Three weeks ago, my world was turned upside down! I really felt that my heart had been ripped from me, and I just could not 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 MEI started teaching when I was 30. I student taught in first, 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
Then one year, we went to a technology conference and stumbled upon Promethean. They showed us what an Activboard could do, and we were amazed. 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 1st 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 that 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 I went. I can't forgot 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 they were getting a 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, "YOU LIED to me!" ;) It wasn't easier, I worked just as hard, but it was more mental than physical!
FINDING THE ACTIVBOARD
Through the years, I ended up taking on more and more ELA sections and by the fourth year in middle school, I was phased out of technology and had ELA 7th and 8th all day long. Now, BY FAR, my last year was one of my 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. My administrator granted me that wish, and so back down I went.
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. I swear after one day back in 1st, 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 for the rest of my 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 have 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 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.
Our co-workers and friends were so supportive, but I just could not accept this move. Eventually my administrator offered me the 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 have worked with them through the years, during the summer and at night and when positions have opened up in previous years, they always encouraged me to apply. But I always felt that my place was in the classroom. The door had opened for me, but I didn't walk through it.
Even when I found out about the position, I still had hope that my administrator would change her mind. At that time, I began to really, really pray about it. Before it was more of, "OK God, I know I'm in the right place," kind of prayer. "Thanks for putting me here." But then it became, "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 placed.
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 have 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 I'm not a sales person. 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 questions, 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 was 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, so I knew He would get me through this as well.
REALLY??!!??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 FAMILYI want to thank all 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 my heart. I'm hoping now we might have more Scrabble nights and other game 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... "Oohhh, I wonder what I could do with that in my classroom?" Will I ever stop thinking about decorating the next classroom? I'm not sure. Will I ever 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!