*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Valerie, Baltimore County, Maryland
“I always knew I wanted to do something to help others. It’s just in my nature to willingly give all of myself to a specific task, idea, or person.”
Q: What is something that you are passionate about?
A: One of my biggest passions is helping others. I always knew I wanted to do something to help others. It’s just in my nature to willingly give all of myself to a specific task, idea, or person. I have been working two jobs as a full time teacher and part time bartender for about two years now. Anyone who is a teacher knows how rewarding the job is. Anyone who is a teacher in an urban area knows how challenging it is. I have so many stories you would not believe unless you are a teacher in an urban area. It is my job to teach these kids. It is my job to not only teach these kids academics, but teach them how to be a strong, independent, and a leader in their community.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
A: During the school day, I take on many roles: teacher, friend, mother, counselor, mentor, …you name it, I do it. Whatever I can do to make my students successful, you better believe I make it happen. I teach in a Title 1 school in Baltimore. I accepted the job knowing that it was going to be challenging, but nothing could have prepared me for what I got myself into. I was tested and doubted. Many times, I doubted myself. I would run to the bathroom crying, “I can’t do this. I’m not cut out for this,” but every time, I had to suck it up and head back in there, because I had all these children counting on me.
All I want to do is to make a difference and do what I love. A lot of time, my lessons turned into life lessons that my parents taught me. Some students weren’t as lucky to learn these at home. As challenging as it is, I wouldn’t trade it for any other profession.
I hope to make a positive impact on my students each day, and I hope they know that they make a positive impact on me. Teaching is not only my career, but my entire life. I remember on Mother’s Day, one of my kids asked me if I had children. I said, “Yes, 29.” I was surprised to see that they came back with flowers. These kids have changed my life, and I will remember them forever. I am lucky to have a career where I feel loved and appreciated by my students when I walk in my classroom. Sometimes they have a funny way of showing it, but when it comes down to it, they know I love them with all of my heart, and I know they love me. I have learned so much over the past two years teaching that I will carry with me in my everyday life.
Q: What do you want others to take away from your story?
A: My whole life I’ve been surrounded by strong women who fight for what is right and for what they want for their future. There are so many amazing women out there getting shit done. I only wish that women continue to stand together and speak their truth. My advice for women is to remember when times get tough, toughen up. Just know that you are stronger than you think you are. I think sometimes we forget that we can make a difference, and we can make anything happen with enough drive.
Valerie & My Lilianas would love to hear from you! Comment below!