An Introduction and New Beginning

February 06, 2023 | Written by: Caitlin Moore

From the beginning, Sanford has been so welcoming. I started teaching at Lee County High School fresh out of college, but it wasn’t long before I abruptly realized that at 23 I did not in fact know it all. At 23 this was scary – my first career, and I had no idea how I was going to do what I was supposed to be doing.

So, I started pulling on my emergency rope. I shadowed experienced teachers; I stayed in constant contact with my department members; I used those 21 Century research skills trying to figure out what other high school English teachers were teaching their students. But day one of teaching is when I really started learning.

In 2019, I took over the Yearbook teaching position. Again, I had no idea what I was doing – but I pooled my resources and gave it my best. I ended up falling in love with all things journalism and yearbook, and had the best relationship with all of my students during that time because we were learning together. Because I allowed myself time to learn and grow, I didn’t get caught up in the “my way or the highway” mindset. In consequence, the yearbook flourished. The students and I shared an equal authority over the book, which inevitably made them work harder on it, which led to more enthusiasm, more sales, and more money for the program.

It may come as no surprise that as a former teacher I believe that learning is lifelong. I know, shocker. However, we really do learn best from experience and those around us. I am so thankful for those who lended a helping hand and shared their knowledge with me when I was new. It’s natural to get comfortable in how you are doing something, but by allowing yourself to keep a growth mindset and reach out to others, you will naturally improve.

So as I begin this new position at the Sanford Area Growth Alliance, I’m reflecting on what has kept me in Sanford for all these years. When I think about it, it wasn’t particular job titles or even the type of work I was doing. It was the relationships, the friendships and the mentorships that Sanford so willingly offered, even when I didn’t know how much I would need it.

I am so excited for the future of Sanford – to watch it grow in some ways, but stay the same in others. The key to growing is to do it together, and to lift up others around us. This isn’t new to Sanford. Sanford’s been doing this a lot longer than I’ve been here, and look how much the community has accomplished and grown. In my new role of Communications and Event Coordinator,  I look forward to being on this learning journey with each of you, and helping the community the way that it helped me.