Head of School Blog

Because Teaching Makes Her Heart Happy

Jill Singleton
The long-awaited sun has brought a joyful excitement to All Saints, and the sound of happy children’s voices can be heard throughout both campuses. It’s just magical to have the daylight last into the early evening hours, and to once again run into friends and families in the park, or along our beautiful waterfront. Spring is a time when I find myself feeling a bit lighter, and I like to take this opportunity to reflect on the things that bring me happiness and joy.

The theme for our Community Time Assemblies in March focused on “purpose” and the notion that we all have something to contribute, and that our personal lives really matter. As a community we looked at the many ways in which we each have a special purpose, and can contribute in small but meaningful ways on a daily basis. We also talked about paying attention to our special gifts and passions as the key to finding our purpose in life. I was touched by the different classroom presentations and teacher stories that were shared throughout the month, and I wanted to share one teacher’s story with you. Last week, in our Community Time Assembly, First Grade West Teacher, Rachael Beesley detailed her journey to becoming a teacher, and it reminded me just how lucky we are to have not just one – but a whole staff – of faculty and administrators who care deeply about each and every one of the children in our care. As you will read in Ms. Beesley’s story below (which she has graciously permitted me to share), teaching is much more than a job – it is a true vocation that stems from her deepest gifts and passions.

When I was a little girl around your age, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would quickly reply, “a vet!” I loved animals SO much and thought that it had to be the best job in the world. I dreamed of having my own office and spending my days with cats and dogs and birds and horses and maybe even tigers! (Tigers were my favorite animal at the time- they still are today!) I thought that doing that job would be my purpose- whenever I thought about being a veterinarian it made my heart really happy. As I got a little bit older, I realized that being a vet is not fun all the time. Sometimes, the animals who visit are very sick or are suffering from an injury. Sometimes, the animals die. I realized that I would not be quite as happy as I thought. Some days I would be sad and would probably cry a lot. I decided that as much as I loved animals, maybe a job as a vet wasn’t the best choice for me. I talked to my aunt about this and she told me “You should be a teacher. You are good at helping others.” I liked school and I liked my teachers, but I didn’t want to be a teacher. Teachers don’t work with animals. I’d have to keep searching for a job that would make my heart happy.

When I was in high school, we took an aptitude test. That’s a test where you answer questions about things that you like and things that you do well. According to that test, I would be a good racecar driver. Racecar drivers make a lot of money so I thought that maybe that could be a good job for me. Once I got my driver’s license, I realized that being a racecar driver was not the right job for me. I like to drive but I am not a very good or a very fast driver! When I told my aunt about the results of this test, she told me, “You should be a teacher! You are so patient when you help your younger brothers and sisters with homework.” I still thought that my aunt was crazy! I liked school but I did NOT want to be a teacher. Teachers do not work with animals all day. Teachers do not make a lot of money. I would have to keep looking for a job that I could do well and that would make my heart happy.
In my senior year of high school, I tried out for the play, Godspell. I was given a big role and a solo song called “Day by Day.” It was such a wonderful experience that I decided to study theater in college. “This will be a glamorous career,” I thought. “This will be a job that makes my heart happy!” I was in many plays in college and I really loved being in the theater but along the way I realized that acting was not the right job for me either. Auditions were hard and you did not always get a role. Sometimes, I was rejected. I went to visit my aunt once again and guess what she told me. That’s right. She said, “You should be a teacher! You are creative.” Teachers do not work with animals all day. Teachers do not make a lot of money. Teachers are not glamorous.

While I was still trying to decide what to do, I worked as a waitress in an Italian restaurant. I liked my job and made enough money to support myself, but it didn’t really make my heart happy. After about a year, I started to think that maybe I should be a teacher. I kept telling my aunt that I didn’t want to do it but how would I really know until I tried it? That September, I took a job as an assistant in a Pre-K classroom just to see if my aunt was right. I kept my job in the restaurant, too, in case I didn’t like teaching. Well, as it turned out, I LOVED that job. Working with children really made my heart happy. The next year I was offered a position as a head teacher in the Nursery classroom. I got my teaching certificate and later worked as a kindergarten teacher at another school. Now I am at All Saints teaching First Grade. This is my eighteenth year working in education. It is not a glamorous job. I do not make a lot of money. I don’t work with animals. But I love what I do. I am right where I belong. And I wouldn’t have ended up here if I didn’t listen to my heart- and my aunt who encouraged me to be a teacher.

Our spirituality theme for April is stewardship, and our role and responsibilities as stewards of the earth. Please join us for one of our Community Time Assemblies (check days/times with your child’s teacher), or for our Mid-Month Gathering on Tuesday, April 15, at 8:30am.

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com