Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Am Not an Island

There have been seasons of my life when I've allowed a mixture of pride and introversion to isolate me. That island is no more.

When we are put in a difficult situation and find ourselves instinctively reaching out for the rescue boat, this reinforces, by grace, that our ultimate purpose in this life is anchored in our connections with others.

One of the [five] classes on my schedule is taught by myself and two other teachers in my [tiny] classroom.  I was a hair shy of losing sleep this summer because I was anxious about co-teaching with just one individual. Now, I light up when I see my co-teaching peers step inside my room. The necessity of allowing less of me to make way for a greater good of more help for our students--it's wonderful!

This new role is presenting opportunities for growth I didn't anticipate.  Meeting new administrators, teachers, students, and parents has my mind frantically processing new ideas, new emotions, new connections.  I'm going deep into my well of empathy.  I'm reshaping some previously held notions about what it should look like to teach reading and writing.  I'm penning a new definition of "good disciplinarian."

Of course I call my mom and make myself vulnerable for advice with my husband and reach out to friends.  But I'm seeing this immersion into the unknown is a liberating kind of existence... which says to me things like: take risks, embrace opportunity, go where you are no friend, daughter, or wife.  The open-mindedness required of me and this output of growth has me giddy about more experiences which could kick me out of my comfort zone.

I am not an island. I am not perfect. I am not always right.

And I thank God that in the past two weeks I've seen those windows of perfection, righteousness, and isolation shatter and fall before my eyes.

What a beautiful sight!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Time for Growth

I remember an aerobics class so challenging [for me] in college, it paralyzed my abs for three days afterward. When I was in that class, I would go delirious from the combination of difficulty meets exercise balls which had me looking altogether awkward, confused, and out-of-shape.

I've been either training for or working in my new position as teacher within a new school for the past two weeks.  The growth required of me has startled my immune system into freak out hibernation mode; I've been sick for over a week straight.  And let me say something to highlight the true meaning of sickness in relation to my job.  There is little more important in working with students than quick mental response which is the one thing exactly which decided to hitch-hike its way out of my sick body over a week ago.

I'm growing in a number of ways.  In just the past week, I've requested one-one-one mentoring for co-teaching, teaching ELL students, and new ways to discipline.  I've felt the heartache of missing my former staff and students, and I've been intentionally receptive in gleaning advice, humor, and camaraderie from my new staff.  I'm finding new ways to think of how my husband and I divide our duties and our times, respect each other's responsibilities, and keep grounded in what's important.  I've ushered in humility and silenced myself so that I could think outside the box of what has been and explore new ways to teach, connect, learn, and operate in all my roles as a woman.

This move to a new job was important. But that has little to do with how easy or difficult it has been.  Sometimes, we must take risks for what we value and forge ahead into the unknown.

The familiarity of our former lives beckons us back into safety, and we can waste a lot of time and energy in that mode.  As parents, husbands and wives, daughters and sons, and so forth we must plant our feet firmly where we are and allow great depth to happen there.

There is a time for everything: celebration, sadness, weeding, solitude, companionship, love, mourning, joy.  Right now growth is my season, and I'm not longing for all the other seasons that will surely, unquestionably arrive later.  I'm cognizant that, just as I look back and cherish my time of support, ease, and happiness at Sparta School District, I will also one day look back to this "new job" time in my life and smile at how wild and wonderful it was to grow so very, very much.

*Photo courtesy of