Three weeks ago (May 9, 2015) My life turned upside down! I really felt that my heart had been ripped from me, and I just couldn’t understand why! My administrator called me in on a Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. to tell me they were moving me back up to middle school. At that moment, my world stopped, or so it seemed!
A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT ME
I started teaching when I was 30. I student taught in first grade, and knew that was the grade for me. I taught under an amazing woman, and learned so much that I couldn’t imagine myself in another grade. I ended up getting a job where I student taught, and loved
EVERY well, almost every minute of it. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, an amazing teacher was added to our first grade team. I was blessed to work with this woman for a year, and learned tons from her. But first grade takes its toll on a teacher, in my opinion. I stayed late, got there early, worked hours on end at home, and that was all WAY before TpT. (I can’t imagine if I would have found TpT in my early years – I would have never slept!) Anyway, my middle school friends kept telling me that I needed to move up… It’s so much easier, they would say..”
FINDING THE ACTIVBOARD
Then One year, we went to a technology conference and stumbled upon Promethean. They showed us what an Activboard could do, and we were mesmerized! We ended up getting an 8g grant and had Activboards installed in every classroom. After a lot of back and forth in thoughts and prayers, I moved from first grade to the lab so that I could manage the boards and help our teachers. One PROBLEM, though – I had to teach one section of 8th grade ELA. I laughed at the thought, and almost threw in the towel, figuring I would just stay in first. My administrator at the time was such an encourager, though – so off to middle school I went.
I can’t forget to mention, though, that this was an honors class! Yep – can you say, feeling inadequate? I would bet that this group of ten 8th graders were some of the smartest kids to ever go through our school, or so it seemed to me. They were so kind to me, but I know that the parents and kiddos were very disappointed that they were getting teacher with ZERO experience. It ended up being a great learning year for me, and at that point, I don’t even think I missed first grade. Go figure! But I do remember looking at my middle school friends and saying
Teaching Middle School
It wasn’t easier, I worked just as hard, but it was more mental than physical. I had to study EVERY night, and I didn’t get to do all the cutesy things that I loved… But it still was a great experience.
Through the years, I ended up taking on more and more ELA sections and by the fourth year in middle school, I was phased completely out of technology and teaching ELA 7th and 8th all day long. Now, BY FAR, my last year was one of the BEST years EVER! I was able to loop with my 6th graders, and so I knew them and they knew me. I ABSOLUTELY could not have HAND-PICKED a better group of children. We had a blast, learned tons, integrated technology LIKE A BOSS (they taught me, not the other way around) and truly bonded with my students. It was an amazing year!
But something had changed in me. Maybe it was that I had proved myself as an ELA teacher. I wasn’t the best, but I DID it and felt accomplished. I am a competitor with myself (I know that sounds crazy, but I’m always trying to be better than I was before) and I guess I would have stayed in middle school until I felt that I had done all I could do to be the best I could be. That goal was met, so I asked to move back down to first grade. My administrator granted me that wish, and so back down I went.
Moving on up! Or Down!
I was so excited, and worked all summer getting things prepared. After the first day of school, my middle school friends came to check on me. Needless to say, I said… “OMG, what have I done?” My classroom looked as though it had thrown up paper, and I had forgotten just how dependent first graders were on their teacher. I swear after one day back in first, I felt that I had been teaching for 180 days. HAHA! It was again, a huge adjustment. After about a week, we started to groove, and I never looked back. I just knew I was going to be in first grade for the rest of my teaching career. It’s my home, I would say… and this is my last stop! HAHA! Yeah right! That’s what God was saying, I just didn’t hear Him!
BACK TO THREE WEEKS AGO…
This was my second year back in first, and I was able to work with five AMAZING women. I know that we were placed together for a reason. Through them, I learned to work with strong, dedicated, women, who ALWAYS had the children at the center of it all! We didn’t always agree, but that made us that much stronger together. I learned more in one year, than in all of my teaching career. I guess that’s one reason this move was so hard to accept. We all just knew we would be even better together the following year, but that wasn’t in the plans. Two other teammates were moved as well, so our strong little team felt as though we were being torn apart limb by limb.
Or co-workers and friends were so supportive, but I just could not accept this move. Eventually my administrator offered me a 5th grade spot, but again – my heart was broken.
On the same day that I was told I was being moved, a position at our technology department opened up. Now, I had worked with them through the years, during the summer and at night, and when they had positions open up in previous years, they always encouraged me to apply, but I always felt that my place was in the classroom. The door had been opened before, but I never walked through it.
Even when I found out about the position, I still had hope that my administrator would change her mind. At that point, I changed up my prayer!
At first I was praying – “OK God, I know I’m in the right place – please change her heart.”
Then I started praying – “OK LORD – place me where you want me.”
And with that – I was at peace. There were days when I was still angry. I had given my heart and soul to first grade, but I had to let it go. I could feel God’s hand working, and even though I didn’t understand it, I knew that I would be placed where He wanted me to be.
