When I was younger, I wanted to be in so many different professions. I’m sure you felt the same way. When you are young, you don’t realize what’s involved in being a ballet dancer, an astronaut, a veterinarian, a model, a chef, a firefighter, a professional athlete, etc. So as a child, you can dream and dream and dream and hopefully you will find your path.
Sometimes, what you loved to do as a child becomes you career path. At first, I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I danced and danced and danced. I was always swinging my leg in this and that direction. I took tons of dance classes. I was in dance shows and recitals. I loved to hear the audience cheer and clap when I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I loved, the ultra-nervous makeup applications before the shows, the “Break a Leg”, comments before stepping onto the stage, and the drop of nausea just before the first pirouette. I loved and hated it at the same time.
However, one of my ballet teachers told me that I would never be a Prima. I was good, just not great. She said, “If the corps de ballet was where you want to be, then continue.” She didn’t see Prima in my future. That stung! Deeply hurt, I hung up my toe shoes and quickly grew a curvier body. Suddenly my interest in boys took over my interest in ballet.
I still love ballet and I still love to pirouette, but I moved on…
I wanted to be a hairdresser like my Great-Aunts Bella and Leah. They made so many people happy as they made magic happen. Their clients came into the shop looking ragged and tattered. Two hours later, they left feeling like a million bucks. Those great-aunts had the power to transform people into happy souls. I wanted that capability.
I was good with my hair and I was good at blow-drying other people’s hair. Ask my Mom, I was her resident hair blow-drier for many years. Problem was I didn’t cut hair very well. I needed to go to school to learn how to do that. At the same time, I was in school learning how to become a teacher. I didn’t want to give up those studies, so I shelfed being a hairdresser until I finished my undergraduate teacher studies.
I also wanted to be an entrepreneur. At the time of my teacher studies, my boyfriend and I owned a cookie delivery business called, “Cookie-A-Gram”. We delivered ex-large cookies with icing messages written on it. This was a fabulous business. It covered the costs of my education, car and vacations. My boyfriend and I delivered cookies all over the city and made great money and superb tips. So many people wanted to get Cookie-A-Grammed!
It all was going well until my boyfriend and I broke up. We split the business and I graduated university and became a teacher.
What to do now? Should I study to become a professional hairdresser, or continue as an entrepreneur or be a teacher?
As a child, I always played teacher and student. I loved being a teacher as I gave my friends or family lessons and assignments. I loved to play correcting and always gave star stickers. Teaching seemed to be a natural profession as it was something I did as a child. Like ballet and hairdressing.
During my teacher’s training stage, I was evaluated and supervised by a horribly mean teacher colleague. After every lesson which she supervised, I threw up. She made me so nervous with her red pen and nasty beating eyes. As part of our 10 session evaluation process, I had to sit with her while she gave me the report on my teaching performance.
Each time, she told me I should NOT be a teacher. I should find another profession. How could I be a teacher when I couldn’t spell! How could I be a good teacher when I couldn’t control a classroom full of kids? How could I be a decent teacher when the class materials, assignments or tests that I wrote had spelling errors in it? I shouldn’t waste my time and do something else.
Each report she submitted to the university had these comments. It was as though I was failing my teaching stage.
Thank goodness, my university supervising professor had a different perspective. He thought I was going to be great. He took her comments in stride. He suggested I try my best to spell better. At the time, spell checkers were being developed… my saving grace!
I did graduate with a teaching license, despite her attempts to fail me and squash my career hopes. Unlike listening to my ballet teacher and leaving that career, I stuck to being a better teacher. I felt it was in my bones. I felt teaching was destined to be. This time, I listened to me. Nobody knows you better than YOU!
Many people have stated that along their career paths, others have tried to discourage them. Telling them they are not good enough, not great enough and will never make it. So many people have been wrong as success is truly within YOU.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to that nasty, horrible, career destroying person. I listened to me and the encouragement from other professionals.
Listen to you! You know what’s best for you! You know YOU!!!
After 35 years of teaching and thousands of students later, I think I made the right decision for me. Me, that’s who I really listened to. Thank you, YOU!
Hey YOU, do you think now is a good time to go to hairdressing school? I still have it in my blood!
Hey YOU! Are YOU listening?
— By Suzanne Reisler Litwin