Noodle Expert Mariah Moon discusses trusting her gut and the inspiration she got from her 5th-grade teacher.
Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?
If I was headed back to my student days at this point in my life, I would choose to have my 5th-grade teacher as an educator again. He is the one who inspired me to become a teacher. But he went beyond just working in the classroom — he was a teacher, a coach, and a friend. From him, I learned many important things about life and myself.
To this day, he remains a friend, and I feel like I could learn many more valuable lessons about life even now. He's a father as well, and now that I'm a mother, I would love to learn from him as a fellow parent and not just as a professional educator. I'd love to learn more about the ways of life and raising children!
What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?
Over the years, I've received a lot of advice about almost anything I can think. It has come from friends, family, and even colleagues. I've read a lot of books about improving myself and my life in different areas, but one thing that has stuck with me over the years is something my mom has said to me repeatedly: "Trust your gut!"
It's not always easy to trust that little voice inside of you, but her simple words have always stuck with me and guided me through many decisions I've made. Whether it was in the classroom or now with my own children, I do my best to trust my intuition and go with my gut feeling. I think it helps me make decisions that aren't as swayed by outside influences and are more true to myself.
Where would you send a student who hasn't traveled before?
For a student who hasn't traveled before, I would want to send her to a place she has dreamed of seeing. We all have our dreams, and I would love to help a student see one of hers come true. If it was the White House, the teacher in me would definitely be beaming. If it was mountains and snow, off to Colorado she would go. Anyplace that would encourage her to believe that anything was possible if you want it to happen!
When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?
I have been lucky to have had a very successful academic career even when I didn't love the subject matter. But there was once a science class I had absolutely no interest in at all. Academically, science was the subject that interested me the least, and that made it the one I found most challenging. For this particular class, I decided not to even try and instead just stopped going to class. When I realized that I was failing, I tried to drop it, but the deadline had passed. I paid a bit of a price in my wallet that semester because I found myself right back in that class again the following year.
I learned that sometimes you just have to buckle down and focus, even if you don't love what you're doing. This is especially true when you're working your way along a path to a greater goal!
Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?
I went into teaching because I love working with children. I also love explaining things to people of all ages and seeing that light bulb go off when they understand for the first time. Teaching became an unexpected adventure as I quickly moved into working with special education and high-risk populations. I found challenges that I wasn't sure I could handle, but with support, I learned and grew as an educator. I also had some of the most rewarding moments of my life in my classroom.
Now that I'm involved in social media and creating content on the Internet, I find myself still reaching out to help others. I write to connect and support other busy parents as we all work our way through this adventure called parenting. It's been fun, challenging at times, and fulfilling in a way I didn't know it would be. It's shown me that there is an amazing group of parents looking for support who are also ready to offer it back!