Lian: Most recently I shot the role of Angie Martinez in the Tupac Biopic, “All Eyez On Me.” I’m currently working on another dream, a play based on my love for music and dance. Stay tuned, 2017!Read more
Five years ago, I began my career as an elementary school teacher. It was the highlight of my life, to not only get my own classroom, but now I was in charge of my very own students. Excitement turned into, “what did I just get myself into?” It was early October and my first day of teaching, school was well underway as it started early September. At the time, there were 3 first grade classrooms and teachers; I was now hired temporarily to be the 4th. So, our principal walks me into the first- 1st grade classroom that was currently in session, she began with a speech talking to the kids and preparing them for what was about to happen. What was about to happen? They were about to be forced out of their decorated classroom and familiar classmates that they’ve been with for about a month and being transferred to a rookie teacher, in an empty classroom and unfamiliar classmates. The principals speech got them excited to join me instead of dreading the transition, she said the right words a 1st grader needed to hear. We walked into all 3 first grade classrooms and pulled 6-7 students from each as they were over crowded, the reason I was hired.
So now, I have 20+ students following me around to the other side of the school and we come into my classroom. They take their seats at an empty desk, they look up at me and I’m just standing there looking back at them. I remember saying to myself “ok, what do I do now?” This was the first day of my teaching career and it has been nothing short of a continuous blessing from God. Every year, I receive a new batch of kids but my 1st class will always be close to my heart because they turned my fear into extreme joy and the reason why I continued with this career.
As a K-5 school, 2015 was the year my first class would be graduating and leaving us. Below is a photo (a Sandlot movie style) of myself and some of the kids from that class, that remained at our school. I did my best to hold back tears while I told them how special they were to me and thanked them for being a part of my life. These students represent my moment of clarity and I am beyond grateful that I was able to freeze this moment in time.
I am often asked why I became a teacher. The common answer could be "to inspire and change lives." This is true but it goes a bit deeper than that. The real reason was to bring an awareness to the possibilities that life has to offer. My purpose is to bring this awareness during the early stages (elementary school). The things or qualities I felt I lacked as a kid, is what I try to bring to light for these students. For example, I was a pretty shy kid and this stunted many relationships and opportunities as I got older. If I see a shy student in my class, I do my very best (strategically) to break them out of that habit by the end of the year. This is why I feel God called me to teach, to give these students a better start to life. He placed me in this specific community to have an impact on these specific kids.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
I believe we're all called to be/do something great, as Jeremiah 29:11 promises. The plan and calling is there but it's up to us to follow that plan and to answer that call. Purpose is such a beautiful thing, when you align yourself and walk with God, He will bless you with many beautiful moments such as your moment of clarity. Your moment of clarity is when you look back at all the moments that conspired to work together and lead you to where you're standing today. From this point forward, do not waste another moment missing your clarity and purpose. Take that call, take that leap. Just as in the movie Pursuit of Happiness, starring Will Smith. I always get a knot at my throat at the end scene, you know the part when he gets hired [http://yhoo.it/1IOkPlh]. He runs out of the building and starts jumping up and down on the sidewalk, that is filled with the hustle and bustle of people, he was having his moment of happiness but also his moment of clarity. Let us all strive for that moment.