Strong Girl: Annie

Meet Annie. Annie Pettycrew.

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It started when I was 4 and ended when I was 22.

That’s 19 years, friends; approximately 30,400 hours that I spent in classrooms. No, those hours don’t even include all the late nights of school projects, sports and play rehearsals. If I tried to estimate that, it would be a number that would shock me.

When you think about how much time you spend in school, you realize that besides sleeping, it’s the activity that consumes the majority of your childhood, teen and early-adulthood years.

The schools I went to weren’t buildings. They were second homes.

And in those second homes, teaches were my role models.

I have the best memories of eating my lunch in teachers’ classrooms, summertime poetry sessions with hor d’oeuvres of frosted animal crackers, weekend retreats where teachers consoled, cared and counseled.

The time my teachers spent with me showed me that they were on my team. They invested in me, encouraged me, and helped me develop into the woman I am today.

I am so so grateful for the men and women who were my teachers.

For those who choose to become teachers, I say with confidence that their choice is a gift and service to others. Not only are they choosing to educate, they’re choosing to be surrogate parents.

Several of my friends have chosen to become teachers. Annie, one of my closest friends from high school, is one of them.

I had the chance to wander into her school the other day. A row of kiddos – runny nosed, fumbled with their velcro-strapped shoes, cooing “Ms. Annie!” to get her attention. She patiently and graciously met each of their needs. Blessings, true blessings.

Teachers? I’d say angels in disguise.

Annie is a teacher and Strong Girl who is doing things that impact all of us. But she can tell you more of her story herself…

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How does the word “movement” fit into your life, especially any changes that have happened over the last few months?

Movement is such a scary word, yet at the same time a very real part of life! I am not a huge fan of movement, especially unexpected movement. I like knowing where my life is going and I like to plan things out. This year I am teaching Kindergarten at a small family owned private school. The school year is off to a great start! However, at the end of August I was given the opportunity to interview for a teaching job in public school. That potential movement was incredibly challenging for me and I ended up not making the move. I couldn’t let go of the plan I had already laid out for myself, plus I felt an obligation to my students. Overall I think that movement is a wonderful thing, but can be very difficult to embrace at times.

What are you currently doing and what brought you there?

I teach Kindergarten at a small private school in Lake Oswego. I received my teaching license in May of 2013 and have been teaching ever since! I think I made a good decision to go back to school after getting my bachelors in 2012. Getting my teaching license has given me a rewarding and challenging career path.

What is one goal you have this year?

As a teacher, I am always thinking of ways I can grow and change, especially when it comes to my teaching craft. One goal of mine is to always become a better teacher. A less inspirational goal is to buy a new car. Sounds silly, but it is also a sort of right of passage for me. Buying a new car tells me that I have reached a point in my mid-20s where I can depend on myself financially! Having recently moved out of my parents house and into an apartment with my boyfriend, the “real” world life of money and bills is very real. However, I find satisfaction in saying, “I can do this by myself! I can buy myself a new car because I have worked hard and succeeded.”

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What is one thing you know to be true? What is your statement of faith that drives you to keep doing what you’re doing?

I know friendship and love to be true. I have been very blessed with a loving, caring, and solid group of friends that I couldn’t imagine life without! While scary to admit, I have found the love of my life in my boyfriend Antonio. I couldn’t imagine facing the day without him. He is my rock.

I wouldn’t call myself a particularly faith-filled person, but I would say I tend to live by the philosophy that everything happens for a reason and I am part of the reason for everything that happens in my life! I am a very determined and motivated person and I put 100% of myself into everything I do. I think that part of me really drives me to do what I do.

What is something new that brings Joy to your life?

I feel like a broken record, but the things that bring me joy are my students, my friends, my family, and my boyfriend. Without them it would be hard to imagine a life with any joy.

Thank you, Annie, for sharing part of your story with us! Your dedication to love, care and educate kids is so admirable and so important. The book title speaks the truth, “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” You are doing beautiful things, my friend!

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