, and inspiration. She is launching her passion project, developing courses, offering spiritual development services, and connecting with a community of wonderful individuals who share her enthusiasm.
"I am Deann," she proudly proclaims, "and I am a Teacher." Her dream, once pushed aside, has found its place in the sun, casting a light that guides others toward their own dreams, proving that sometimes, even the deflated balloons of our past can soar to new heights.