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  • Emily Hankins

Big Steps

It all started 2 years ago. I was in my principal's office in tears. Again.

My heart breaking for these new little kindergarten children in my care. Once again overwhelmed by how to navigate the new gauntlet of challenges that had come with my new class.

And out of the blue he asked…

“What do you do for fun?”

Blink. Blink.

I was speechless.

Speechless is unusual for me. For a girl who grew up living among a busy, noisy, hustle bustle of a Boy Scout camp, speechless was never really an option. Survival demanded boisterous gumption and hootspa. As a result, my brother and I learned early to speak up for ourselves and to speak up LOUD. My mom would roll her eyes, shake her head and lovingly lament “How did I end up in such a loud family.”

So back to the little gray office. Me. Just staring at my principal.

“What are your hobbies?” he clarified.

“Teaching! Teaching is my hobby!” I exclaimed in panic.

And as I said it I knew that is was true. And sad. so. deeply. sad.

Somewhere along the line, teaching had become my whole truth and my only identity. And I didn’t want it to be. But it was. I spent all my time planning and prepping. 90% of my pintrest boards were labeled things like “Art for Kids” or “Math Masters.” Other people’s boards were filled with gardens, trips, & shabby chic projects.

So a few weeks later, when my friend Angie showed up with a mason jar of Edible Body Scrub, and said we should sell it (and other handmade things) out of a camper, I dove right in.

I had a hobby!

A few months later I had a camper.

A business licence.

A website

A craft show here, a craft show there

here a craft show

there a craft show

everywhere a craft show

Old McHankins had a craft show

EIEIOooooooo

The Happy Camper Collection was born.

Fast forward two years.

New Principal. New teaching partner. New and improved classroom. New group of kindergarteners.

I found myself in another office crying. Again. This time to my counselor.

“I don’t love it like I used to. We are only a few weeks in and I am bored, I am tired. I just don’t know if I want to teach anymore.”

In a tone of deepest concern and curiosity she replied, “It sounds like you really don’t.”

Blink. Blink.

I was speechless.

Speechless is unusual for me. For a girl who spent her adolescence on the stage, singing, dancing and sharing stories with anyone who would listen, any shyness or hesitation had been trained out of my system. I had learned to think on my feet and take big steps.

Back to the little office with me staring out the window at the Jeep billboard proclaiming “Where Will You Go?”

“Yes!” I finally managed to stammer.

And as I said it I knew that is was true. And sad. so. deeply. sad.

Somewhere along the line, I had moved on from my only identity being that of a teacher. I was more now. And wanted the change, the chance, the challenge to embrace, experience, and explore all my gifts and abilities.

Hearing someone else voice it without judgement or concern was what I needed to hear my own truth ring out.

So here I am, World, turning in my notice.

Expect big changes.

Not sure what or how… but that does not matter.

Because I got a LOUD VOICE and I take BIG STEPS.

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© 2018 Emily & Evelynn