Until this week I didn’t realize that I didn’t have a direction. Now that I do, when I look back on the past year and a half I realize that a lot of my struggle had to do with not knowing where I was going in life.
I love teaching. I love my kids, even the tough ones. I love Spanish and am so glad that God gave me that skill and the job through that skill. Something always felt missing though. I felt off kilter when I started last year. Not only was I brand new but I was also at a brand new school, working with a brand new teacher and pretty much forced to come up with brand new curriculum from daily activities, vocabulary lists and the district assigned major grades.
On top of all that I still hadn’t passed (and still haven’t) the rest of the Spanish PRAXIS and I had to deal with administrators that weren’t really in my court.
I ended the year feeling very low. I was put on an improvement plan which my administrator and instructional coach warned me very much about, in a not so encouraging manner. I faced ADEPT (the formal district evaluation process) the upcoming year. I still had to pass the Spanish PRAXIS.
I spent the summer torn between enjoying my various vacations and studying both classroom management and Spanish. I constantly felt like I didn’t get enough done, ever.
Then this school year started. God has worked dramatic changes. I didn’t know how things would be with a new principal. From the point where I was they could go only up. They most definitely did.
I met with him one on one the week before teacher workdays started and left that meeting feeling so encouraged. That’s not to say that he sugar coated everything because he definitely did not. What I saw there was a clear example of Biblical leadership. He acknowledged what I had in front of me but did so in an extremely encouraging manner. Then when teacher workdays came, everyone noticed a difference. One of my coworkers commented on how everyone was excited to come to school now.
Then I got my students. I love them all, even my trouble 5th period which almost started to bring me down after everything. I’m trotting out all my new classroom management stuff, trying to be consistent but I started with a negative grace period with them and we’re just now maybe getting back to even.
On top of that I had and still have a bunch to do to prepare for ADEPT including writing, grading and analyzing diagnostic pretests for everybody.
Then came my aha! moment. Week 2 on Wednesday I was driving to school when the thought popped into my head: “What if I went back to school and got an MA in History?”
Everything seemed to fit. After all, that’s why I got my MAT in the first place, to teach history. The only other time I have ever felt like that in my life was when I got the thought to change my major in college to history. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I had to call Mom right away. I decided then that when I had the money that’s exactly what I was going to do. Everything made sense and I felt so excited. I felt like I had a purpose.
Next comes Friday. When I got home I unloaded the groceries, ran 2 miles and then sat down to check my e-mail. (I won’t get into the whole long saga about my Teachers Loan but needless to say that was one of the burdens…having half of it still hanging over my head if I lost my job.) I got an e-mail that said this:
“You do not currently have a loan balance with our organization. Your Teacher Loan had a write-off of $5,776.99 on August 16, 2010 which paid your balance in full.”
I definitely did a happy dance right then. Talk about a huge weight lifted off and a giant confirmation that I was heading in the right direction!
Last night just felt like icing on the cake. The family gathered at my grandparents to celebrate my aunt’s birthday. 2 of my cousins are checked in to BJU now and starting classes Wednesday. B’s starting her senior year while A is a freshman almost sophomore. (The remarkable thing about that is that last year he said he wasn’t going to go to college but his other plans didn’t work out.)
I talked with B for a long time about the possibility of going to BJU for my MA. I know they have a great program. (I was in the undergrad portion after all.) It’s the most affordable. I wouldn’t have to relocate and I would have a great chance of being a GA because I’m a BJU grade and I have teaching experience. I knew that I just had to balance all of that with being able to live with the rules.
Now, that got me thinking the whole night and by the time I left, here’s what I had decided.
Next fall, Lord willing, I will be a graduate student in the History Department at BJU with the goal of graduating in 2 years with an MA in History, hopefully to teach history at some level after that.
I am so excited about this journey and can’t wait to share the ups and downs as I go.