Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Not quite a year ago, on June 5, 2014, I announced on this blog that I was going back to school full time to pursue what I felt was God calling me to be a teacher.

Then, on July 14, 2014, I announced on this blog that I had accepted a job teaching at Our Lady of Fatima Parish School the previous Friday, July 11.

And now it is June 2, 2015 -- our last day of school. I finished a whole school year, my first as a teacher. And it hasn't even been quite a year yet since I even had ANY idea I'd be any sort of teacher this year. Crazy, right? 

It's amazing what God will do if you just let Him. If you get out of your own way and actually bother to ask God what it is that He wants you to do. And even if you, like me, think there's no way you can do something -- you're not qualified, you have no idea what you're doing, you think you'll be a failure -- remember that God is not actually limited by what YOU can do. He's not limited by your abilities or how you think about yourself.

As one of my favorite blog writers has said -- God doesn't look at your ability as much as your availability.

And I was available. 

I spent some time after school today reading a few cards I had received from students, specifically two of my eighth graders. I was in tears, just looking around my room, when my principal walked in and asked what I was doing. I told her, and she said, "You're just reflecting." And I said exactly. That is exactly what I was doing. And we had a nice conversation about how I didn't even know her a year ago or even know I would be teaching, and we talked about how God just works in such mysterious ways. 

I told her, "Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what it is that God wants you to do. But when you do, it is such a relief."

And I don't think I realized till I said that that it absolutely is. So relieving and freeing. 

Before I left school I pulled out a notebook my friend Kay (also a middle school language arts teacher!) gave me. On the front it says "Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen." She gave it to me last May, before any of this happened. I used it to plan my first lessons last year. I smiled as I looked through it today, remembering how unsure I was about everything. 

This evening I was looking through my blog at all the posts I labeled with "teaching." Oh man, so many memories, things I'd already moved to the back of my mind. The exhaustion, the fairy tales, the fear, The Twilight Zone, the worry and doubt. But one thing that really made me smile is that one of the earliest posts I tagged with "teaching," one that I wrote before school even started, I titled "My Friend Atticus Finch." And how prophetic that would be. 

School ended today at noon, and I got home around 1 p.m. My principal asked me if I was leaving, and I told her I was almost done with my summer checklist (teachers work tomorrow and half of Thursday), and she said "Head out then!" I told her I wasn't sure what to do with myself, but that I liked to stay ahead on my graduate school work. She said no -- she said it's the last day of school, go home, lie on the couch, binge-watch Netflix. So I did. I came home to do nothing.

I was looking in the fridge for a snack, when I realized I had a bottle of champagne in there that my parents gave me when I graduated with my Master's in Journalism a year ago. It had just been sitting there for a year, waiting for an occasion. So I decided that today was the day. I had something to celebrate, so I cracked it open and toasted myself. 

I am still in denial/amazement that this school year is over, and it is summer. SUMMER. A summer with no work. That is amazing. 

I do have four classes I'm taking all summer, and I also have several things I want to do around my classroom. But I'm going to make myself enjoy this summer. Sleep in some days, enjoy some coffee on the couch, go to the pool with Melissa. I'm super excited to be visiting my Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Bobby in South Carolina with my grandmother in just a couple of weeks! I just want to enjoy the fact that I worked 70-80 hour weeks at my job most of this school year and now I have the opportunity to just have some time off in the sunshine.
 I hope you have a super sunny and happy summer! 

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