18 years

in , , , by Erin Lynne, January 31, 2021

Friday, February 12 will be my last day in Jessamine County Schools after 18 years.

18 years.

The irony is not lost on me that amount of time is synonymous with adulthood.

You come into this world crying, but full of life and hope. You cannot take care of yourself, you need help from others who have been around for a while. You grow and learn and change, and one day all of those imperceptible changes have added up, and you look in the mirror and see an adult.

I first came to JCS as a tiny newborn teacher. I was a UK practicum student, who in fact was not full of life or hope (I can neither confirm nor deny that there was crying). My heart was hardened due to a poor experience with a professor who made me feel like I wouldn't be a good teacher, so even though it was 2001 and I had never heard of the Enneagram, this 1's defense mechanism was "Well, that's fine, because I don't even want to be a teacher anyway."

On day one of my placement, my cooperating teacher, PJ Burns, asked me where I wanted to teach after I graduated. I quickly told her that I was just finishing my degree because my dad wouldn't let me drop out of school, but that I had no plans to actually teach. (That went over like a lead balloon.) In the post-observation conference of my first lesson, PJ said, "I really feel called to tell you this-I have never seen someone with such a God-given gift for teaching, and it breaks my heart that you are not going to use it."

And I was basically like

Between my apathy for teaching and anger at having to drive to Nicholasville every. single. day. (oh, the tragedy of it all!), I was so annoyed with this teaching placement. For five weeks, I worked my tail off and did everything by the book (again, Enneagram 1), but my heart was not in it. After one conceptual math lesson demonstrating the area of a triangle, a student came up to me, bright eyed, and said "Miss Waggoner! I get it! I get it!" My response? "Why are you out of your seat? Sit down please."

If I only had a heart...

What I would come to realize is that God knew exactly what he was doing (DUH) and had placed me in Jessamine County Schools because PJ Burns' class at Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary was a NICU for this newborn teacher. After those five weeks, when I went back to classes at UK, I missed those kids something fierce. I realized then that my placement had breathed life into my weary soul and given me a real, live beating heart again.

I started to question my career path. The very next Sunday in church, the preacher was preaching from Romans 12 on using your gifts and said "If God has given you the gift of teaching, you need to be a teacher!"

Ok, God, I am listening!

I then knew not only that I was going to be a teacher, but I knew JCS is where I was going to do it. And other than one year in Woodford County, that’s been true. I started in Jessamine County as a fourth grade teacher, then a technology teacher, then as a digital learning coach, and currently as Director of Technology.

After being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, reflecting on his time at UK, Randall Cobb said, "Tennessee raised me, but Kentucky made me." I get that sentiment. Carter County raised me, but Jessamine County made me.

Jessamine County made me love teaching again.

Jessamine County made me a better educator.

Jessamine County made me a leader.

Full disclosure, it's not all been great. Lots of times I could say "Jessamine County made me angry" but let's leave that for a different post. 😉

Jessamine County helped me find my voice.

Jessamine County helped me grow into my own.

Jessamine County Schools is to thank for nearly every friend I have today. And not just that, these people are my family. This place is like home.

And yet there comes a time to leave home. A time to step out on your own, bags packed with the lessons you've learned, the memories you've made, and just enough audacity to think you really can make a difference in this world.

18 years seems as good a time as any.

Let new adventures begin. 💙

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