Back to Life, Back to Reality
Well, kind of. Tomorrow the students in my district will return back to school virtually. I’ve technically been back a week (virtually), but tomorrow everything will be official, official. This is probably the most unprepared I’ve felt returning from Summer break. Thankfully, I’ll be able to do everything from the comfort of my home but there are so many unknowns. I’m nosey and like to know things before they happen, so this doesn’t sit well with me. But after talking to God and my coworkers and my friends and my family, I’ve decided it’s not going to be so bad. How do I know? Because I’ve decided it’s just not going to be.
I’ve also decided I’m going to set myself up for greatness and control what I can control. And I encourage you to do the same thing. I was always one of those people who said I could stay home by myself and be happy not going anywhere but this pandemic has shown that to be a lie. My home was/is my safe haven and comfort zone but now it’s become my workplace, and I don’t like that. I don’t have to like it but I have to deal with it, so my goal is to do the following to balance my life out a bit:
- Only do work in one area of my house
- Stop working at 6pm (I’ve already failed at this today, y’all pray for me)
- Get a schedule and keep a schedule while remaining flexible
- Schedule time to do nothing
- Read my bible
- Make spending time with family and friends a priority
- I can vent but I still have to get the job done
- Get out of the house (safely)
Whether you’ve been back at work for a while or maybe you never left or maybe you have no idea when you’ll return to work or when you’ll get another job, it’s necessary to take steps to create the life you strive to live, even under the strangest circumstances. God has full control and this pandemic is proof of that, if we needed any. He’s given us tools and people to help us navigate through uncertain times. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to stay at a standstill. Decide that today will be better than yesterday and live like it. So even as I return back to a new normal, feeling completely out of control, I’ve decided my reality won’t be so bad.
Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT)
To Teach at My School
If you’re a teacher at my school, you learn quickly that nearly half the students in your class are not wearing clean clothes. You’re no beautician but you’ve learned to twist hair and make ponytails. You know 1st graders cuss better than sailors. You know some students will tear up your classroom in the morning then ask you for a hug in the afternoon. You know there is a child who shows up to school like it’s a part time job, only coming a few days a week. If you thought children didn’t suffer with mental health issues, some of your students have proven you wrong. Even if you didn’t grow up below the poverty line, if you teach at my school you have intimate details of what it looks like. It’s not surprising to you that some parents take your call and others don’t have a working number on file. You don’t use standardized test to measure your effectiveness in the classroom, because you know most of the 4th graders in your class are reading at a 2nd grade level and you’re just happy they started writing their name with a capital letter. You want to forgive and forget the actions of these students who are often times just a product of their environment, but truth be told, there are some students you simply wish to forget.
You question if you’ve made a mistake by going into this profession. Every other week you contemplate turning in a resignation later, but for whatever reason, you don’t. You pray today will be better than yesterday, and sometimes it is, while other times better is far away. People tell you that just because you can’t see the difference doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. It sounds good, but it wasn’t quite what you had in mind when you signed up for this job. And as the years go on, it is painstakingly clear this is the job if you teach at this school. You could work somewhere else, but you choose here. Every day you show up, you choose this job, you choose this school, you choose this community, you choose these students. If you’re a teacher at my school and you’re not up for the job, you may in fact want to choose something else.
I went to a retirement party at the school I previously taught at and I was inspired to keep choosing teaching. It is not for the faint of heart at any school and when you choose a school in a particular area, you better be sure it’s what you want to do. I’m still figuring out the how of teaching, like how do I show love and discipline, and how do I set my expectations high while still placing them within reach. The two teachers who were celebrated at the retirement party reminded me to keep remembering “my why,” and the how will follow. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can choose my career and I choose to teach where I teach because I believe God has given me a unique ability to foster light in children no matter what kind of darkness they face. I am the light of the world and God has graced me to share that light with His children.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Light. (March 2019)