Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I'm not going to be a teacher

I bet you think this is going to be a rant against government interference and TCAPs. You might be prepared to jump up on the soap box with me, or click away in utter disgust, because enough with the complaining already.

I hate to disappoint everyone. It is kind of a specialty of mine, though.

This post has nothing to do with the current issues in Education. (And if ever there were a big pile of issues, it is surely in public education) This post is about my current life. And some changes.

As all of you are well aware, I toiled for 18 months to complete my Master's degree. Do you like how I said toiled? That is probably extreme. I think the word "toil" should be reserved for people who really have to do hard labor. Reading, doing 10,000 power point presentations and making some posters probably doesn't count as toil. Anyway. Master's degree-check.

I have mentioned before that my little blog is only a slice of my story and the reasons for my going back to school were varied and serious. Some of those things have remained the same and some have changed. (Sorry to be vague. Boundaries, and what have you.) It has been a long, twisty journey to get where I am right now, but there is so much blessing in it. So. much.

The first detour on my teaching journey came in my Reading class. Mom had just died. I was a HOT MESS and I was seriously considering dropping out.  And then I met Dr. Suzanne Harris. I mentioned this briefly in a post last summer, but Dr. Harris is an amazing woman. She overcame a horrifying childhood to become a loving teacher and now the loving Dean of the College of Education at Trevecca. I adore her. Her class was amazing. She was unique to my program in that she did not spend her teaching career teaching public school. Trevecca's education department is filled with serious warriors who gave their hearts away to kids all over Nashville. And I love them for it. Sometimes, though, my heart felt a little out of step. As the program went on, I kept coming back to the spiritual lives of children. How desperately I want them to know Jesus, and how much He loves them. I ran up against how taboo religion is in a public school.

Listen. I KNOW that there are thousands of Christian teachers who go into public schools everyday and shine their lights in completely politically correct ways. They love children and help shape their character. I totally get that.


In my own heart I keep running up against this call-this call to share Christ with the littlest ones. And that's why I loved Dr. Harris. Because she spent her career teaching in Christian schools. The words she spoke about her teaching experience were picked out just for me. And it was the first step on the journey God was taking me on to where I am today.

The second detour came about when I had to make a decision about student teaching. My cohort was set to student teach in Spring 2013. If I made the choice to do that, it meant that I would not be teaching at St. B's for the 2012-2013 school year. It also meant I would be 9 months without a job. So, I knew that option was not going to work for me. At first, I thought I would just put off student teaching until Fall 2013.

Then came the final detour. (I'm sure you are like, "Finally. Longest prelude ever!") Last fall the Children's Minister at my church approached me about taking the childcare coordinator position in her ministry. This job coordinates all the childcare workers, etc., for events that happen outside of Sunday. The job has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years and wasn't just a side gig anymore. In our earliest talks, I thought I was going to be able to do that job and continue on at the preschool. But, as time went on, it became clear there were more ways I could serve at the church, the job was going to be quite large and I had to choose.

Instead of choosing, I cried for two weeks.

Y'all.  I was not interested in leaving the preschool. St. B's had been my cleft in the rock for two solid years. After six years of living in Nashville, I had finally found "my people". I could not imagine leaving. In my heart, though, I knew it was coming. Part-time pay for full time work is just not an option for me right now. Every minute I am away from my kids has to be worth it!

After I got done crying, I started praying. I knew pretty quick what direction I was to take.

Which brings me to where I am today. I am back on a church staff. Back in Children's Ministry. I work for a fabulous woman who has amazing vision for kids. (And my own kids adore her! I won't even get started on the obsession Drew and Emily have with her two teenagers!)

I did not see this coming. Seriously. But as I'm spending my summer working on curriculum and organizing, I just feel so incredibly blessed. Only God knew those deep desires of my heart, and, for now anyway, I am getting to walk in those places. And the best part? I get to work from home. It is quite literally a direct answer to a prayer I prayed about a year ago. My time with my little ones is precious to me. Even on those days when they are not being exactly precious. I am humbled and grateful that God has given me the chance to do all the things I love, all at once.

I super love being a teacher. And I super doubt that my degree will go to waste. But we all know the normal path forward is never my path. One day, I'll look back and it will all make sense...


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why I Write a blog

I know what you're thinking.

I have no business claiming to write a blog, when I rarely, in fact, write one.

I must say I was not prepared for the emotional onslaught that would follow the "12 Days of Mom" series. When I pushed publish on that final post, I closed my computer and walked away. I thought I might be done. I have toyed with the idea of just closing her down.

My life lies in stark contrast today to the life that existed when I started this blog. And I really had to take some time to think about whether it made sense for me to keep writing here. Why was I writing? When I started this blog, it was about keeping long distance grandparents up to date on their grandson. Due to all manner of things, that sort of stopped being the purpose.

I really don't want to fill up page after page about myself. Because, hello? Narcissus, anyone? So, why would I come here to write?

I backed the thought train up and asked myself why I like to read other people's blogs. Why do I love to read about mundane, everyday things in someone else's life. Because, I really do. I prefer it to TV or magazines. It's my way to relax. But why?

All of this was swirling around in my head when it was time to read The Great Gatsby for book club. I don't know if you've heard, but there's a film version coming out. I predict a lot of gin will be consumed this month.

I started reading the book and around the three-quarter mark said out loud for the first time ever, "I simply don't like this book." I know. I KNOW.  You are shaking your head in despair and disappointment. Listen. It's not that I don't appreciate the art-the amazing writing-because I get it. What I don't like is the story.

And there it was. Finally, my mind strung together a long line of random thoughts I had been having and my soul said, "I love stories".  I can appreciate the beauty of amazing words put together in extraordinary ways. But what really gets my blood pumping, what I'm passionate about, is a person's story. (Perhaps we will discuss at another time why I don't like the story in Gatsby...but do I really need to explain it???)

What I love about people is that each of them carries with them a different story. And I want to know it. Every single detail of their story, no matter what kind of details are held within. This is how I connect with other humans. And this is why I hate small talk, and cocktail parties. Because when people are talking about the surface details of their life, I really want to say, "Tell me about yourself as a kid". I will go ahead and mention that I rarely do this. Maybe I should. I think I've also mentioned that I'm somewhat of a social nightmare. So, I think diving deep at a cocktail party is rather unwise. For me, anyway!

All of this mental workout led me back to my blog. And why I blog. Because it is my story. Granted, it is not all of my story. It never really can be, because it is rare that our own stories aren't somehow intertwined with someone else's stories. There is nothing worse than having someone else tell your story.

So, I've decided to keep coming here and writing down some of my stories. Maybe you are like me-maybe the story is what connects us. Maybe reading about my mundane life is how you will relax. Maybe something I face, or something I am wrestling with connects with you. It is the very worst feeling to believe you are facing something alone. Sharing my story might help you know that you are so not alone.

I don't know that it matters to anyone but me that I'm going to continue to blog. But it was an important conclusion for me to reach. To understand what it is I love about reading and, to follow, what I love about writing.

So, here's to some stories! You know I can't go a week without making a total fool of myself. Maybe at the very least you can get a good laugh!