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Writing a New Chapter

Hello, my name is AuburnChick, and every day of my life is an adventure in the making.

Sometimes, multiple adventures await me.

I kind of think it’s God’s sneaky way of giving me material for my blog.

Take, for instance, last Thursday, when I drove Chicky to college.

You might remember my post about passing my Professional Ed Exam.

Well, little did I know that morning as I opened my eyes and pushed back the covers that another unplanned adventure was lying in wait for me.

Chicky had finished loading up the cars, and I was doing last-minute mom things.

My house phone rang.

My caller ID said “Out of Area,” so I started to ignore it; however, I had a strange feeling inside of my belly, so I answered it.

It was a local public high school, calling me for an interview for a reading position.

Yes, folks, I am spilling the beans.

I had been applying for teaching positions since May, when the end of my school year was drawing near.

I feel that I must explain the reasons why.

First of all, I had long hoped to secure a job in the public school system.  I realize money isn’t everything, and one does not go into this profession to become a millionaire; however, I had to be realistic.

As soon as I finished EPI, I was going to have two college loans to repay.  Chicky, as you know, was finishing her first year of college and soon to begin her second.  Rooster will be doing early graduation, and my plan is to stick him in our local state college for the Spring semester before he goes away to a four year university.

I have also been dreaming of a new yard.

Call me superficial.  I do not care.  My yard is ugly, and I even got a letter from the HOA about it.  It’s past time for this blight in the neighborhood to be fixed.

Another reason why I wanted to look for another job was the number of preps I had…a whopping five.  Granted, I was able to combine preps (unlike my friend, Jane), but it was hard, let me tell you.  The public school contract will not allow teachers to have more than three.

Mind you, I am not opposed to working hard.  I have a very strong work ethic; however, I really felt like every child’s needs could not be addressed as completely without either giving myself a heart attack or by drinking a six pack of Surge every day.

I also longed for the opportunity to work with other English teachers.  Jane, who teaches history at the school, was wonderful, but she had her own subject area to teach.  Although we supported each other as first year teachers, EPI students (she graduated the summer before), and close friends, it wasn’t enough.  Being THE English department was difficult.

In April, I began to sense that God was leading me in a different direction in my career.

And so I began applying.

I went in for one interview after another, but I was never selected as the winning candidate.

My friend and mentor, Barbara, did everything a human being can possibly do to help me out in my venture.  Bless her heart.  She texted me night and day, and we tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Let’s face it.

The economy sucks.

There are tons of people…even teachers…looking for work.

And so I continued searching and getting my heart broken.  Yet, I trusted God, His plan for my life, and His timing.

Praise the Lord that I didn’t give up.

That is how I found myself, on the day Chicky was leaving, with the phone in my hand and jaw on the floor.

They wanted me to go in for an interview that morning at 10:45.

I would be smack dab in the middle of driving to Big City to take my test.

Crap.

These positions get filled quickly once the jobs close.

The gal on the phone offered to have the principal do a phone interview.

Oh.

My.

Word.

How do you say stress?

TAKING YOUR DAUGHTER TO COLLEGE WHILE INTERVIEWING OVER THE PHONE TEN MINUTES BEFORE YOU HAVE TO TAKE A STATE EDUCATION EXAM.

Sorry for the all caps, but on the internet, we all know that all caps means you’re yelling, and when you’re stressed, that’s what you feel like doing (I would never, ever do such a thing nor lie about it either).  😉

Anyhoo…

I texted Barbara, who happens to be that school’s new reading coach (or literacy coach, if I’m saying it properly) and begged for advice.

Bless her heart, but she stepped out of her meeting, called me, and pumped me up.

That’s how I left the house.

Two hours later, I arrived in Big City, getting off of the exit where the testing facility was located.

About 300 feet from the place, my phone rang.

It was the principal.

I pulled over into some random parking lot, and we had ourselves a little interview.

The principal was so gracious.  I liked him from the moment we began speaking.

The interview ended well, but I was nervous.  This must have been the 15th interview I’d had over the course of two years (I had none last school year since I honored my contract to teach for the year).

