Let me tell you something

Once upon a time there was a young woman, full of hope and fueled by change. She leaned into the wind and rushed around corners. What’s next, world?

She was soaring, skimming the surface of life while flying through college, marriage, first jobs, friendships, graduate school and family. She often looked down at her reflection, thrilled by how fast she was going, always looking for something new on the horizon. Then one day the wind failed. Forward momentum slowed and then stopped. She touched down hesitantly, confused. At twenty-three she had landed in adulthood. Out of luck and heart-broken.

That was my story this year. That was my crash-landing into the real-world. No one ever told me that I could be perfectly responsible, logical and intelligent and still have my head in the clouds, but there I was: completely baffled that life had not gone my way. And when I really faced the fact that school had started without me, I had just one question. One prayer. God, why did you bring me here?

And day by day He showed me the chinks in my armor, the extent of my weakness and the depth of His love.

Let me tell you something: this story has a new title.

That’s significant. I wouldn’t dare call myself over-educated now that I’ve floundered in my own ignorance. And, friends… as of this week I can no longer call myself under-employed. If you’ve been following this story of the undaunted, relentlessly self-involved, reluctantly humbled twenty-something, you know that this is a big deal. But I really can’t tell this story without God.

I don’t know what you think about God. For the most part you’re an anonymous reader, but I can’t lie… I get the impression that somewhere out there is a skeptical heart behind a computer screen saying “Whatever, Adrie, with your God stuff.” I was totally there… okay sometimes I even drop by for a visit. But I can’t deny the incredible force of love and understanding that I have experienced this year. And it defies all logic. Changing my career path from psychology to education was a U-turn in my life that I can only attribute to God. He brought me here… Because I trusted him with my life, I spent a year and a half worth of “someday salary” to get a degree and become a certified teacher. And then, I trusted him again when I knew that the job market was impossible… my God can part seas, he can handle public sector bureaucracy. But he didn’t. He brought me to this point, let me crash and burn with a few interviews, and made me sit still for five months. I felt a lot of things during that time, especially rejected. When I look back on that time I recognize it as one of the most painful periods of my life… but somehow also the most tender. I was forced to just let go. Forced to reckon with the fact that what I am is not enough. It’s not enough. And Praise God it doesn’t have to be. Whatever God calls me to in this life it will never be more than I can bear. I was strengthened beyond measure by this quiet solitude on the island of waiting.

I can always identify God working in my life when something happens that is beyond the most amazing thing I could dream up for myself. I dream big, people! I am a dreamer… so if something happens that’s more than I can imagine for my life, I know it’s God’s will playing out. Danny. Becoming a teacher. Countless other less meaningful things that validate my trust in the ultimate Adviser. I blogged in December about the almighty gates of CPS opening just wide enough for me to sneak in! I went to that interview and sat down in front of a pleasant looking administrator who breezed through five years of my life on paper like he was scanning a fast food menu. I was prepared to wow him with my classroom management skills and anecdotes for tricky substituting situations from which I had emerged gracefully. Instead he asked me:

If I were to walk into your classroom, what would it look like?

If you were given $10,000 for your classroom, what would you do with it?

Do you consider yourself a creative person?

Do these sound like questions that would help him determine if I can simultaneously come up with a math lesson from scratch while students attempt to get away with everything they never can in the regular teacher’s presence? No, not to me either. But I answered them… and to my alarm, instead of talking researched-based teaching practices and positive reinforcement, I was talking about my interest in integrating more performance based assessments into my classroom, inquiry based learning through innovative astronomy software, and art-based learning activities.

At the end of the interview he introduced himself as an administrator at one of the most successful and longest running magnet schools in the city. A magnet school with an emphasis in fine-arts and technology where he felt I might be a great fit. He requested my resume and explained that he was interested in considering me for a full-time position… three days later I was being contacted by his school and their affiliate school. I interviewed with both (back-to-back due to Snomageddon rescheduling) and, after a brilliantly-executed demo lesson, was offered a position as a kindergarten teacher through the end of the school year in their newly-opened affiliate school. Praise God! And it gets better. This school is expanding each year, so this is a trial-run for a full-time teaching position next fall. My own classroom. I can’t tell you how significant those words are to me.

So now you know. It happened. I start Tuesday. The few people I have shared this with have said to me, “When it rains, it pours!” So true. But there’s more to grasp than that. When you’re waiting, He’s waiting too. When your soaring, He is that wind. When you’re broken, He will rebuild you stronger than before… if you ask Him. Like the binding on a book, I can’t tell this story without sharing how God has held me together this year. I am so grateful that he will be with me during the frantic and notorious “first year of teaching”… but of course I couldn’t name my blog “First Year Teacher”… I’m so much more than that.

I am elated, and rockin’ the bright pink shades.

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