Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Stuff That Can Change in 9 Days

Nine days ago, I sat in the exact same spot I'm sitting in now typing the last entry I made to this blog. Nine days ago it was a Sunday...the Sunday right after getting out of work for the summer, the first Sunday after arriving at my mom's house, and two days before the interview that would forever change my life as I knew it. Yet, it's been nine days since I've come here to talk about it.

That's mostly because I've written so much about it on my other blog, and in my private journals. Sometimes I forget about this blog...until times like this. It's 8pm..I'm sitting outside enjoying the summer evening, and I don't have anything else to do - so I think about coming here and writing. All of my other writing seems to take place in the morning.

Dinner has been cooked - by me. The dishes have been cleaned - by me. And now it's time for me to take a few moments to myself. No children. No noise - except the sounds of nature. Just me and the blog I often forget about.

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was talking about how calming and relaxing it is being at my parent's house. That situation has changed drastically. It didn't take very long to realize that taking care of 6 children all by myself is anything but relaxing. There are a lot of responsibilities I have to take care of. I have my own children to tend to, and three children that are not my own. I cook, clean, and run all over for appointments and errands. When I'm not doing that stuff there are usually arguments or bickering that I'm tending to. Occasionally, like tonight, I shut myself away from it all and take a few minutes to myself.

The last time I wrote in this blog, I wrote about how I still didn't have a teaching job yet I had an interview lined up the following Tuesday. It was the interview in Missouri. I went to the interview. I met a principal that had never met me before. She had only seen my online application. She had only spoken to me for about 5 minutes before meeting me in person to discuss the interview. She was not alone in interviewing me, she was with her assistant principal, another elementary principal, the superintendent, and a 4th grade teacher. She asked me questions. She listened to my responses. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes. Yet, in that 30 minutes that principal saw something in me that no other principal seemed to. She was the one I've been waiting for all this time. The one principal that would give me a chance to show her what I could do - and that I was born to be in the classroom.

A miracle happened that day. After answering the questions, being myself, laying everything out on the table....she offered me the chance. She asked me to be a 4th grade teacher in her school - right there on the spot. No "thanks, we'll let you know". No "well, we're interviewing a lot of people". All I heard was "I'd like to offer you a 4th grade position". A part of me didn't even believe it was real.

For so long I've been asking for that one principal that would do that very thing. I worked for an entire school year in a school district thinking that would be the key in making some contacts and getting my foot in the door for a teaching job. I was wrong. Even though I did get an interview - it wasn't the position I was supposed to have. I wasn't supposed to get a teaching job based on who I knew... I was supposed to get a teaching job working in a school that wanted me based on what I believed, my passions, and my ideas. And all this time I've been told that wasn't possible. HA!

I have many times described how I think that everything in life happens for a reason - even when the reasons make no sense at all. There was a reason I didn't get a teaching job last year. I didn't know what it was the whole time I was searching and coming up empty. There was a reason I took a teaching assistant position. However, the reason I thought I took that job wasn't correct. You see, this whole time I just thought I didn't know the right people. I didn't have enough connections in "the teaching world" in order to get noticed by someone. I thought that the TA job was the step I needed. I was wrong.

What I've now learned is that the job I've performed this past year served a very different reason - a far more important reason. I wasn't supposed to get a teaching job last year because my ego was too big for my head. The TA job was to teach me what teamwork really meant, it was supposed to give me more experience...and the most important reason I got that job was because I was supposed to discover how much I love working with diverse, economically challenged kids. The kids that don't have much - and need much more than a teacher in front of them.

The school in Missouri has a very diverse, low-income population. Walking in to that interview I already had an upper hand because I'd spent an entire school year working in a school that had a very similar population. The job I've done the past year was to prepare me for that interview. It was to show me the type of school I wanted to work in. And that was the school that finally hired me.

So, even though the past year has been tough, I now know the reason for all the heartache, all the let-downs, all the rejection. It was because I was supposed to wait for this opportunity. And when the opportunity finally came - it all made sense...every last bit of it. If that's not a sure fire sign of believing that everything happens for a reason - then I don't know what is.

I will be at my parent's house until June 15th. At that time, my summer can start. I can start making all the preparations I need to make to walk in to my classroom and start making it my own. I can box up all of the books, posters, anchor charts, and lesson plans I've collected over the past 5 years - they will now all have a home.

This is the moment I've been waiting 25 years for - and it feels fantastic. I couldn't be more happy...and now I know that my dream has just begun.

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