#4 - I am a TEACHER

You inspire me 
The way you make me feel inside is amazing 
You're honesty and artistry is engaging 
You are everything I hope to be. 

Four years ago, I closed the door to professional dancing and opened the door to dance education.  It was a new journey to step into, but I was excited and eager to learn and explore. I manifested the most perfect job.  However, these past four years have exceeded every expectation I could possibly have imagined.  I founded my own dance program, at the most wonderful elementary school in East La, working with the most passionate teachers, and teaching the most talented, loving students.  I was able to create my own Hip Hop curriculum, teaching about Hip Hop history, Locking, Popping, Breaking, 90's Hip Hop, beatboxing, graffiti art, djing, emceeing, freestyling, and cyphering.  I had the opportunity to provide dance to each and every student at my school.  For four years, I worked with over 500 students, creating and sharing the thing that I loved the most, in my own classroom, complete with mirrors and a high-quality speaker system.  For any dance teacher, that is a blessing.  It never felt like work, because I loved the world that I was in.  I gave my everything to this job and they have given me everything back in return and more.  If you are not aware of what a teacher's life is like, we go above and beyond EVERY SINGLE DAY to inspire our youth.  They are the leaders of our future.  I know I was their teacher but they have given me so much and taught me so much about myself and all the most important things in life.  I'm not going to lie.  Sometimes they drove me crazy and pushed my buttons, but I've always wanted to be there for them.  They are the most loving, creative, inspiring, and hopeful little people in all the most special ways.  Every single one of them. 

This week I have been sharing my MS story with my kiddos. In all twenty classes I have shared my story, and in all twenty classes, I have cried.  I cry because of my condition.  I cry because I have to say goodbye to them.  I cry because of all the love these kids continue to show me, especially during this difficult transition. 

In a room with thirty curious eyes ranging from K-4th grade, this is what it was like: 

I have a very serious health condition called multiple sclerosis. 
It's where some of my nerves are damaged 
which makes it hard for my body to listen to what my brain wants it to do. 
Kind of like when you play video games but one of the buttons on your controller doesn't work. 
We love you so much. 
Kids: Can you get a new controller? 
You were our very first dance teacher. 
I think that happened to me one time. 
How did you get it? 
You are the best dance teacher in the whole world. 
It could be worse. 
Sí se puede. 
I hope you get better and come back to dance with us. 
I will never forget you. 
Put your picture up so we can say hi to you every day. 
We are not friends, we are family. 

It's been so difficult to tell them this story, but now we get to enjoy every single moment we have together until our last day of school.  My days are filled with endless I love you's and constant bear hugs, and I am enjoying every single ounce of it.  It's always hard to say goodbye to something so familiar and safe, and step into a world full of unknown possibilities.  If you are able to tune into your intuition and environment, you know when it's time to move on to the next journey. Although it's difficult to say goodbye, I am ready to step into my next adventure. 

You have touched my soul 
I want you to know 
You are my hero. 
You got so much soul 
to put it plain and simple 
You are wonderful.

Song on rotation: "Wonderful" by India Arie


** Written in 2017, Reposted 2022 ***

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