Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of Teaching!

Well, I did it! I survived my first day of teaching high school in my very own classroom!

This post won't be very long, because I'm absolutely exhausted, but I wanted to make sure to count my blessings on this one.

First of all, my co-workers are amazing. Not only are they easy to relate to and so much fun to be around, but since most of us are first-year or second-year teachers, it's like we're all in this adventure together. It's good to have that kind of support and companionship, especially in a brand new job that can seem a little overwhelming.

The kids seem pretty cool. I had to throw one out today for being disrespectful, but other than that I really like my (few) students I had today. Attendance was down because a lot of our students didn't realize it was the first day of school. While that might seem odd at a traditional high school, it's not uncommon at an inner-city charter school. And while attendance was low today, the students who I did have seem to be cool and I hopefully have started a good rapport with them. That's so important with a student demographic like this, and I think I'm off to a good start! :)

Today was long, though. I got to school at about 7:10am and didn't leave until 6:30pm because I teach both day school and evening school. I know that this is going to be a challenge for me, but in the end I think it will be worth it (if for no other reason than the extra paycheck to help pay down loans). But I'm definitely exhausted after today!

At least I came home to a nice dinner that H cooked for me--he's so good at taking care of me when I'm tired or stressed. That's definitely another blessing. It's so good to have such an amazing boyfriend beside me who not only supports me in so many ways, but who also is there to help me recoup after a long day. God has truly blessed me with our relationship.

Overall, a wonderful first day of teaching! So many things to be thankful for, and while this year is probably going to be stressful and tiring, I'm excited to see what adventures it brings!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Being Thankful

Every morning, I wake up to a great woman's devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries to start my day. It's been a wonderful way for me to focus on God in the morning and really start my day off on a positive note. Often, the devotional I wake up to has a message or a verse that is so pertinent to what I've been dealing with in life, and I know that it's truly a word from God straight to me.

Today was one of those messages.

I am outwardly a confident person, but I have a lot of insecurities that I don't like to share. For the past few weeks, I can feel Satan really pulling at those insecurities and making them bigger in my mind, which is slowly tearing me apart. It's hard to focus on all the blessings and positive things that God is doing when I've got these negatives pulling at me in the back of my mind. Today's devotional talked about focusing on being thankful, even when all you can think of are the negatives, because when you thank God for what He's given you (even when it's only one or two things you can think of) He will multiply it and drive out your focus on the negatives.

Today, I am thankful for the following (and so much more than I know I've left out):
-Family who has been my biggest and loudest supporter in everything I have attempted - success or fail - and who has always driven me to try my best and reach for the stars. Also, for all the emotional/financial support they have given me over the past 6 years as I struggled through some hard times. I didn't deserve any of it, but they were always there no matter what.
-A relationship with H that I truly believe has been blessed by God. He has brought us together and continues to bless us as we focus on making Him the foundation of our life together. H is a man who is strong in his beliefs, and he supports and pushes me to be stronger in mine. God has given me a partner who wants the same things: to raise a family grounded in Christian teachings, to find a church that we can worship at together, and to support each other through love and prayer.
-A job that I still don't know how I got, but I am firmly believing God provided for me.
-A sister who I can call my best friend, no matter how much we argue or drive each other crazy.
-My church family and friends who support me through prayer, love, and fellowship.
-So so so much more!!

Today, I refuse to let Satan continue pulling at my insecurities. Darkness can not exist where God's light resides, and I am praying for more of God's light in my life so that Satan can not even get a glimpse at my doubts and insecurities. God has truly blessed me so much, and I need to focus on that and be thankful--my thoughts, my body, my heart all belong to Christ and Satan has NO power over them!! Amen!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Interview from Heaven

It's funny how God teaches me lessons...

First off, let me explain that I did finally get a teaching job! I am the newest Title 1 English 9, 10, and 11 teacher at a charter school in Toledo. How I got this job is a little more interesting than the fact that I actually got a job.

About 2 weeks ago I got a call from this particular school telling me that they had my information and would like to set up an interview for 2 days later. At the time, I was so excited for an interview that I just accepted it and said "of course I'd like an interview!" but then I started thinking--I couldn't remember applying to this school. In fact, I had never actually heard of this school. So I check the Ohio Dept. of Education website to see when I had applied to this school. According to their site, I had never applied through them. Weird. But I checked out the school and it was completely the school setting I was looking for--the right student demographic, the right location, and they were interested in me (that last one is a quality I haven't found in most of the schools I've applied for...!)

So I went to my first interview. I'm sitting there waiting to be let in, and the man who opens the door to let me into the interview says "You look familiar...why do I know you?" Turns out that when I worked at the other charter school in Toledo, I had his son as one of my students. We start chatting about my experiences at the other charter school, and next thing I know we're just chatting and swapping stories very casually. He tells me "I'm not going to ask you these interview questions, because I know you can handle these kids if you've done well at another charter school." I leave an hour later having answered 3 of 15 questions and after a lovely conversation with him about students, experience, and life in general. Could not have asked for a better interview.

Three days later, I get a call. It was the dean of the school telling me that my first interview was very successful and that they would like to invite me back for a second interview. He then followed up by telling me that he was pretty sure that if I came to this second interview, it would probably lead to a job. I'm excited, intrigued, and still confused about how they got my information. I decided that the best thing to do was to thank God for the second interview and trust Him. If they got my information for the job in one of His mysterious ways, who am I to question it.

Second interview went like this:
Principal: It's nice to meet you, I'm Mrs. _________________. Looks like you had a great first interview. Tell me about your experiences with this kind of student demographic.
Me: Blah blah blah
Principal: Great. Well here's what the position is, and here's the salary.
Me: Sounds great to me, it's definitely something I'm interested in.
Principal: Okay, great. If you'd like to accept the position now, we can start your contract paperwork and I can show you your classroom.

After I got done picking my jaw up off of the floor, I accepted the position, got to meet a few fellow teachers, and visit my classroom. I may be new to this whole interview process thing, but I guess I just assumed that in a second interview they would ask more than one question before offering me the job? Hey, I'm not complaining! This is the PERFECT school for me! The right location and the student demographic are exactly what I'm looking for and where I've really felt that God was calling me to. Now it's actually happening.

Months of praying. And worrying. And praying that I stop worrying and trust God. And then worrying that I'm not trusting or praying enough. It's been a vicious cycle. And now, when it's literally 2 weeks before I would have to start training for a teaching job and prepping my classroom, God hands me an interview that is the answer to all of my prayers and is perfect for me.

It's funny how God has spent this summer really teaching me to trust Him and believe in His promises. My favorite quote this summer has been "Embracing the promises of God begins with the unshakable certainty that God will never forget His promises." Well, the past 3 months have been a giant lesson in unshakable certainty in trusting that God doesn't forget. And now, 3 months later, I am preparing to move back to BG to the perfect apartment so that I can begin the job that God has blessed me with, also perfect.

But then again, His blessings always are...
Also, I still don't know how they got my information. God works in mysterious ways, I suppose. :)