Thursday, July 16, 2015

A lot can happen in a year...

Yes, I am in fact still alive.

And well.

I realized right before starting this post that it's been exactly one year since my last blog post.  Yes, blogger EPIC FAIL.  I wish I had a good excuse, but life just happened and blogging didn't.  Such is life.

Anyway, without going into every single detail of my life from the past 365 days, I will share the big things that have happened.  That's right, BIG THINGS!

Overall, this past school year was a good one.  I'd had the toughest year of my career the year before and I learned a lot of lessons personally and professionally from that year.  I was cautiously optimistic going into last year and I was very thankful to have an overall good year.  I had a pretty good class, a (mostly) manageable stress level, and I had fun mentoring a student teacher during the spring semester.  Yes, the year had ups and downs and plenty of stress mixed in, but it wasn't anything compared to the year before.

Without going into too much detail (since most of it doesn't deal with me directly), several events in the spring lead me to look for a new teaching job.  This wasn't by any means 100% of why I decided to do this, but it kind of was what pushed me over the edge.  It'd actually been something I'd contemplated and prayed about for nearly a year...  I knew after my crappy year that leaving for another teaching job would be a decision based on emotion and that I wasn't in the right mindset to make a big move like that.  I needed to seek God's guidance, be patient, and give it another year to see how things went.  And, like I said, I really did have a much better year all around.  But, despite that, by mid-April I knew that it was time to move on and begin the next chapter in my teaching career.  It was incredibly scary (and time consuming) going on the job hunt after 8 years in the same place, but I knew it was the move I needed for my own personal happiness and growth in my career.  There were a lot of things I loved about my school and my AMAZING team, but I just knew that God was telling me that this was the time to trust Him and seek out the next adventure.  I needed a change in environment.  I wanted to seek opportunities to grow in my career and I knew that with the direction I would like to eventually that my current district didn't hold those opportunities.  And finally, I just wanted to be a little bit closer to home.  I hope to purchase a house in the next year or so and wanted to try to find a job somewhat in the vicinity of where I would like to live.  That cross-town commute each morning wasn't bad, but it does wear you down over time.

My job hunt all happened very fast.  I submitted applications late on a Monday night, had an interview the following Monday, and a job offer less than 24 hours later.  It was honestly a bit overwhelming, but I truly felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way.  Neither of first 2 jobs that sparked my interest where the one that I interviewed for and accepted, but at the same time I had a HUGE sense of peace when I made my decision to accept that position.

So, what will I be doing next year?

I'll be teaching 2ND GRADE!!!

(And no, I won't be changing my "name."  I've decided at this point not to rebrand myself quite yet.)

It's not a crazy move, but the whole concept of moving down a grade is scary and exciting all at the same time.  I'll be much closer to where I currently live and will be teaching in a community that I would potentially like to move to in the future.  I've heard many positive things about the school and district I'll be teaching in and really think I'll enjoy working with my 2 new teammates.

Is it incredibly scary leaving everything I've ever known in my teaching career?  HECK YEAH!

But, I am putting my trust in the Lord and letting Him guide me as I start this new adventure.  I don't know what I could be getting myself into, but I am hoping for the best and I am optimistic that I am heading in the right direction personally and professionally.

I've learned a lot in the past year...
  • Time heals all wounds.  People will hurt you, but it doesn't have to stay that way.  Everything happens for a reason and we have to learn from those experiences and move forward.
  • Stand up for what you know is right.  Sometimes you just have to be bold, step out of your comfort zone, and stand up for what you believe is right.  Sure, there may be risks and it may be uncomfortable, but follow your heart and what you know you need to do for those you care about.
  • Accept that you can't make everyone happy.  I'm a major people pleaser and I always want to make everyone happy and like me.  Ya know what?  That's not going to happen most of the time.  I've just gotta do my best and accept that I may not make everyone happy in the process.
  • Trust in the Lord.  This isn't a new concept by any means, but I always feel like when I've been the most stressed or have to make big decisions that God has been the one to provide and lead me in the right direction.  Lots of prayers and tears...
  • Be kind...  However you find it necessary.  There will always be people in your life that just plain piss you off.  It's not very Christ-like to punch people in the face, even if that's the feeling you have at the moment (or for a lot of moments).  You don't have to go around being fake nice to people, but you do need to be kind.  And sometimes kind is just plain not saying a word.
  • Find your support system.  I'm very blessed to have a couple circles of friends that supported me through this journey.  I didn't open up to a ton of people at school about my job hunt (for obvious reasons), but the ones that I did share this with gave me amazing support even though most of them didn't want to see me go.  Hugs, prayers, recommendations, encouragement...  You name it, that circle was there for me and still are!
  • Take risks.  I was very comfortable in my job.  I liked so many things about where I was working, but I knew that in order to grow personally and professionally I couldn't stay put forever.  I'm not the best at putting myself out there, but I knew it's what had to be done.
So, there you go...  A little piece of my heart and what's been going on with me for the past year!  I don't know how much I'll be blogging, but I'll try to be better about it.  Hopefully there won't be another 365 days before my next post!