I have loved music since childhood, the way it becomes part of you and expresses how you feel. Growing up, all I wanted to do was play the piano. Any thought of a career involved music, and truthfully all I ever considered besides performing, was teaching piano at the college level. I certainly never pictured myself as an elementary music teacher. Sometimes life takes a funny turn…or two…or three. 😉
After college and graduate school, Gart and I married and soon started a family. I was a stay at home mom. I played piano at church, for a high school choir, and any other opportunity that came along. I also taught lessons from our home. Although I enjoyed teaching beginners, it was that rare advanced student that really made me smile. I loved the challenge of getting them to be expressive, to really think about what they were playing.
Fast-forward nine years. We moved to Tulsa, two of our three kids were in elementary school. Our youngest wasn’t particularly happy about being home without brother and sister. It was time for a change. After a few phone calls, and an interview I was on staff at a local university as an accompanist and eventually added as an adjunct piano instructor. The perfect job!
Full-time positions were rare, but six years later one finally came along. I worked as a visiting professor for one year while going through the interview process. As far as my working life goes, this was one of my best years! I loved going to work every day. My students were challenging and the results rewarding.
I went through the interview process fully expecting to be hired as a piano professor. Although the process was stressful, I was confident. And I clung to Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” After all, this was the desire of my heart. It had been for a long time.
You may have already guessed-I did not get the job. I was devastated. Many tears were shed and questions asked, but not many answers given. I continued working as an adjunct instructor the following year, despite the awkwardness, not wanting to give up my students.
I also did some accompanying at a local middle school for one of my former college students. That’s where I met Jeffrey. Jeffrey was a student with special needs who was in the middle school choir. We had an immediate connection, and I looked forward to visiting with him each class.
Once again I began sensing that need for a change. My husband suggested I apply to be a paraprofessional at the local school. His previous suggestions of this had been ignored, but not this time. My friendship with Jeffrey fueled the decision.
I applied and was hired for the following school year. After several months, I knew I wanted my own classroom. This was not logical. A pianist with two college degrees in music now had the desire to be a special education teacher? With my husband’s research and help, I was completely certified by mid-summer after my first year as a paraprofessional. Even more amazing, I was hired to teach for the upcoming school year.
The realization I’d actually been given the desires of my heart only came after my career change. I had worked as a college professor, even if only for one year. And it was a great year! The truly amazing thing is He gave my heart a new desire and then opened the doors for it to be fulfilled.
That probably sounds like the end of the story, right? It was only the beginning, as I am currently in my 5th year as an elementary music teacher (the one thing I never thought I’d be) in the same building where I taught special education. And I’m certain there are more changes to come. Who knows what is next?
Lessons I have learned through this adventure-sometimes the desires of your heart are granted in ways you never considered. Other times, your heart is given new desires. Either way, there is a plan and a purpose. As long as you are willing to trust and take a step in a new direction. Even when that step takes you where you never thought you’d go.