Last summer, I had hoped to get a full-time teaching job. I thought my dreams were going to come true when I was called for an interview on a first grade position. I knew first grade was not what I wanted, but I thought I could handle it. I thought I could still be a good teacher and that I could still learn a lot. That may have been true, but I will never know. I didn’t get the job. It hurt so bad. Everything within me ached. I felt rejected and inadequate, and I mourned almost all day as if my dreams had literally died. It felt like they had.
A friend encouraged me that we never know what the door holds in store. If we know God is an all-knowing God, if we know that He works everything for the good of those who love Him, if we know that he is a loving and worthy God, than we must also trust Him to have known the hardship that may have been behind that closed door. The perspective helped me a lot.
As a sub, I have subbed for first grade a couple of times. I realize there is an aspect that is different when you are a sub versus the real teacher, but I will not even apply for a first grade job anymore. If I had got the job last summer, I am sure I would have created an atmosphere of love that was run on a million procedures, and I am sure I would have eventually found a system that worked. But do I really want my first teaching job to be a mountain climb of behavioral issues that are compounded by a lack of experience, a lack of well maintained pre-taught lesson plans, and a lack of everything else that makes a classroom run smoothly.
A new teacher has to create her systems of organization. She has to create all her bulletin boards. She has to create all her lesson plans. She also has the meetings, grading, copying, and planning. Her plate is already full and can create long over-time hours. After a few years, it all starts to pan out as the bulletin boards she has saved get reused every year (less planning and creating time), as her lesson plans can be tweaked, or certain projects she better learns how to execute them. It takes a few years for a new teacher to get a smooth groove. Do I really want to add major behavioral challenges on top of that?
The point is that I am convinced I am not made to teach little scatter-brained first graders. I am made to teach writing to upper elementary students. I am made to urge them to be creative and celebrate their success. I am made to focus on the joys of teaching and not the struggle of teaching behavior. Hats off to all the teachers that make life easy in upper elementary, to the amazing kinder and first grade teachers that begin the process of teaching kids academically and behaviorally how to do school.
In hindsight, though it was rough when I got the rejection e-mail, I am so thankful that I was not hired. God knows me better than I know myself, and I am so glad I can trust Him with all my life. I’ll work toward what He has put in my heart and trust Him to take care of the logistics of it all.
“In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:16 NIV