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Man Works as a Janitor at His Former High School - One Night, He Wakes Up From a Dream That Changes His Life
former janitor returns to school - this time as a history teacher
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Man Works as a Janitor at His Former High School - One Night, He Wakes Up From a Dream That Changes His Life

Stephen Hansell spent hours pursuing his dream; it finally came true this summer.

Having a dream and manifesting a dream can be two very different things. One is passive, and the other is active, with the person in question dedicating hours of education, training, or hard work to make it happen. After hearing Stephen Hansell’s story, it’s safe to say he is undoubtedly an example of the latter kind of dreamer.

The Dream That Changed a Former Janitor’s Life

man with beard sleeping in bed
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

One day, the Texas native woke up from a dream where he was teaching in front of a classroom full of students. Although he had never thought about being a teacher, the dream made sense to him. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the US Navy, but once he was back in his hometown, he couldn’t find a job that stuck.

At one point, he even decided to work as a custodian at his former high school, Klein Oak. “I wanted to work for Klein ISD so I could do something for the kids,” Hansell said. “Anything would do, as long as I could do my part, so I happily took the custodian job.”

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And that’s when he had the dream. "It's going to sound a little cliché, but shortly after becoming a custodian, I had a dream that I was teaching,” Hansell explained to a Fox outlet.

The custodian job didn’t work out, but there was even more going on behind the scenes. Hansell had started studying to become a teacher using the state’s alternative teaching certification — a grueling gig.

“[It was] 300 hours of training, course work, and 30 hours of in-class observations, then after that, you have to take your state exams,” Hansell explained to the outlet.

What a Janitor Did to Achieve His Dream Job

Hansell isn’t quite at the teacher level yet, but he took the most significant step to become a certified teacher this August. That’s when he walked into a seventh-grade classroom at Krimmel Intermediate, where he kicked off the necessary 180 days on the job to become a certified history teacher.

“I’m excited for that first ‘lightbulb moment’ where the student doesn’t understand something, I explain it, and they finally get it,” Hansell said. “It’s going to be the coolest thing ever — knowing that I got to be a part of that and have that opportunity.”

RELATED: School Janitor Reveals a Tragic Secret - So Her Boss Plans a Surprise That Brings Her to Tears

Sure, Hansell is aware of the challenges he’ll face in the position. In his interview with Fox, he was asked whether he ever thought about some modern challenges teachers face, like low wages or school shootings.

“There's no way to not have these thoughts go through your head or whatever, but nothing will deter me,” he responded. “I'm gonna do what I can to protect these kids, and that's all that matters.”

How a Former Janitor Proves the Importance of Perseverance

man teaching next to a skeleton in class, children raising their hands

What’s so inspiring about Hansell’s story is how he persevered when feeling lost. Coming back from the Navy and unsure what he wanted to do, Hansell was willing to listen to the signs and try anything — even working as a custodian — to find his new calling in life.

It wasn’t easy, and it took hard work, but now Hansell is on the way to achieving a dream he didn’t even know he had. It’s such a great reminder for those of us who are feeling stuck at our own jobs, unclear about our futures, or in need of some inspiration. Sometimes you need to listen to the universe or take some time to honestly assess your feelings to see which path you should take next. That, and be open to actual change.

As Hansell proved, with a little hard work and determination, it is possible to get there eventually so long as you follow your dream — literally or figuratively.


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"Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true." - Lindsey Vonn

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