Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Being Moved

I believe I used the term "ranting" in my previous post, which implied a level of difficulty in my first year teaching.  If I had pursued teaching just after college graduation 20 years ago, my first year would not have been easy.  Becoming a first year teacher at the age of 40, with no time in the summer to prepare, while taking 2 master's classes from MSU, with 5 kids at home, a husband who coaches football, during cross country season, during play season... can you feel my level of stress rising?? It was not an easy year, BUT I loved the students and teaching.

In spite of being stress-paralyzed for the first semester, I finally began to figure things out.  Unfortunately, it was after spring break when I felt as though I was getting a firm grasp on teaching standards and figuring out a way to combine the goals of test performance with helping students discover a love for reading. (Or at least begin to acknowledge that books aren't so bad after all!)

I began to plan my next year with much zeal and enthusiasm, knowing that I was going to make it work the second time around.  I WOULD become a good teacher, and I had lost sleep in order to figure out how to make it happen.

The first week of summer, I received a text calling me into the office.  I was told that I am going to be teaching sixth grade science and social studies instead of ELA this year.

Being moved out of a tested subject area when you have expressed a desire to remain is regarded among teachers as a demotion of sorts. Similar to being moved from varsity to JV or losing a starting position in a sport, I was placed on the "B" team. After my meeting, I left and cried and beat myself up for three days. I all I could hear was, "Well, your test scores WERE low," and "We have decided this [taking you out of a tested area] is what's best for the kids" replaying in my mind. In other words, "YOU FAILED."

I. Am. So. Prideful. There are a hundred reasons why I should have been thankful and excited, but I am full of pride and care entirely too much about the opinions of others. I could only focus on myself and beat myself up. Although I felt utterly humiliated, I had not quite humbled myself, and there is a difference.

To overcome my feelings of being a failure, I began to tell myself, "I know what all I overcame this year. I know how hard I worked. I know how much I LOVED my students. I know the plans I had to improve test scores for next year.  And so it went.

And then I thought, "And I will NOT allow my self worth to be determined by others' opinions of me."

Wait. That isn't humility. That was just an ugly form of pridefulness. What WAS I going to allow my self worth to be defined by?? My opinion of myself??

Stop it, Heather! No! The fact is, I am a daughter of a King, who has been shown more mercy and grace than I can begin to describe.  As a matter of fact, I have NO worth apart from Christ, because all that I do otherwise is tangled up in selfish motives and sin.

Christ is enough. I have to remind myself that God's kindness shows me my heart and leads me to repentance. He saved me when I was His enemy, and though I continue to fail and default to self-sufficiency, He loves me. Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." As I rest in Christ, things are put into an eternal perspective.

After my little pity party, I resolved to continue to do my work diligently, but more importantly, as unto the Lord... regardless of the subject area I am asked to teach.

It doesn't matter what I teach. What matters is that I honor the Lord in my work and that I do my best to show love, grace, compassion, and mercy to my students.

I mentioned 100 reasons why being moved out of ELA is a good thing... As I have changed my focus to where it needs to be, I am getting excited about the prospect of teaching science and social studies. I have met with the new ELA teacher, and we are already planning some cross curricular studies. I am hopeful that I will be able to help her in her first year of teaching. Less pressure about testing ad fewer writing assignments to grade will allow me to focus on becoming a better teacher and give me the flexibility to implement some project based learning ideas. I am most thankful that my second year teaching will include a little more time with my family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


     This morning, it is 7:00am and I am still in my PJ's drinking coffee.  This may not have been anything unusual a few years ago, but... oh man.  What a few years we have had, and I am THANKFUL for this much needed respite.  

     The last time I posted, I believe we had recently adopted Kayleigh and I mentioned that we were all going to school... even me to get certified as a teacher.  Because going into details would be exhausting for me to type and boring for anyone to read, I will stick to the short version:

  • Andrea came back to our home for several months and then was adopted by a family who lives elsewhere in the state.  She is now doing great and just graduated Kindergarten!
  • All the kids (even Will) went to school and loved most things about it. 
  • Hannah has had 2 hip surgeries and tonsils removed in the last 14 months. 
  • We have had some CRAZY goat adventures around here... Definitely will be recorded into its own post soon.  
  • I didn't get a job teaching in 2015.  Instead, I spent a year as the Director of Wellness and Industrial Relations for Baptist Hospital... Lessons learned as a wellness director should be its own post! 
  • In August of 2016, Kayleigh started Pre-K at EU and I started my first year teaching at the age of 40. My subject area for the first year was 6th grade English.  This put all seven of us at the same place... at last! Rantings of a first year teacher will DEFINITELY be its own post, but I am not sure when.  I just found out that I will NOT be teaching ELA again, and I am still trying to embrace this opportunity to be humbled. 
  • Scott began pastoring (in addition to teaching and coaching) at a nearby church, Parks Baptist.  It is such a joy to hear him preach regularly again, and we are enjoying getting to know our new church family. I have written this countless times, but I really do mean it (as I always do)... I am going to start blogging regularly again. I want to include sermon notes each week to help me remember things.  It's not that I think anyone reads this, but more because I like it as a scrapbook with lots of pictures.  It's fun to go back and remember all the craziness of life.  BUT, getting older and the regrets and sadness that come with looking at photographs is a post of its own also.  
  • Finally... MY BABY GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL 2 WEEKS AGO!!!!!!!  This will ABSOLUTELY become its own post, with lots and lots of pictures of graduation and her family crawfish boil to accompany it.