Originally published on 11/28/18.
HEY! If my Instagram sent you, thanks so much for checking out another part of my story. It’s still a little unbelievable to me that people care about my little classroom in the middle of nowhere, Illinois, and my little, ordinary life. To be totally honest though, even if only one of you were here, I’d still show up because it brings me joy and I’ve learned to work for me, not the opinions of others.
My name is Halee…if you didn’t know. I drink a lot of coffee, but I actually don’t love lattes. It’s difficult to make a pun with the word coffee though, so here we are. I’m currently in the midst of my second year of teaching. I graduated in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Reading. Last year, I taught 5th grade and it was a whirlwind. Maybe because it was my first year, but also probably because my kids openly enjoyed ballpark nacho cheese more than me. Love to see it. A third grade spot in my building opened at the end of last year and I (begged) politely asked to be considered for the spot.
I created a little corner of the internet (originally “The Fifth Latte” – bonus points if you were here for that, with a nod to probably having to drink 5 cups of coffee a day to make it through my first year of teaching in 5th grade) actually a little over a year ago… I remember making a separate “teacher” account when I was still student teaching because I followed so many teacher-grammers on my personal account that it was all I ever saw on my feed. True story. I didn’t officially post on that account until a few months into my first year of teaching. To be honest, I was pretty afraid and intimidated. Who was I to share my classroom? What did I have to offer the world that hasn’t already been done? We all think this sometimes, right? It’s easy to compare yourself to the perfect classrooms portrayed on Instagram…especially when you’re in the midst of your first year trying your best to just keep your head above the water and have your copies made.
Somewhere along the way between being so drained and just needing a little bit of inspiration and motivation, I finally gained the courage to share my first post. Because really, who was I not to share my story? It’s MY story. I wanted to gain inspiration and hopefully inspire others along the way as well. I love a perfect classroom photo as much as the next gal, but there just didn’t seem to be enough people sharing the hard things too.
I’m the first to admit my classroom is far from picture perfect, my lesson plans aren’t straight out of “The Wild Card,” but I still show up for my kiddos. And we all do, don’t we? That’s why we’re educators. We care immensely…maybe a little too much. We spend our own money on items for our classroom and our students, we work long days, and bring struggles home with us every night. It’s tough, but we’re fighting the good fight. Let’s talk about that more. Let’s talk about the hard things, the struggles, and the successes.
So here I am, one whole year later. Sometimes I thought I’d quit. Sometimes I’d worry people wouldn’t care, or would mock me, or disagree with me (they did, by the way, but that’s okay)…but I kept sharing my story. I truly don’t know what kind of educator (or human) I’d be if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed “share” for the first time a year ago.
I’ve wanted to start a blog for awhile…truthfully it was on my summer to do list and I never got around to it. I love to write and I thought it would be a great idea to have a place to share even more of my story and ideas, so here we are. I have a few things planned…but if you have anything in particular that you’d love to hear more about, please DM me on Instagram or leave a comment here!
Thanks for all of your kind words over the past year. I never thought I’d garner even 100 followers and somehow there are now more than 14,000 of you. (You guys, that’s more people than what live in my hometown). UNREAL. I’ve connected with so many wonderful humans, and even made a few friends along the way. Who would’ve thought!
So here’s what I’ll leave you with for today…whatever you’re afraid of, whatever you’re pushing under the rug, scared to tell someone about…do that. Do that thing. Step outside of your comfort zone. Create the account, start a blog, go to the workout class, make a new friend, start that new hobby you’ve been dreaming about forever, draft plans for your dream business. DO IT. My girl Rachel Hollis dropped some fire in her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” … “ How many of you reading this are living half lives or, worse, are a shadow of who you were truly meant to be because someone in your life doesn’t fully appreciate or understand you?” *mic drop*
That was me a year ago. Afraid of what others would think, but deep down feeling like I was made for more. You are too. We’re in this together.
I hope you’ll hang around. I have a latte to say.