I noticed on my dashboard that this is my 1,500th post, which makes my big news here feel nicely rounded off. Fifteen hundred posts! That's a lot of Muttonchop Mondays, meaningless fritter, gratuitous photos of Team Testosterone, tales of yetis in the Back Forty, photos of my garden and other stuff. Fifteen hundred!
When I started writing this blog I was a SAHM feeling isolated and lonely with only my (much younger at the time) kiddos to keep me company all day long. In that time I've made amazing bloggy friends and even visited several, I've gotten a couple of books published, planted a few thousand trees, achieved a second degree black belt (and caught that sword!) and completed some major home improvement projects. Life has blessed me abundantly.
That said, I've spent a lot of time in the past couple years wondering what is next for me. I've asked God to send me a clear sign--what's the best use of my skills and talents? Where do I belong? Working? Staying home? Writing? Selling organic produce?
Last spring I got called up to cover a maternity leave for a high school English teacher, which was my former occupation before having three kids. I had no current resume, my license was expired and I wasn't actively looking for any work, but I took the opportunity because it was a chance to get to know the school Mr. T would attend this fall and it was a good match since I used to teach senior English. The gig was right up my alley, and I actually enjoyed being back in the classroom.
Summer came and lots of people asked me what I would do this fall. I'd shrug and say I had no particular plan. They'd press, "Not going back to teaching? _______ really liked you as their teacher." I'd reply that I appreciated the complement, but wasn't looking for just any teaching job, so no, I had no resume to send around, wasn't taking any credits (I have a Masters plus some, what is the point?), I was letting God handle the details. I'll probably write a little, edit some and sell lettuce out of my greenhouse.
Two weeks ago the same principal called me while I was getting a haircut. The woman I'd subbed for had lined up something else, any chance I'd come back and be the senior English teacher? The course load would be English 12 and Advanced Placement Language & Composition. I already knew the staff, building, basic expectation of the job. I knew a fair number of the kids from overseeing a junior study hall last spring, and I'd developed three months of the year's curriculum. In short, the job is perfect for me and in a lot of ways I'm perfect for the job.
Five days later I passed out one of the crappiest syllabi in the history of education in a classroom that I'd rigged to functioning. The DPI had my request for an extension of my expired teaching license. I've patched together a clipboard from a board and a binder clip. I've re-purposed the classroom podium as a bookshelf out of necessity and preference. I've dumped two boxes of baking soda on the carpet to absorb the smell of sweaty feet. I'm teaching familiar concepts (the personal narrative and how to peer edit seemed like a good starting point) to a great group of twelfth graders. The class of 2015 is huge, so I have an overload (discovered two days before school started when I realized I had SIX rosters in my hand instead of FIVE). The boys outnumber the girls 3-to-1, but I live with all boys, so I can handle the maxed-out testosterone levels. I'm learning their names, most of them are called Zach or Jacob, so it's mostly a matter of designating last initials.
My adjustments include removing a few volunteer posts from my calendar and phoning a friend who cleans houses. Mr. D will have to step up more and Team Testosterone will learn responsibility and independence. Now when I say I won't look for laundry that didn't make it into the basket, I really mean it. They'll have to go around in dirty clothes or figure it out--and I'll be too busy to notice or care.
Teaching full-time is a BIG change, not at all what I expected to happen. I learned a long time ago that people make plans and God laughs while overriding their plans. I never thought I'd return to teaching high school, which shows what I know about anything. But I know this: He's got my back. He provides.
So, it's Sunday night and the laundry's done, the pantry's full and I've got a week's worth of decent lesson plans to get me through until next week. Beyond that I can only guess what will happen next.