It’s my last evening of summer freedom; tomorrow begins the professional training for a new school year.
It’s amazing how God works, isn’t it? Sometimes He chooses to use perspective to change us. For example, my dream job was teaching 1st grade. I student-taught 1st grade and loved it. But then when it came to getting a real job, God stuck me in middle school! Middle school?!?! What was He thinking? That was 7 years ago, and today I can see that He was preparing me for the job He has chosen for me: teaching 5th grade. If I had gotten a 5th grade teaching job straight out of college, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it because my heart was set on 1st grade. But after teaching middle school for 2 years…I love 5th grade! Perspective. He used perspective in order to prepare me for where He wanted to place me, in order to teach me how to love and enjoy what He had chosen for me.
God has continued to use perspective to teach and grow me. I went through a bit of a slump over the past couple years–my initial excitement with teaching had worn off and I was getting stuck in a bit of a rut. Last year was an especially tough year. The kids were wonderful! …but I had 33 of them in my classroom. Every day felt like chaos. Every day I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and discouraged. It practically sucked the joy out of teaching for me. But I persevered and made it through. How? Because I learned to trust the Lord in a new way. I learned that His plans are higher than mine and that this situation was specifically designed for my good and His glory. I began to look for how the Lord might be using my daily challenges to make me more like Him–instead of being discouraged and dissatisfied with my circumstances.
And now I am excited for a new year. I won’t have 33 students this time around–only 18 on my list so far! But because I experienced a large class last year, this year does not seem as daunting. Before school was even out for the summer, I was already planning new strategies and procedures to implement with my new class. Off and on this summer I have been thinking about the quilting theme I chose for this year and activities to do with my students and how to decorate. I’ve been praying for my students by name. I feel renewed in my excitement to be a teacher. I want to spend my energy putting more into my classroom; I want to try new things and to grow in my teaching. Perspective. I’m on the other side of last year’s struggles, and I’m ready to start new. Of course, teaching always provides plenty of difficulties. I’m sure I will face many curve balls that I’m unaware of. But I know God will give me grace to handle them when they come. For now, I am thankful for this refreshing feeling that God has given me.