So I submitted my resume, and waited. I received an email stating that I had been granted an interview for a week later. That was a long week, to say the least. A dear friend sent me a prayer, and in that prayer, was this statement: “I know that first impressions matter a great deal, so help me to be the natural ‘Me” that you created, so that they can see through my nervousness and anxiety to the person you have created me to be.” It was an amazing prayer (Facing a job interview), and I prayed it several times. I had friends tell me to go in and sell myself, but that’s so hard for me. I love what I do, but talking about what I’ve done, is not a strength of mine. I had SO many people praying for me, and I am so thankful for the prayers, I needed them.
The interview was stressful, but the interviewers could not have possibly made me feel more comfortable. They were kind, gentle, encouraging, and supportive. Did I answer the questions correctly? NO… Did I know all the answers to the question? NOPE! Did I TOTALLY fail at an activity that was so cool, but threw me completely off guard? YEP! But when I left, I felt that I had been me – and if that wasn’t good enough, then I would have to hold my head up, and know that this was not the path that God chose for me. I knew I would be broken once again, but I also knew that I would be able to get through this with God’s guidance. He had already given me so many God winks, I knew He would get me through this as well!
Friday, May 22nd – I got the call I was praying for – I was offered the job! One day later, and I’m still in shock. In fact, all day yesterday, I kept waiting for a call telling me they had made a mistake. I never got that call. I’m truly so excited. I still get to do what I love, but on a different level. I now get to teach teachers and help integrate technology into many classrooms across our district. And… to top it off, I get to work with an amazing group of ladies. Again, I’m still in shock.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I will truly miss my family of 15 years. My co-workers (my friends) helped raise my three children, and for that, I’m forever grateful. They also helped grow me into the person I am today. I was honored to teach with some of the strongest, smartest, kindest, gentlest, teachers out there – and I will be forever grateful for the bonds we’ve created.
A NOTE TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
I want to thank you of my friends for the hugs, tears, and encouraging words. I also want to thank them for being sad and angry with me. You knew what I was going through, and you felt my pain. You guys are the definition of true friends.
To my family – thank you! I love you guys with all of my heart. I’m hoping now we might have more game days and nights, since I will not have (the list is too long to write – oh the duties of a teacher!)
I know I will have a huge adjustment ahead of me. Will I ever walk through a Dollar Store and not think… “Ohhhh I wonder what I could do with that in my classroom?” Will I ever stop thinking about decorating the next class. I’m not sure! Will I eve stop stalking classroom blogs? NOPE! I’m a teacher through and through, and I guess I’ll just have to look at things in a different light.
And with that, I will pack up my room, hug my children, hug my friends, and start on this new journey…
I can’t wait!
Fast forward SIX years!
It’s funny… I’m going through old blog posts, and reading this post brought up a ton of old feelings. A LOT has changed since that day many years ago.
After a year at the technology department, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cervical cancer. Who says things don’t happen for a reason? If I would have still been in the classroom, I might have put off seeing a doctor, and my outcome could have been very different.
God placed me at the technology deparment around people who not only loved me, but one special lady who had been through a very rough time with her daughter and cancer. She was so full of information, and what she didn’t know, the gals I worked with started researching. They were my backbone, they were my rocks. God gave me angels in these ladies!
So in the spring of 2016, we moved into an apartment in Houston so that I could start treatment at MD Anderson. I was so fortunate to have my daughter with me at every turn. She finished finals on a Friday, and we left Saturday morning. She sat with me through every appointment and every round of chemo and radiation. I know it was so hard on her, but she never cracked. My parents also stayed with us to be the uber drivers, and extra support. My boys and my husband came on weekends for extra support as well. It was a rough time, but God surely got us through it.
I was able to go back to work in August of 2016, and things were fine. But something in me was pushing me back to my old school. I had said that I wouldn’t go back until three people were no longer there (I know, petty – but that’s the truth). And in July of 2018 – it happened. An administrator spot opened up, I applied, and I got the job.
OK God, WHY?
My husband didn’t think it was the best move, and eventually he would say, “I told you so”. But I’m so glad I did it. For a year and a half, I worked with an amazing administrator – but ya’ll! We worked our behinds off. We got there at 6 am and didn’t leave until 5:30 on a good day. Now – I’m not going to say I’m afraid of work – because I’m not. I love to work! But doing this day in and day out was taking a toll on my body and my home life. Part of me knows why God opened this up for me – I left the first time on someone elses terms – and I think I would have always felt jipped. This school was my home, the teachers – part of my family. But when I went back, things had changed. The school had an amazing addition, and the town was blowing up! We were adding students daily, and it wasn’t the little country school that my own children had attended and I had taught at for so many years. I needed to re-evaluate my WHY. I am alive for a reason, and even though I know we were making a difference, at what cost?
So – once again, a door was opened. The gal who took my spot at the technology dept when I got the admin position left and went back to the classroom. I applied for my old spot, and got it. Crazy, right!
I wasn’t 100% sure I was making the right decision, but I had to have faith that God had my back and that He was pointing me in this direction. And then it happened – COVID. You guys… He spared me from the craziness of being in a school setting with my weakened immune system. BUT He didn’t spare me from the craziness of being in the technology dept when everything hit the fan. HAHA! Our jobs changed over night, and it was nuts. Sometimes I think chaos finds me no matter where I am. 😉
After a year of COVID – things are finally back to normal – sort of. I’ll keep you updated. See you in another 6 years, God willing!