Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

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:

  1. Only do work in one area of my house
  2. Stop working at 6pm (I’ve already failed at this today, y’all pray for me)
  3. Get a schedule and keep a schedule while remaining flexible
  4. Schedule time to do nothing
  5. Read my bible
  6. Make spending time with family and friends a priority
  7. I can vent but I still have to get the job done
  8. 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)

May 2020

Testimony Tuesday: Jasmin

Jasmin is one of those people you meet and don’t forget. You can tell she loves what she does as a teacher and even when I met her and she had what most would call an “active” class full of first graders, the love of God still flowed through her. Growing up in a Baptist church, Jasmin was always familiar with God. Her grandmother did the work of an evangelist, her mother and sister sung in the choir, and her grandfather cooked in the kitchen. At the age of seven she accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior and after leaving her hometown of Upland, CA, to pursue her undergraduate degree, she still attended church faithfully. But, it wasn’t until after college that she truly cultivated her relationship with God. She began to develop a greater understanding of who God is and who the Holy Spirit is, and the role He plays in her life. The truth of God giving up His only begotten Son so she could live became very real for Jasmin and she started to live like it.

With this new knowledge, life still happened but there was a hope Jasmin continued to cling to. After graduating from college, Jasmin longed to work in the field of juvenile justice, but bills had to be paid so she started working at a car dealership. Within three years, she worked her way up to a Senior Sales Advisor position. Although the money was good, the hours were long and she knew this was not a forever job so she started taking classes to become a teacher. Jasmin always enjoyed working with kids and felt God leading her in that direction.

After completing her Master’s degree, she got a teaching job! Or so she thought. They would later call and tell her they could not hire her as a full time teacher but she could work as substitute due to a technicality. We all know a substitute teacher and a full time teacher is very different pay. Just when it felt like everything was falling into place, her world began crashing down. Thank God for praying mothers. Jasmin called her mother, they prayed, and within the next few hours, the school called back and said they would be able to hire her as a full time teacher. Jasmin knew it was only God that worked the situation out in her favor and it served as a reminder as to how real He is.

Jasmin will be the first to tell you that she spends a lot of time at church. There were moments when she felt as though she could be doing other things with her time but she came to the conclusion that it was more fulfilling to work for Christ than to focus on the things of the world. When faced with adversity, it can become difficult to stay faithful and not grow weary, but God has shown Jasmin time and time again the power of her faith and His consistent faithfulness, so she chooses to hold on.

For fun, Jasmin likes to shop (y’all she’s one of the most stylish people I know), spend time with her god babies, and mentor. She also serves as a youth minister at her church and can often times be found there serving the people of God in some way. She enjoys traveling and going on mission trips. Jasmin is currently a 1st grade teacher in the Atlanta area. You would never know it, but she is a MAJOR introvert.

Jasmin’s heart for God’s people speaks for itself. She has no idea how much she impacts the people around her and I’m grateful I’m one of those people. When I was considering buying my own home I was nervous about taking on such a huge responsibility but I thought about Jasmin. We never had a conversation about it but I remember hearing her talk about getting some stuff done around her house and I was encouraged to move forward with the process. Thank you for shining your light Jasmin!

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)

Summer Break 2018!

Summer is here! Well at least for me it is. Although I’ll be teaching summer school, I plan to:

Fill my home with the fragrances of the million and one candles I have in my closet

Start jogging (well, we’ll see how the Lord leads me on that lol)

Plan my classroom theme for next year

Go to Texas for the first time

Write more

Read books

Go to festivals

Fall asleep on the couch

Turn off my phone

Intentionally set aside time to pray

To my fellow teachers who are also on break, invite me to brunch! To those teachers still awaiting their time, continue to fight the good fight. To the parents, I’ll keep you in my prayers. To the children, bring your parents as much joy as you brought me (said with a hint of sarcasm).  To those of you who do not have a summer break, sucks to be you.

HAPPY SUMMER BREAK

Me and the homies excited about summer! (May 2018)