Teams of Tomorrow Director Linda Babbidge runs her own business, works with eight classes of bubbly preschoolers and gets to see young kids achieve new physical and academic feats almost every single day.
Four years ago, Linda’s work/life balance was not always favorable. Her schedule was more rigid and overwhelming than flexible. Linda was teaching second grade, and she knew she wanted to work with children. However, she felt she needed something different. She found the solution in her email inbox.
A few weeks into the school year, Linda’s students were at P.E. class, and she had a few moments to herself. She had been deleting TOT emails for a while, not sure of what the organization accomplished or who was behind the messages. However, this time was different. Upon checking her email, she finally decided to open her most recent email from TOT. The message was filled with questions that aligned with Linda’s situation.
“‘Are you overworked and underpaid?’ and I thought, Yes, I am!” Linda said.
After watching the information video in the email, the idea of being a TOT director remained in the back of Linda’s mind.
After attending a TOT informational weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, Linda made the decision to become part of the TOT family as a director for the Charlotte, North Carolina, area.
Linda said one of the most rewarding elements of TOT is seeing her students grow and improve. Linda said students will often believe they can’t perform a new skill because it seems challenging at first. However, after a few classes, they end up mastering the skill, she said.
One season, she received a TOT student who had just turned three years old and joined late in the year. Being a young and active preschooler, Linda said his first TOT sessions were quite testing.
“Just not focused,” Linda said of her student. “If I could get him to stand on his dot or sit on his dot, that was a great accomplishment.”
The student is now in his second TOT year, and Linda calls his improvement “amazing.” He can now stay on his dot, bounce his ball and answer questions during “brain train,” Linda said.
The boy excitedly informs others that he is on the “TOT team,” and Linda said she expects him to be ready to participate in his first halftime performance this year.
Aside from helping young children learn and succeed, Linda said she enjoys personal benefits from TOT directorship as well.
“I love the work/life balance,” she said. “I love that it allows me to do some volunteer work and be available for family and friends.”
Because Linda owns a business, the flexibility to rearrange her class schedule to take off makes family emergencies and illnesses a bit easier to accommodate. When her daughter had four wisdom teeth removed, Linda was able to travel out of state to assist her.
“I was able to be with her, and that was really important to me,” Linda said.
When Linda began TOT, she said she found that working with her students came easily to her, especially after being an educator. However, she found other parts of the job, like marketing, to be a little more difficult.
“You find what works for you,” Linda said. “ Like anything, you have to practice to get better at it.”
Linda considers her experience in being a TOT business owner as a positive part of her personal growth. She said for anyone, especially a teacher, who is thinking about changing paths, take the leap and become a TOT director.
“You’ve got to believe in yourself and be willing to take a chance,” Linda said.