Greetings, I’m Tara Berry McMahan, but only answer to Mrs. Mac or Mommy on a daily basis. I am currently 35 years young, Principal, wife and mother. I guess you could say life has thrown me some curve balls, but fortunately I was good at fast pitch and could adjust my grip quickly.
Growing up every afternoon was spent, in my room, teaching stuffed animals the curriculum learned that day in school. Looking back now at the hours spent in my classroom, I have to laugh because the animals didn’t learn a thing from all the wisdom shared. Being an educator for ten years, I now know why, other than the fact they were toys, that they didn’t increase their IQ. It didn’t matter how creative or entertaining my lesson plans were, they never applied anything that was presented to them. The desire and passion for teaching never faded, in fact, it was the only factor that got me through all my years of school.
After receiving my degree in teaching, my focus went into finding a man that would support this dream placed in my life as a child. Luckily, while getting my Master’s, I was introduced to Mr. America aka Jeff McMahan, and was married shortly thereafter. We have now been happily married for 11 years. Words can’t express my appreciation for him and the daily sacrifices he makes so that I can fulfill what sometimes seems to be a never winning battle in the field of education.
A week into our marriage, my husband surprised me with a yellow-lab puppy. At the time, I thought it was a huge mistake. Jeff just didn’t realize all the energy, money and newlywed years we were going to have to put into him before reaping the benefits of the dog we now know as, Charlie Harley McMahan. And as we tell all of our friends, it was time well spent and the best thing in our lives. He is truly the glue that keeps our family sticking together. A year later, Benjamin Joseph, a one year old black lab, was added to our family so that Charlie would have someone to play with while we were putting in those long hours at our jobs.
Three years past and our lives started to get easier. Our jobs seemed to be less of a headache and more of a joy. Our two labs seemed to be calming down and becoming companions rather than a hastle. As they say, there’s always a calm before the storm, which was exactly the case here. NIne months later, our first son, Jeffrey “Landon” McMahan, who turns 8 in September, was born. Life, as we had known it, changed forever! If you hadn’t inferred this earlier in the reading, I am a planner. So being the planner that I am, it was clear to me that we were going to have three children, back to back, in order to move quickly through this stage of chaos and unfamiliar territory! I also told you my husband supports me in all endeavors, no matter how crazy they sound at the time. So twenty months later, our second son, Brody Allen McMahan, currently 6, was delivered. Okay, I will admit, my plans didn’t seem smart at the moment, but you know me, I had to have that little girl soon. I wanted to put my focus back on my profession and not about having babies! Around 15 months later, we were at our third little miracle’s ultrasound (14 week). This was just a routine appointment to see how far in gestation daddy’s little girl was. We were so excited for this to be our last and perfect ending to the chapter in our book entitled, Our Perfect Family. We were definitely not expecting to see the first thing that popped up on the screen, especially at just 14 weeks into the pregnancy. It’s unheard of, but there it was, in plain sight for all of us to see, another penis. Here was the curve ball, and at that moment, I dropped the bat! Lost for words, I was given permission from my husband to cry it out the rest of the day. This was only because I told him to reverse the situation and envision seeing a third girl. The dreams he once had of throwing football in the back yard were gone, never to be thought of again! Six months later, our third and last son, Knox Martin McMahan was born. Knox is going through his terrible 3’s and in September will turn 4. That birthday can’t come quick enough!
My first six years of teaching were in a primary split of second and third graders. If you were to interview any of those students,(Now Highschool Graduates) they would say that there was NEVER a dull moment in Mrs. Mac’s room. It sounds like I’m bragging, so let me finish. The excitement came from me being spontaneous and constantly changing, what I had thought, were good lesson plans because of the disengaged or bored looks in the crowd. When I see those looks, it takes me back to those classes, where I would watch the clock counting down the minutes. For some reason, it killed me to be that teacher, so without batting an eye, the well planned lesson became a scientific experience for us all to solve together!
Those years were a wonderful learning experience. It was also an eye-opener of just how humble, patient, and organized an Elementary Teacher must to be in order to survive in the wild! After having three boys, all under 3 years old, primary age children were too much for me to handle all day, everyday! A co-teacher saw my dilemma and suggested that I try substituting at the Middle School just down the road. The first time the bell rang and the students dismissed themselves to their next class, I was sold! Heck, it normally took ten minutes of my lunch just to get a line quiet enough to walk down the hallway in elementary. Those next couple of months, my plan was to do whatever I could, to get my MIddle School Math Certification. Fortunately, it all worked out and Middle School Math is now the place that I call my home.
To say I’ve been teaching for ten years would be a lie. I actually have 27 years experience, but according to the Kentucky Retirement System, ten is all they count. Those first 17 years teaching stuffed animals, friends, siblings and anything that would sit still to listen, didn’t count! Can you believe that? It’s been such a blessing to always know, the purpose for my life. Even though there have been obstacles along the way, teaching has been the oxygen to keep me alive, dedicated and passionate to not settle for good, but strive for great!