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Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…Gayle Turner

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Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…
Gayle Turner

Welcome to a special edition of Good Enough Mother Life Lessons! With school right around the corner, we thought it would be great to devote some time and space to the people who are so good to our kids.. educators! Hope you enjoy these special Life Lessons and happy school year to teacher, students AND their parents!

Are you happy at the moment?

When I wake up each morning, that’s a reason to celebrate the day. I love life and I love living it even more. I am surrounded by my 5 children and 4 grandchildren who are my gifts from God. Nine years ago, I found an incredible man who was willing to take on a slightly used mother of 5 and he allows me and encourages me to follow my heart, even though it can take me on some crazy adventures on this journey called life. Teaching for the past 27 years allows me to have a job I am passionate about and I would do for free. I don’t just teach, I educate, I inspire, and I create a safe environment that allows children to reach for the stars. Hopefully I am able to touch their lives in some small way and give them the tools they need to make a difference in the world and live the life they were meant to live. Am I happy-YOU BET I AM! Ain’t life grand!!!!!!!

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Gayle you have such an amazing life in front of you. Your drive and determination and your belief that all your dreams will come true, if you have the strength, courage and determination to chase them will carry you through this journey. The path may not always be smooth, but sometimes bumps in the road are fun if you allow them to be. Never loose site of your dreams. Believe in the possibilities and live your dreams. “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes and you can steer your life in any direction you choose-oh the places you’ll go!”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

I’ve rediscovered how to live in the moment. Everything in life has a humorous side; the challenge is to find it.  I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at you, and sometimes it seems that life is a Cy Young award winning pitcher when it comes to tossing things at you, that you don’t realize your own strength until strength is the only choice you have. Go ahead and bring it on because I have what it takes, to hit anything thrown my way.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?  

“ This old world has seen a lot of trouble. It seems like one big trouble spot. But you know, it’s not such a bad place to live in-it’s the only place we’ve got. And the folks that live here, they’re all right I guess, though we’ve sure gotten ourselves into one heck of a mess.  Everyone seems to think that the other fellow is not quite up to par. Things would be different if there were more like him-the trouble is –there are. Now I don’t go along with those that say things won’t ever change, but in this world of plenty, it does seem kind of strange that there isn’t enough of everything, for everyone to go around. Some have too little, some have too much. There’s hunger where plenty abounds.  There’s no one group to blame because we’re all in the same boat and together we’ll sink, or together we’ll float. No, I look at it this way. Inside people, all people, there’s a divine spark and it’s still burning, though the world’s getting mighty dark. It’s a spark of goodness. A spark that makes people great and we’ve got to get that spark burning hotter than any selfishness or hate. Recognize that spirit in the people of all creation and you know, you might start to see folks acting like human beings again. Who knows-they might even start to get along…”
 
Thumper once said, “If you don’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” With that thought as my guiding principle, I want to start “The Thumper Project”, a site where only the good things in life are shared. Did someone treat you especially kind? Did someone go out of his or her way for you? Maybe it was just the simple act as someone holding the door open for you-I want people to see the good that is all around them because it is there if you take the time to see.  I want people to go out and smile at people and pay them a compliment and then share with others how it felt.  Ultimately, I’d like to bring it into classroom. Children come into school with such a wide-eyed innocence. They don’t have to lose that. If we instill in them from an early age that it costs nothing to give a smile or treat one another with respect, think of the possibilities for the future.  In 24 months I see myself teaching in Africa-dreams are good for the soul. In the meantime, to quote Evilene from the Wiz “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News!”

What’s your secret to happiness?

My secret to life is no secret-laugh, smile and enjoy all that has been given you. Live life to the fullest each and every day with no regrets.  Life’s just too short not to live it up! You know what they say, smile and the world smiles with you! I refuse to make Bucket lists because that implies it’s all going to end. Instead my Wish List is long and ongoing and ever changing. When you wish, you have hope and when you have hope, you live your life instead of merely existing.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Being around children each and every day keeps me grounded. Realizing that it’s the little things-dancing the Hokey Pokey, telling Knock Knock jokes, sharing the love of a good book, finding a butterfly, getting messy, sitting on the ground playing “Duck, Duck, Goose”, giggling and then giggling some more and the most important, hugging those I love and telling them I love them each and every day are what keeps me going from one day to the next.

What’s your biggest regret?

Other than not buying stock in Microsoft at the opening bid, as cliché’ as I know it sounds, I honestly have no regrets at all as everything I have done and gone through in my life, has brought me to where I am today and I love where I am right now. Life is too short to live with “should have, would have, could haves”.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

I called my kids and asked each one of them what was the most important thing I taught them and they all said exactly the same thing- Believe in yourself and live your dreams because the as you pursue them, the bigger they become. Be yourself, be unique, be true, be honest, be humble, be loyal and most of all be happy.  Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass-it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I am working on giving myself permission to be a beginner at times. Every journey starts with that first single step and everyone has to start somewhere. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own enthusiasm that I tend to dive right in not realizing that I’m in the deep end of the pool without a floatie in site. I’m slowly learning to look before I leap.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I am proud that I have been able to touch the lives of so many children, to instill in them a sense of pride and confidence and help them find the inner strength it takes to believe in themselves and the courage it takes to reach for the stars. I am proud to know that I’ve been able to create an environment in my classroom where I know my students can feel comfortable, confident and know what the expectations are and that I am going to help them to help themselves to reach them.  I love that I can inspire a love of learning and laughter that hopefully will carry them through their lives. There is no great gift that you can give to someone than to give yourself unconditionally to others and that is what teaching is all about.

When were you happiest?

I am happiest when I am surrounded by the love of my family and friends, listening to the sounds of laughter and giggles. As you live your life, you find that it’s the smallest of things that make you smile the most. Truthfully, how does one even begin to find the words to adequately define something so indescribable that your joy multiplies every moment in ways you never imagined?  It’s such a gift knowing that every day we can build upon this incredible foundation, conversation-by-conversation, memory-by-memory, with dreams to be realized and new worlds to explore and do it together that I am the happiest and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

What ten words best describe you?

Believer. Dreamer. Creator. Cheerleader. Motivator. Giver. Comforter. Wisher. Teacher. Most important…Mommy.

What is the best way parents can help you in the coming year?

The best way for a parent to help any teacher is to realize and understand that they are their child’s first and most important teacher. We are partners working for the same common goal-to give each and every child the foundation and building blocks that they will need in order to be successful in life. If I could ask anything of my parents it would be to ask them to experience life in the moment with their child because these moments only happen once. Don’t experience life on your smart phones or I Pads, put down your technology. Each day take the time to have a conversation and listen, really listen to your child.  Parents are the ones that set the tone in everything they say and do that will last a lifetime in the eyes of your child. It is the parent that the child looks to first and they are their child’s first and best role models. By being positive and working together we can create an environment where everyone is elevated to be more positive. It is then that dreams can be realized.  

Gayle is a lifelong educator by day and avid blogger by night at Disney Gals. Proud mommy to 5, Grammy to 4 she is blessed to share her life with an amazing man who encourages her to chase her dreams, no matter how bumpy the road or where they may lead.  When not in the classroom, she can be found following her son as he dances his way through life, or working with young performers in free nationally recognized after school children’s theater program that she founded 13 years ago.  She believes that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain. On any given day you will find Gayle skipping her way through life with a giggle and a smile knowing that today is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Believe in the possibilities….live your dreams!

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