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As a gifted teacher for the public school system, I was proud of working with students and encouraging their high-abilities, yet I have always secretly wanted to do something on a grander scale.
On December 27th of 2010, with only a few days left of our winter break, I went in to wake up my then 1-year old for lunch and found him having a seizure.
Never having direct experience with seizures, at the time, we did not know exactly what was going on, but he was not alert. It was, to date, the most terrifying experience I have ever been dealt, and I prayed I would never have to experience it again.
Of course, from the moment I found him so helpless, I knew I would not return to work in my classroom.
I could barely sleep as it was after coming home from the Emergency Room – constantly watching the video monitor or rocking him in my arms – I certainly could not imagine him napping at my sitters’ home (even though she would have watched him like her own).
So, I did what NO teacher with work does – I submitted my notice, effective immediately.
It was not a hard decision to stay home with my son.
It was a hard decision to give up a professional career I had worked hard to achieve.
I had a Masters degree plus twelve additional graduate hours, a gifted endorsement, and was active in several professional organizations with speaking and leadership roles. I loved being a professional working mom. It was a lifestyle change for sure!
About a month after staying home, I became restless and wanted to share some ideas of things that worked for me in my classroom with other teachers. Thus, Organized Classroom was born at the end of January 2011!
I started to collaborate by guest blogging and participating in collaborative blogs, including Teaching Blog Addict.
Suddenly other bloggers were emailing me about how I was gaining popularity so quickly and I realized that with all the time I was spending at home experimenting with lots of different types of social media and marketing tricks, I was finding what worked and what didn’t for teacher, crafting, and mommy bloggers. From that, the original Teaching Blog Traffic School was created.
I also noticed that teachers wanted a place to find all their favorite grade level specific blogs in one place, so I answered that call by starting Teaching Blog Central.
Since then, I have also started several more collaborative blogs, including Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies Too in an effort to give back to teachers for all the work they do inside and outside of the classroom each day.
When looking at trends on Pinterest, I could see that teachers LOVED to repin all the super fun make it yourself type projects for their classrooms, so I then started another collaborative blog (with far fewer contributors) called Classroom DIY. It was a hit from the beginning!
After that, I also could tell from my own product sales, from the blog posts coming out, and from conversations with readers and fans that the new National Common Core Standards were really rolling out in schools and teachers were at a loss for how to implement them, never mind finding lessons that were correlated without having to do all the work themselves. So, I grabbed up the domain names Common Core Reading Lessons and Common Core Math Lessons in an effort to be able to consolidate all those ideas I was seeing everywhere into 2 simple clearinghouses to make it easy and accessible to teachers using the CCSS.
Of course, I have some fun sites that I like to maintain when I can – and everyone seems to enjoy them even when I don’t get to them as much as I would like: Classroom Desk Arrangements, School Bulletin Boards, and Themes for Classrooms.
Today, some of those mentioned sites have been cleared away as I realized I was only one person an had no interest in employing a large staff. You can see all my current websites at CharityPreston.com.
Why my content is so valuable to teachers like you?
I do feel strongly that there was a divine intervention that horrible December day to allow me to wake up each day and absolutely love what I do, and still be able to be a work-at-home-mommy with my toddler.
It was a blessing in disguise and I am thrilled with being able to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world each day.
There is no doubt that I am able to make that larger impact – I get emails daily from readers who tell me just that.
Life is full of interesting events that can change so many things in the blink of an eye – literally.
I will continue doing what I am doing until it stops or is not fun anymore. Lucky for me, it has been a blast up to this point and I wake up every day with an eagerness to begin the day’s tasks.
You never know what might lie just over the next hill. It seems I always have something on the backburner.
I wish you all the same blessings that have been bestowed upon me!