As I recall several moments of doubt from the past 4 months - I am humbled and amazed by the way You have been weaving experiences, situations, and passions together to create the beautiful masterpiece to designed my life to be.
When I applied for jobs last fall and interviewed for a position in first grade at one school - You asked me to wait as you orchestrated an opening in special education at another. After an early morning overseas Skype interview (that I was completely not prepared for) you placed me in the school I now call home.
Over the past four months, I have been utterly blessed, nurtured, and affirmed by my principal and co-workers.
OH yes, I was baptized by fire with a few students on my caseload - there have been many tears, several questions, and even an adult temper tantrum.
Yet at just the right time, there was an affirming word from a co-teacher; a moment of sheer delight in working with a student; breakthrough progress with "she who shall not be named"; and the fact that you have paved the way for me to do the work that I am doing here.
Within my first week of teaching, I received an unassigned contract for next fall. Within a couple of months, that contract was assigned to continue in the special education position I now hold. You are truly faithful.
Yet I was not.
I was not satisfied to stay and began to seek every possible way out. I have realized that I don't enjoy working with older kids as much as I thought I would. Special education - I've felt so very ineffective this semester because of the nature of my position. Joy has been so elusive these past four months. My passion for education began to wane just as You began to reveal the work You were doing.
First, an early morning conversation with the 1st grade team leader who asked if I'd ever consider teaching in the primary grades.
Then a conversation with my co-teacher about the joys and mostly the struggles of teaching special education. This teacher and I together share a love for younger kids. Together we daydreamed about teaching first grade next year.
Hope was lost for a moment as staffing came out with my co-teacher placed in first grade and myself, again, in special education.
A little while later, that same co-teacher made the decision to apply for positions in another district so that she and her husband could delete a 2 hour commute from their marriage.
With a pending opening in first grade at my school, I began to ponder why I felt like I had to stay in special education. I also marinated in all the reasons I could come up with for why I'd like to teach first grade. With that, I realized that my passion is neither in special education nor with 5th grade. My heart is with the little ones at the foundation of their learning.
Oh, to teach someone to read, to ignite a love for learning with those who are so excited to learn. To plan and prepare lessons and to build relationships with kiddos across the span of an entire day - 5 days a week - several days a month - for a whole year! So exciting!
This sparked an impromptu conversation with my principal about my desire to teach in the primary grades - and not to always get stuck in special education. She was receptive and was glad to know how I felt. I found freedom in letting her know how I truly felt and was grateful for her understanding. With the nature of my continuing contract, she would need to contact HR to determine whether or not it would be possible to switch from special education to general education. In addition, we would have to wait for my co-teacher hear back from the district she had applied for.
Not long after that, I was retelling my story to my mentor. Again I realized that my passion is not in special education as I heard her speak with conviction and joy as she declared she would never want to teach anything but special education.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I waited patiently, thoughtfully, and prayerfully.
For a about a week it seemed as though time itself had stopped. Then slowly, the situation began to unfold.
My co-teacher was invited for an interview. The next day she was offered a 1st grade position at another elementary school! (God made a way for her and used this situation as a part of his plan for me!)
I waited again with bated breath to hear from my principal now that the position was open.
On Monday morning, I received the following e-mail:
As you know, with *Sarah leaving for Millard we have a grade one opening. Human Resources has given the OK for you to move into regular ed if that is what you would still like to do. The Team 1 team leader is supportive and would love to have you on the team. Would you like to move to team 1? You can email me or I'll catch you in the morning.
*names have been omitted or changed
Needless to say I jumped out of my chair and danced/ran next door to tell my co-teacher! We hugged and drank in the moment, silently praising the Lord for answering both our prayers.
God, You have been faithful through it all. I'm so excited to be a first grade teacher next fall and so blessed to see your hand at work in mine and in others lives!
Though this semester has been challenging - I've learned so much about myself as a teacher and have a better idea of what to prepare for next fall. I have realized that nothing is wasted and I wouldn't trade this semester for the world.
There are still moments when I consider switching careers - but as I reflect even now, it is evident that God has called me to teach. He has made away in the desert and has made things considered impossible, possible.
As I look towards the future - I don't know what it may hold (though I have many dreams and ideas!). But I do know that God has given me a the task at hand, is refining me every step of the way, and is preparing me now for whatever may be in store some day.
God is faithful.
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Eph. 3:20