“‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.'”
– Mark 9:23 NIV
By the end of February, I was looking at a full plate ahead of me in the month of March with classroom management workshops and parenting seminars included in my schedule, after working in the classroom, 3 nights a week for the entire month with no holidays on the calendar until Spring Break. Whew! I made it. Although the schedule has resumed since Spring Break, I can look back and see how the LORD has preserved me, protected me and empowered me in my classroom while maintaining a demanding schedule. It helps when you are doing something you love and enjoy, because it doesn’t feel like work. When I first returned to the classroom, after being absent for 10 years, it felt like work. I could sense the difference from when I first taught and how I was feeling when I initially embarked on the transition back into the classroom. Looking back, it literally felt like I was being dragged screaming and kicking, ‘Noooo! I don’t want to go back! Waaaahhh!’
What has helped me during my transition, now my second year back, was identifying a focus, purpose and sense of mission that fueled my ambition to reclaim that love and joy for teaching I knew I would need to serve God’s purpose in being an educator. During the 2010-2011 school year I was the team leader for the PBIS program (Positive Behavior Intervention & Support) and the team leader for the Creative Arts team. Although I did not desire to return to the classroom, the school community I was returning to needed an art teacher so it helped me transition easier knowing I was going where I felt needed and wanted. Being the team leader for a school wide initiative, PBIS, also allowed me to have a sense of mission and purpose that helped me to maintain focus and remain driven despite the challenges of the transition. Being team leader for Creative Arts kept me humble, along with the challenges I faced in the classroom, because I was accountable to others. All along, I wrestled with the difficulty in having so much responsibility my first year back, but God’s grace kept me going. I adopted personal themes, ‘Focus to Finish Strong,’ ‘Winning Cooperation,’ and verses of scripture, “He who was seated on the throne said,’I am making everything new!” – Revelation 21:5 NIV
Entering my second year, I challenged myself and wrestled with God about my need to recapture my professional equilibrium of joy and love for teaching by accepting my placement in my second school community in as many years returning to the classroom. Budget cuts caused me to be reassigned, but faith and grace prevailed! My focus was sharpened during prayer to petition God to help me maintain order and manage my classroom, being positive and productive and my students too. Conducting the professional workshops of classroom management through Cooperative Discipline help hold me accountable to apply what I’ve learned over the years as I strive to encourage and empower other professional colleagues.
I still have challenges in the classroom, opposition to my efforts to teach, influence and inspire learning, but the level of frustration I felt entering my second year has diminished tremendously. I have aspirations outside the classroom that tug at me, but my contentment level for where I am currently has greatly increased. With only a few weeks to go, I rejoice in how God has blessed me and helped me recapture the joy and love for teaching I needed to serve His purpose in working with children in the classroom! Everything truly is possible for the person who believes!
May God bless you and help you to press through, push forward and persevere beyond the opposition and challenges you face to continue to strive to teach, influence and inspire learning.