When I began my journey into education, the push during my college years was for student teachers to create a portfolio of their teaching experiences, as limited as they were. I remember sitting in my class listening to our professor go on and on about how important these portfolios would be to our future employers, but most importantly of all - they must have a theme! I laugh about it now, considering that not one of the administrators that interviewed me asked to see it. At any rate, I tossed around a few ideas just wondering what would be the most imaginative, amazing theme - something that would really set me apart from all of the other future teachers. Again, insert laugh out loud here because you know my future job hinged on whether or not I picked the most perfect theme. (I must tell you that our professor insisted no more bears or apples...jeesh, just what did that leave?) So here I am, still tossing around ideas and venting to friends and family the way a frustrated mother/wife/college student will do when she has no clue what to do. During one of these little venting moments a friend jumped up, ran to the other room, and returned with a stack of printer paper with a beautiful monarch perched on a leaf printed on it. She looked at me and said that when she thought of me, this is what she thought of...butterflies. Fun and lighthearted. Well, I guess I had a starting point. What could I do with butterflies? A little thinking and searching lead me to a quote by Richard Buckminster Fuller: "There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly". I thought of my future students and how no matter what I would have in front of me at that very moment, their futures and possibilities would be endless! They would be my little emerging butterflies...ready to change and grow into something beautiful and amazing. A theme was born, and like when you buy a new car, suddenly everyone is driving the same thing; well, I saw butterflies everywhere. A collection seemed to sprout and before you know it, friends, family, and students gave me some sort of butterfly at every turn.
Hmmm...now Flamingos. Where do I begin? I nervously took my first teaching position in a small school as a fourth grade teacher. No pressure that two of my fourth grade teammates would have children in my room, yeah, NO PRESSURE there. Like they wouldn't quickly figure out that I had NO IDEA what I was doing, because no matter how hard you try, a college classroom will never prepare you for the real thing! As it turned out, I ended up with an amazing group of women. I would not be the teacher I am today without this group of strong mentors! Well, low and behold, this same group of women were just as fun outside of school as they were amazing in school. After teaching with them for that first year, they invited me to join them on their summer beach trip. My teammates and another group of teachers from our school drove to the beach, laughing hysterically the whole way. We make amazing memories every summer, and often throughout the school year, a phrase or look can set us off into another set of hysterical giggles. These strong, fun women had a name for themselves; they were Flamingos!
So now, my ninth year in teaching, I spend my days surrounded by Flamingos and Butterflies...and I wouldn't have it any other way!