By Lena Mattice
Everyone has dreams in their life. Some people see those dreams happen and some people do not. Some people look at those dreams as goals and some people look at those dreams as just dreams that will never be reached.
Twelve years ago, I became a schoolteacher after 14 years of being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t really want to be a teacher, but I needed to work, and I knew I needed to find a school that could teach me to be the kind of teacher that I needed to be. One night I got on my knees and asked Heavenly Father what I needed to do. I was in a devastating place in my life and could not think for myself. I knew that if I was going to change my professional life, I needed his help and guidance. I looked in the newspaper and found a couple of jobs, one being a paraprofessional for 3 months at a school that was 20 minutes away from where I lived. I thought maybe this would be a good place for me because that would help me get my foot in the door to be an educator again. They called me for an interview, and I walked into that room scared to death. When I saw the people sitting on the hiring committee, I was able to relax a little. One of the people was my husband’s uncle and another person was my supervisor from when I did my student teaching. Those two people smiled at me and gave me the courage to do the best I could in that interview.
Two weeks later I got a call from my uncle, and he asked me if I was still interested in the job. I said “yes, but I figured it was already taken because I had not heard anything.” He said it was taken but that person did not work out and they wanted to know if I wanted the job. I started that job the next day. That three months was just what I needed to get back into the teaching field. I knew God put me in that school because I needed those third-grade teachers to learn from and grow from. He gave me a boss that was loving and kind and taught me how to be better at a job I just could not find a way to be better at. The next year they put me into a 3rd grade classroom with some very hard kids. That same year I found out that our Rotary Club in our area gave an award for the teacher of distinction at every school in our county. I remember thinking, I would love to be the teacher of the year, but doubt and fear crept in and I did not think I was a good teacher at all. I had a lot of proof around me to prove to myself that I was not a very good teacher. I also had a lot of proof to prove that I was a very good teacher. One of the things I told myself was if you get that award people will think you are conceded and think you think you are better than everyone else.
That has always been a big concern to me confidence over conceit. I knew that if I ever got that award, I would have to change a lot of things. In 2019 I started telling myself that I was a good teacher. When thoughts would come to me to prove that I was not a good teacher, I would push those thoughts aside and say “NO, I’m learning to be a good teacher.”
In that year I had a persistent feeling that I needed to get my master’s degree in Reading. (When you set a goal and work towards it Ideas will come to your mind to lead you down the path you should go. Trevan and Leslie Householder talk about this in their book the “Mindset Mastery”) The pressing feeling was so scary and strong that I called my sister Cindy and asked her for help with the classes. I had not been in school for at least 20 years, and I had forgotten how to learn. That is what had me so scared! I knew that if anyone could help me get past that fear it was her. Out of the kindness of her heart she agreed to help me and together for the next year and a half she talked me through all my classes. Accomplishing that goal of getting my master’s was a huge steppingstone in reaching my goal of being a good teacher.
Fast forward to 2021 when I took the Genius Bootcamp two different times and I took the self-paced mindset mastery. I slowly started learning the difference between confidence and conceit. I started learning the steps I needed to take for success in being
a great teacher. Every year around March and April I think of the goal to be the teacher of the year. The thought came to me that this would be my year and I would be the teacher of the distinction for our school. A small amount of doubt crept in and I told that doubt that of all the years this would be the year I could get it because I was a good teacher and I accomplished so much. Idid not think much more about it for a time. In March I randomly set an inconsequential goal to receive $100.
The end April I was in another teacher’s classroom talking to her and I looked out her window and saw the Superintendent, my boss and a couple of other men standing in the hall looking for me in my room. I stepped out into the hall and said, “Can I help you”. They laughed and said we need to talk to you, but we need a classroom with kids. I did not have kids at that time because I was testing the kids one on one for end of the year testing. We walked into the closest classroom with kids in it and they presented me with the Teacher of the year award. They gave me a card with $150 in it to spend on me and my classroom. So that one small moment I received both goals.
The conceit I was afraid of did not come, instead what I want to do now is make sure every teacher in my school receives this award. Every teacher needs to know they are a good teacher. They need to be looked at as someone who can change the life of the children they teach. What I’ve learned most in that year is that Conceit focuses on only yourself when Confidence focuses on those around you. Not only that, I now want to teach other teachers how to change your mindset so that you can know you are a GREAT teacher!!
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