Wednesday I told Robert that I will never teach again in the classroom.
Thursday I walked out of the interim superintendent’s office with an interview.
God Equips the Called
A few months ago Karis told me that she wanted to be back in school. This was a huge surprise for us and even more of a surprise is that I told her she could go back (after saying that I wouldn’t let my kids go back to school). It took me a little while to come to terms with the fact that she wanted to go back because it selfishly affected my view of who I am. Once I came cool with that, I started pouring even more into planning the boys’ school. We started back last week and it has been so great. I love everything that we are doing.
During all of this, I started realizing that I love who I am as a teacher. I know what I’m doing and I have started having so much more confidence in that. I’ve started focusing on doing things the way that I was trained to do and had done all the years that I was teaching in a classroom. It’s what I have felt the most comfortable doing.
I started a super long post about all of this and never published it.
Here’s some of it:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I tend to get caught up in the “shoulds” and the “what ifs” and the “not good enough” and all of the books from experts and posts from other homeschool moms. I have felt like a constant failure because I couldn’t meet any one method or philosophy or expectation as a homeschooling mom. I don’t like most of the “Christian” curriculum out there because of how things are taught (we use some but make sure to explain things to the kids). I don’t like so much of the Charlotte Mason stuff because it’s super old school, but I do love the philosophy in a lot of ways. So how do I make that work for us? Classical feels too rigid for me but I like some aspects.
I have struggled SO MUCH with curriculum because of all the info out there and all the homeschooling moms saying THIS is the one way! Or even if they don’t say it, my brain says that it must be THE way if it works so well for them!
Despite being told when I was teaching that I was a really good writing teacher (and being moved up a few grades because of that), I have struggled with writing the most in our homeschool. Do I teach that way? Most homeschooling curriculum doesn’t have you teach that way. Is it wrong then? Is it too “classroom like?” Am I “bringing the classroom home” if I teach that way? Is that so terrible? Why is this a constant thing to be avoided? I was a good teacher and my students learned a lot in a very rich way. The only reason I didn’t continue teaching was because of my anxiety and depression, but that didn’t change the fact that I was highly esteemed by my principals that I worked for (except for one).
I have tried so many of the popular homeschooling curriculums because it’s what I see works for so many. I feel like a failure because it doesn’t work for us. Truly.
I’ve tried Essentials in Writing, IEW, Brave Writer writing projects, Writing with Ease, Writing & Rhetoric, Queen language arts, just doing narration, The Good and the Beautiful, Write Source, and probably more that I’m not remembering.
So. Where do I go from here?
I might have mentioned this before, but I read most of the book Know and Tell by Karen Glass while we were camping in the Gila National Forest, and while I didn’t agree with everything, it was helpful. The downside is that she makes a person feel like her way is the only way. It caused me quite a bit of anxiety at first. The positive thing is that she gives some good ideas for things. She also suggested several books to try. I’m going to choose to focus on what was helpful and shed the rest.
I bought one called Writer’s Inc: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning , and I am so excited about it (I also got it for $10 used instead of the $40 new!). It’s basically a textbook for a high school student (probably for public school). It’s published by Write Source which is what we used for grammar and as a spine for writing when I taught. We used the Writing Workshop method (which is how I learned to teach writing even back in college), and this book is a really great spine for that. It’s definitely over their heads in some ways, so I’m picking and choosing things and also just using it as a spine, but it’s so so helpful and makes me feel super confident in what I’m doing. AND the boys know this method and feel comfortable with it (especially Levi). It’ll be cool to reuse it each year adding in more of what they teach.
I Don’t Fit into a Box
Along these lines, I have tried super hard to stick with-in a method/philosophy for almost everything. But I have found that almost no matter what it is, I change things. Because I know what I want it to look like! And that’s okay. I don’t have to stick with any ONE thing!”
I decided to run to Rocksprings to pick up some books from the library. They are doing curbside pickup only, and all I had to do was text my friend (the library director) to have her pull the books for me.
When I got there, she met me at my car and we talked for probably about an hour. Towards the end of our conversation she encouraged me to go chat with our interim superintendent, telling him our story with the school and town and just let him know that I am certified.
I asked her for his email address because I felt that would be “safer” since I was NOT intending on visiting with him that day. I was wearing cut off ripped shorts and a Friends t-shirt, even! Not planning on needing to look nice.
After that conversation I decided to go have some lunch and decide what to do afterwards. It’s not like me to just walk into the office of someone I have never met and have a random conversation. She kept encouraging it even when I asked if I was dressed appropriately enough. She said to just go in there and chat with him, basically saying that I have nothing to lose. I was feeling very out of it because of a lack of sleep all week, which made me feel unsure also.
