Maybe it's the endorphins from my workout this afternoon with TrainerDude, I don't know...all I know is that I'm feel pretty darn peppy about my life right now. Let me 'splain why:
Friday, although incredibly busy, was a great day. I had some great interactions with my classes that reaffirmed that I, most assuredly, am in the right place.
I also spent some time talking with the head of our ESL department, groveling about being late with my LEP ratings. She told me not to worry about it at all...she doesn't even put me in the category with the other slackers. She said she knows I have a ton of extra responsibilities that make it hard for me to get stuff done. (It's always nice when someone recognizes your contributions, ya know?)
At lunch with my teacherfriends, my department chair, The BaldMan, gave me mad kudos for bringing him "such a great salad"! About 10 minutes later, he looked at me and said, "I have a question for you about your schedule next year." He was as serious as could be.
Every nerve in my body went on red-alert! Oh no. Here it comes..."Ms. H. could you please teach 4 sections of 9th grade English? Please?"
TBM: I know you're doing the team teaching thing with Special Ed next year for English 3, but...
Me: Oh no. I'm going to have to make good on my threat that I'd look for an AP job if I got bumped to 9th grade. Crap. Where's my resume...is it updated?
TBM: and it might give you three preps, but you've taught it before...
Me: Dammit it to hell, Roy! You've got to be kidding me! Am I the only one who ever has to "take one for the team?! Why is it always me who has to take 9th grade, just one more year...?"
TBM: ...teach a section or two of speech.
Me: What did he just say? (outloud) Holy crap! What'd you just say?
TBM: (giving me the and-we-put-you-in-charge-of-children? look) Would you teach a section or two of speech next year? We need about 4 more sections...and I don't want to lose you from English 3, but you're the only one I have that is certified to teach speech.
Me: Oh yes!! I would love to teach speech!
TBM: Are you sure? It's going to leave you with essentially 3 preps.
Me: Not really...I've taught speech before, so I still have all my stuff. It'll be a nice break in my day. I would prefer to have 2 sections, though. That way, it makes the prep work seem worth it. Teaching 1 section of something is somewhat anticlimactic.
TBM: Awesome. Let's do it!
I am SO FREAKIN' ECSTATIC. I LOVE teaching speech...it's actually called Communication Applications, because we approach it from the perspective of communication in the workplace. I absolutely thought I'd never get to teach it again...TBM had said before, "You're too good at teaching English...I don't want to waste you in speech." Hey! His words...not mine.
Friday night, I had to take a trip to the teachermecca, Staples. In honor of tomorrow's commencement of the Junior Theme, I bought some index cards, some highlighters, and a shredder. (Point of clarification: The shredder is for all the blessed credit card offers I get in the mail...NOT for the junior themes!)
Today I went to visit a friend's church. She'd been inviting me for a while, but I hadn't taken her up on it. See, I was raised Southern Baptist, so I wasn't sure about visiting a "spirit-filled church". Had to wrap my brain around it...
I gotta tell ya...it was an amazing experience. I seriously LOVE music...and singing...and especially singing in church. The music today was unbelievable. Incredible.
And then the sermon was right on the money. He was talking about being on the journey...and keeping your momentum. He also talked about generosity, and how we should reach out beyond ourselves. That it's not only about reaching out to folks in the church, but people in our communities, our workplaces, etc. (I got a little affirming Zing! at that.)
Then he made a statment that totally made my vision go all tunnelly.
He said: You have to earn the right to get into someone else's universe. Yes, they may be in 'slavery' to their lifestyle...but at least that 'slavery' gives them a sense of security. You have to realize that God gives us a perspective other than ourselves. You need to ask yourself, what do I have that can feed the hungry? And it's not about whether they deserve it...it's the act of generosity that sows the seed.
I don't know what your spiritual beliefs are...but I wholeheartedly believe that teaching is a ministry. No, I don't go around preaching about church and God to my students...but I do spend a great deal of time talking with them about their lives, their hurts, their hopes...and show them that I care about them, and that they have options for their life after my class.
Do they all "deserve" it? No, not all of them. There are some who spend so much time working my nerve that it would be easy (and smart) to give up on them. But, those are the ones that need me the most. They need someone to keep believing in them, and to get in the middle of their "mess" and hold them accountable for how they use the potential they've been given.
Will I reach every one of them? Nope. Some of them will end up making poor choices that will have heartbreaking consequences. But at least I will know that I tried. That I gave it my all. And the best part? Some of them, usually the ones that I secretly "knew" would never make it....those are the ones that come back and say "Thanks, Miss". That something I did helped them...it may not have been huge...but it meant a lot to them.
That's why I'm here. And it was awesome to have that hammered home in God's house, lemme tell ya.