I am feeling reflective today. I have been thinking back to the many seasons in my life. There have been sweet times, joyous times, hard times, bittersweet times...times when I wanted to shout for joy and scream from utter frusteration. Sometimes these seasons intermingle.
The bible tells us we will have these seasons.
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
We are fast approaching the end of this school year, and for me it is the end of one era and beginning of a new one. It is no secret that this school year has been the toughest year of my life. This is my eleventh year of teaching. I love my job. Really it is not just a job. It is touching lives and reaching children...growing them...teaching them...loving them all of the time...liking them some of the time. It is a multifaceted life, the life of a teacher.
We received the most crushing news of our lives November 30, 2009. The news that we would lose a child. Honestly, I do not know how I even got out of bed those days. The strength that God gives is beyond any other. But, I did and I went to my "job" and tried to do my best for the students while dealing with a broken heart. I worked until the day that my sweet little man was born. Then I just couldn't go back to the classroom right away. It would have been a injustice to the children I teach. I was out for ten weeks. I strongly felt that I wanted to finish the year out with this group of children but was so torn. I struggled not knowing how I was going to walk back into that classroom. I am not the same person I was before February 21. At least I do not feel the same. I feel completely changed. But I did go back for the last four weeks.
Here we are at the end of the four weeks...the school year. It is hard to believe that this is where we are. It seems like that fateful day, November 30 was just yesterday.
When Jamie and I found out we were pregnant with Eli, we decided then (well truly I knew in my heart and Jamie agreed) that I would not, could not leave another baby to go back to work. I would stay home with our new little one and homeschool our other children. Then our world fell apart. All of our plans were changed. We were not sure what we would do now. So through much prayer we have decided to stay the course originally set.
Thus ending one era...
A season that has spanned eleven years. A season in which I have learned as much as I have taught. A season that began in a fifth grade classroom (more like a closet) at an elementary school in Montgomery, Alabama.
I will never forget my first year teaching. It was a nightmare. It was a time where I question myself daily, hourly even. What was I doing? Why was I doing it? Was I delirious, crazy? Was it alright to be called bad names to your face? Was it alright to have a twelve year old, on probabtion for stabbing someone, sitting in a fifth grade classroom. This was an insanely crazy year. To digress for a second, I did start school three weeks into the school year. The classes were too large and they took five from each class to make my class. The teachers got to choose what five they wanted to put in my class. Seriously, I am not making that up. What five from each class do you think I got? Bingo! The class straight from the pits of where Satan himself resides! Guess what? I learned A LOT from this group of students. They made me a better teacher...person.
God did not make a mistake putting me in that classroom.
The next year I moved to another school in the same district. I thought I was in heaven! I spent six really good years teaching fifth and sixth grade at that school. I made some really good friends there. Some who have been wonderful to me through our journey with Eli. Little did I know that God was preparing me even then for right now. I left that school four years ago because I needed to move closer to home. I traveled fifty miles each way everyday. With small children, that was just too much. Those of you who know me, know how much I do not like change, but that was what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do. I listened.
Four years ago, I started teaching in my hometown at the middle school. I was nervous to say the least. (Remember, I just love change, insert tongue in cheek.) I quickly learned to love it. Again, I have made some really good friends. I have been blessed enough to teach some amazing children. So, here I am about to complete the most difficult year of teaching I could have ever imagined. My last year at least for a while. I will not say I'll never return to teaching in a school...just not for a while. I will be in a classroom doing what I love...with MY children. This was not a decision we made lightly. It was difficult. I have blogged about how absolutely wonderful the people I work with have been to us this year. They have smoothed my way as much as humanly possible. So yes, for many reasons, I hate to walk away from this school. But...I know that it is what God wants me to do. I have complete peace about this decision.
...and beginning a new era.