For those of you who may not have heard, I received a pink slip on March 15th. They cut 257 teaching positions in Fresno Unified because of the massive budget cuts. Things can change, those taxes can pass, but as of now, my job will end in June and I will wait to see what happens. Just another trial on the roller-coaster ride of teaching!
Some days shepherding children (and by children I mean a class full of 8-9 year olds) leaves me feeling, exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotional. Other days, it leaves me frustrated, devastated, and saddened. Then there are a few days when I actually feel excited, joyful, and rewarded!
Teaching is NOT easy. It is not at all what I expected it to be. It has made me well aware of the pressure kids are under to “perform”. It has made me realize all of the “wrongs” in our society that I want to help make “right”. It has shown me how I can teach the same thing over and over only to find out after an assessment they still haven’t learned! (Reminds me of my relationship with our Heavenly Father . . .)
There are times when I am “preaching” to my kids not to quit when things get hard, to have endurance and perseverance. All the while, standing there feeling so convicted because I need to be preaching that to myself! I have to push them, stretch them, nurture them, and discipline them. I can see the end and know the big picture but they don’t. It has given me such a perspective on how the LORD must see us. We whine and complain, we aren’t quick learners, we’re disobedient, inconsistent, difficult, we get off task, we check-out, sometimes we even run off!
SO much of what the LORD teaches me, so much of my sanctification, comes from lessons I’ve learned in my classroom. The LORD uses these children to purify me! ALL 5 years of my short teaching career have been a struggle. Not to say there haven’t been moments of JOY (there have), but it has definitely been a trial. It’s amazing how our trials and struggles teach us more than we can imagine! I am forever changed because of this profession, and these pages in my bible are worn out because of my experiences in the classroom.
These are some verses that have become an anchor for me during my journey as a teacher and shepherd. They have brought me so much encouragement after days when I get their test scores back and they don’t do well or when I have to make a CPS call, or when I feel like the worst teacher and can’t figure out why I’m even in a classroom!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I cling to these scriptures because so much about teaching is all about that “number”, their test scores. The LORD continues to remind me that I am in this classroom for much more than “test performance”. While learning to read is important, there are things “unseen” that are happening that He cares much more about. He wants me to be faithful in my job, but more than that He wants me to love these kiddos and shine my light for Him.
It’s hard to believe that I will be packing up my classroom again in just a couple of months. Part of me is so sad to leave. The other part of me feels relieved to have received a “pink slip”. Now maybe the stress and tears can end? Is He closing the door for me in this profession? Does He want me to have endurance and patience? Perhaps the LORD has another plan for me?
Who knows what the future holds . . . I do know that these last 5 years have not been wasted. I have learned SO much about the LORD, about teaching and shepherding, serving and encouraging, loving and ministering.
Trusting for what is to come . . . perhaps it’s just a new school and classroom? Perhaps it’s a whole new path? Perhaps it’s just a year to step back and reflect before continuing on? Whatever it is, He knows ME best and He knows WHAT’S best. He has prepared a path for me and I just want to stay on it, whatever it may be, I know where it’s leading to and so I press on . . . trusting Him.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act . . . Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him . . . (Psalm 34:5, 7)
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)