I think every one on the planet can point to key moments in their lives where a situation either made them or broke them or sometimes both. For some it's a death in the family, a birth, a move, a loss of a job, etc.
There were a few challenges for me in the last year, and looking back, I hope that one day I can say, "Yep, that definitely made me a better person."
Toward the end of the school year I was faced with making a decision to continue teaching at a school I dearly loved or to take a step out of my comfort zone and move to another building, job, etc. This decision was not entered into lightly. I started contemplating and researching options in February - even taking a jaunt around the state to see if some of my options were what I really wanted. I explored many opportunities that I would not have considered before and for that I think I am better. I learned a lot about myself through interview processes for different positions in different capacities. But, in the end, I chose to go to another building. Not because I was unhappy, but because I wanted to be in control of some of the change that would take place over the next year. It was a challenge to leave a family that I had grown to love like my own family and enter into a building where no one knew a thing about me, how I taught, etc. But, I did it. Has it been a challenge to learn the new expectations of a new administrator? Absolutely. Has it been a challenge to learn a new grade level? You betcha!
As a part of this challenge, I faced one of the largest challenges in my life. I've dubbed it the 2011 Blog Catastrophe. As a part of my closure, I wrote about leaving my school and moving to another. Without going through the painful details, I experienced personal attack like I had never done so before. I became terrified to share my opinion about anything, scared to write on my blog. I deleted most of my facebook friends because I didn't know who I could trust and who I couldn't. I went through weeks of phone calls to people who were upset with me, lots of tears, not eating, questioning everything I did. Honestly, I still struggle with some of these things when asked what I think about something now. This experience shook me to the core and still rattles me.
But, I learned something in it all. Beware, this may offend someone, but know that you were warned and I am not singling anyone out. I learned that it doesn't matter what you say, when you say it, how you say it, what you write - someone out there will be offended. You can NEVER make everyone happy 100% of the time, and if you spend your time trying to do that the only person who will be UNHAPPY is you. Talk about huge learning.