For the first time in many years, I did not go ‘back to school’ this year. I did not prepare my lessons, my classroom or encounter that new school year anxiety that would creep up in late July. I did return to Coppell High School but in a much different capacity.
Chris and I were asked to be the keynote speakers at the districtwide kick-off – we shared our story with over 1,000 teachers, coaches and staff at the high school where Ella and Solomon graduated. It was emotional – it hit Chris before we even started speaking and when we finished our talk, my tears started to flow.
Until this past May, I had been working two jobs – teaching Texas History in the day and going home at night to work on a start-up non-profit, The Defensive Line, that our family founded following the death of Ella. Now I’m working full time as the Chief Education Officer for TDL – it feels right to be here – training teachers to recognize when one of their students might be experiencing mental health issues, how they can have hard conversations, how to connect their students to the help they might need – we are sharing our story, turning our pain into purpose.
I’ve found it challenging not having my workday dictated by a bell schedule, but I love what I’m doing. And while I’m not in the classroom, I am still teaching.