Now, a couple of wrinkles got thrown into the mix.

I was beside myself but still trusting God in the process.

Meanwhile, I moved Chicky into her new dorm room, was wrenched away from her kicking and screaming (I do like to exaggerate sometimes…forgive me), and prepared to return home.

Still, I cried out to God.

The only way that things would possible work out was if I had more time to explore the option of the new position.  Things just weren’t as simple as they ought to have been, as is the way with the school system.  It was a complicated situation.

Teachers at my school were scheduled to start pre-planning the following Wednesday…the 10th.

I desperately wanted to have things figured out.  I just have a problem with not following through on promises, and I couldn’t do that to my school or my principal.

Saturday morning, I woke up early to get started on my long drive home.  I checked my fancy schmancy phone and saw that I had an email from my school.

Please sit down for this.

The school’s board was considering changing the start date for school…moving it from the 22nd of August to September 6th.  If this new date passed, teachers would not go back until the 17th (or 18th…I cannot remember).

Oh.

My.

Word.

I was reminded of the story in the Bible when God caused the sun to stay in place for an extra long time until the battle the Israelites were fighting was over.

This would be the time I needed.  In fact, there were two more teaching positions advertised that wouldn’t be closing until the 11th, so if things didn’t work out with this particular school, I’d even have time to get interviewed and (possibly) hired at a different school.

Everything was contingent on the start date getting delayed.

I sat, on edge, the next two days, waiting for a final decision to be made.

Monday night, I got an email.

The board had voted to change the date.

I had an extra week.

I sent the principal who had interviewed me an email explaining the situation, and he called me the next day.

To my shock, he offered me the job, with my friend, Barbara, in his office hollering, “Say yes!”

Well, I did.

Oh joy, oh joy!!!!

At first, I walked around the house in a surreal state of mind.

I kept telling myself that someone had picked me.

I guess this is how the women must feel when the “Bachelors” finally ask them to marry them at the end of each season.

I am so humbled.

God worked in an incredibly tangible way.

I am so thrilled.

Not only did I get a job in the public school system, but I get to work under my friend and mentor…a woman who won Teacher of the Year in 2006.

She’s phenomenal.

It’s icing on the cake.

I will admit that I felt badly when I went into the private school a couple of days later to tell my principal.  My heart hurt that I would be letting him down.  His face showed his disappointment.

I told him I was grateful for the opportunity to work for a gentle and respected man such as himself.  I am walking away from my first year of teaching and that school with a profound awareness and appreciation for a culture and people I had known very little about.

But, I also told him that just as God had arranged things so that I was in that school last year, God had made it very clear that I was supposed to be in this new position at the other school.

It was not an easy conversation, but I can, in all honesty, say that I feel no guilt about it.  I was ethical…honored my commitment in full to the school…and am following God in this new adventure.

I mused about this as I packed up my room…

Before Rooster came and helped me load my computer desk and bookshelf, a gal from the marketing department of the local state college came and did a photo shoot of me for an article she’s writing about EPI (have I told you about this…hmmm…I don’t think so).

During our interview a few weeks ago, I had shared my motto for my life and my classroom.  She latched onto it and will use it in the article.  Today, she asked me to write it on my board, and she photographed me standing beside it and sitting at a desk under it…

For the record, after the photography session…a very self-conscious affair…I am now ready to be on Next Top Model.  Please let the show’s producers know that I am primed and ready.

<insert wry grin>

It had been a bittersweet morning.

I truly believe that I bloomed where God planted me last year.  I grew and flourished.

He’s replanting me, though, in a place where I can settle in and let my roots take in the nourishment that new coworkers and supervising teachers (and literacy coaches) can provide.

He’s giving me a chance to serve as a model for the young minds that I, in turn, will be mentoring…urging them to stretch themselves toward the potential that they have inside.

And so I said goodbye to my classroom…

God is writing a new chapter in my life.

I, as a reader (and the newest reading teacher of “The Red School”) cannot wait to see what’s in store.

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