So I went in, very nervous, and introduced myself asking if I could just chat with him for a few minutes.
I walked out over an hour later.
We talked about all kinds of things. Our experience at school there, Ethan and his challenges, teaching kids resilience, the death of my brother and my following depression and anxiety, the death of his son, how I’ve learned to manage my anxiety to be the person I want to be (and how we get to make that decision), how he’s working to improve the school, and that I’m a certified teacher. I also told him what happened last time I applied and had an interview scheduled and he didn’t show up (and he had already hired someone). Y’all after allllll of this honesty, he seemed to love me! He also thanked me for my transparency. I told him that I am not one to hide things because I am who I am and I trust God to work out the details. At the end of our conversation, he asked if I would be interested in officially interviewing for a 3rd grade position. He wrote my name down to interview and said he will call me next week to schedule it, and if I don’t hear from him by next Friday, to connect with him. I will be meeting with him, a couple of teachers, and the dean of students. They are in the process of seeking out a principal.
It’s All Coming Together
I don’t know if I will get this job. I think I have a good chance, but I obviously won’t know until the interview happens and I get a call. They may decide to go with someone else, and I’m okay with that because I’m trusting God! I have nothing to lose; I love homeschooling and I love teaching in a classroom. I trust that God has a plan for His glory and my good.
Despite not knowing, I am learning who I am as an educator and that I really want to embrace that whether I’m in a classroom or at home. I’m learning that I actually have a really good grasp on good teaching and that I’m actually very good at it. I’m learning that my past doesn’t define me and that there are always learning experiences to be had. I’m learning that lots of people think I’m a fantastic teacher and person despite how I have felt about myself all these years.
Waiting is super hard for me. That’s the hardest part of all of this. I’m a bit nervous, but the hardest part for me is what to do with myself in the waiting room.
The waiting room is a term that I have given to actively waiting. I got the term initially from a song by Shane & Shane.
It’s helpful because I don’t want to just waste time. Plus, I really don’t know how to do that.
I need to be focused on something positive and productive at all times.
It’s who I am.
I’m doing a few things:
- We are still doing some school. It’s beneficial for us in all ways including routine and just continuing to practice and learn.
- I am doing some studying of the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for 3rd grade. I know English Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies TEKS well, but I don’t know the other subjects well.
- I’m working on adding diverse books to my collection. I have been wanting to do this anyway, so I’m just getting a head start.
- I’m continuing on with life as normal: meal planning, meal prep, baking/cooking, constant organizing, nightly reading time with the fam, time with Jesus, journaling, cleaning, town days, taking walks (except these days the temps are like 103-104 so I’m staying in most of the time), drinking coffee, blogging, etc.
- I’m planning my fall garden. I wasn’t sure if I should do this if I’m going to have a job, but I have decided that I still want it! I love having food right outside my back door + Levi is going to work on it with me so I won’t be doing it alone. Robert is going to build it for me for my birthday. I’m working on ordering seeds soon. I’m doing research on each plant to see how I should plant it. I’m excited!
- I’m focusing a lot on self care! Eating well, taking my meds, drinking water, showering often, fixing my hair, keeping a clean home, staying busy, some intentional movement (I think I might do yoga today), journaling, Marco Poloing with family and friends (I need that connection), and more.
Life Goes On
The waiting room is hard, but life must go on! I have to just keep doing and being. The interview could happen next week, but I don’t know for sure. That’s not very far away, but it kinda feels like it is. Haha.
Life is Good No Matter What
I’m so grateful for what God has done in my life and for the person that He has grown me to be. I have learned so many coping skills over the years and my brain doesn’t default to the worst anymore. I handle people and situations differently than I used to. I’ve learned so much about raising kids and about teaching boys with ADHD. I have become a teacher/parent who wants to make sure my kids are exposed to diverse literature and media. I have become consistent with eating well and being content with balance. I have decided that I adore having animals. I have gotten consistently organized. I just know who I am.
One More Thing
I have realized lately that a HUGE trigger for my anxiety is being stuck in the house. My heart and soul needs to be out and about and busy. I think that maybe that’s why I’ve been extra anxious here. I definitely struggled with anxiety before we came here, but it has been different here in that it is basically continuous.
Both my dad AND Ethan have told me recently that I’m much happier when I’m in town. It has been an “aha” thing for me to realize. We’ll see what this will look like in the coming days…
Here Are Some Pics
Nightly Reading Time + Kid Checklist
What the Kids and I Are Doing
Allll of this to say: I Have Learned that Saying Never Never Works Out!