My First Weeks Teaching

Hola readers, and welcome back to my blog! As promised, I bring you a post all about my first few weeks teaching. As some of you know, I accepted my first ‘big girl’ teaching job over the summer, and I now teach kindergarten through 8th grade students at a small, Catholic school. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to word all of the emotions that I have felt the past few weeks, but alas I will just start writing, as that’s what I do with 99% of these posts!!

Where to begin?? I suppose the first day. I was SO, so, soooo nervous for my first day all leading up to the morning of. I got all my nerves out the night before by over-preparing for the morning. I had EvErYtHiNg laid out for the morning, a note to self not to forget my lunch, the whole nine yards. So when I woke up on Thursday, August 17th, I felt excited and prepared.

Now, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect on my first day, but I was sort of expecting some mass amount of chaos for whatever reason. I arrived to school SUPER early to lay out name cards, prayer sheets, etc. on each desk before I did my morning door duty, greeting each student as they entered the school building. I was feeling very ready to go. UNTIL…

I walked back to my classroom, and the 6th graders were waiting outside my door, not the 8th graders I was expecting and had prepared for. It turned out there was a last minute schedule change that hadn’t yet been communicated to the specials teachers. So after a quick little panic, I reset the name-tags and then invited the 6th grade into my classroom. Honestly, not a huge deal, but just a true testament to something I heard over and over again as advice for new teachers: expect the unexpected and be flexible! 

Honestly after that moment, my first day went so, so much better than I ever could have imagined. I left school that day totally flippin’ exhausted, but totally exhilarated, and I had an inner peace that could only come from knowing, truly knowing, that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Although I could sit here and detail each moment because I have cherished all of them, the really good and the really tough, I’ll end this post with a bulleted list of things I’ve learned through just my first few weeks in my own classroom. I know I have a longggg way to go, but I’m ready and eager to learn so that I can be the impactful teacher that I’ve always wanted to be. Without further ado:

  • Comfy shoes are sooooo important
  • There are really good classes and really tough classes, but each has their own redeeming qualities
  • Being flexible and creative is essential
  • Planning periods can be your best friend if you use them properly!
  • I hear my own voice as a former student in a lot of the voices of my current students, and it’s the weirdest, coolest thing
  • Having great coworkers is a wonderful thing (I’m very blessed in this department)
  • You are gonnnna fail (I have, but I learned!)
  • Kindergarteners are so much smarter than you think, and they have no filter – it’s amazing
  • Any teeny tiny compliment towards my teaching is appreciated 1289483x more than any student, parent, coworker will ever understand — when you are a brand new teacher, it’s hard to know if you’re doing a good job or not
  • Teaching IS tough, but 150% worth it

Now, I feared writing this post for criticism it might receive. I don’t really know what kind of criticism, but I’m still just so uncertain if I’m doing a good job – I want to do an amazing job. I know that all takes time. Maybe some long-time teachers are reading this thinking “Ohhh just you wait. You don’t know what’s coming”. And you’re right, I don’t always know what’s coming, but after having a moment today where I literally got *teary-eyed* just observing one of my middle school classes actually engaging in the activity I had planned, learning the material, and having fun doing so, I believe whatever is coming my way in the next weeks, months, years that I will be teaching, is something that I look forward to whether it be a moment of triumph or utter failure. (I am so sorry that sentence is so long, but I don’t know how to break it up so just roll with it okay thanks).

Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I had to say. I know a lot of my friends and family have been asking how the new job has been, and it’s just hard to say alllll of this in a text message. Obviously, lol. So consider this as my gigantic text message letting you know that I feel blessed to be where I am, and I’m excited for the future whatever that may bring. Love y’all. Feel free to leave a comment below!

Besos,

Megan LouAnn

You Were Made to Be Courageous

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The story I am about to share is probably long overdue. Over the past two months, I’ve tried to sit down and write a blog post about it, but I just couldn’t find the right words. Today, I had a random spark of inspiration to try again, and as I logged on to WordPress, I had a notification that today is my blog’s anniversary! Funny how things work out like that. So back to the story at hand…

About two months ago, I felt God calling me to lead what my church calls a “journey group”. Basically as a church, we spend 6 weeks exploring a topic through the weekend message, individualized reflection, and small-group discussions. This year’s journey was called the “I Am” journey, and it was all about digging deeper to learn about who God created us to be. We were pushed to learn about ourselves wholeheartedly —  the good, the bad, the ugly.

Going into the journey, I had just landed an amazing ‘big-girl’ job that would have transitioned to full-time right after I graduated. It was a high-paying job at an amazing family-owned company with a lot of opportunity to travel. After deciding that I no longer wanted to pursue the medical route, it was a dream come true.

However, throughout the six weeks of the journey, I really started to feel unsure about this new venture, and I felt lost. I knew God was trying to tell me something, but I wasn’t quite sure.

During the fifth week’s service, He spoke loud AND clear. Memories and recollections of events in both recent and very distant years started flooding in my mind all at once —  all memories that had tied into my long lost dream of becoming a teacher. I can’t really explain the sensation I felt, but out of nowhere I felt tears rolling down my cheeks because I was invigorated by this message from God but also so, so scared.

I brought it to my small group first, and they all undoubtedly encouraged me to think a lot more about this message, and they believed that it really was from God. So the next step was perhaps the hardest for me. I had to muster up the courage to sit my parents down and tell them I was considering furthering my education to pursue a career in teaching.

Keep in mind this would mean giving up an amazing job opportunity that every parent wants for their child coming right out of college. I was so afraid they would be upset or think I’m crazy, but after dinner one night, I broke down and laid it ALL on the table, and you know what? I am SO blessed to have such supportive parents who took it all in, encouraged me to take my time to think about the situation, but assured me they would back me 100% either way. I felt so free and relieved that I could start putting this new plan from God into action.

The following weeks weren’t easy as I frantically searched for a job more related to the education field, applied to the Master of Teaching program, and made a few difficult phone calls in regards to the ‘big-girl’ job. But I can surely tell you that the uncomfortableness, stress, and confusion was all worth it.

Two months later, I have landed an amazing job working at a Montessori school where I am surrounded by phenomenal coworkers and children who teach me countless new things each and every day. Finding my current workplace was a God send because it has been such a good fit mutually, and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been in a workplace. I can’t explain it, but I can come home from an eleven hour work day absolutely exhausted but energized all at the same time. It’s a beautiful thing that only comes from finding true enjoyment in my job. I let my visions of job and financial security go in pursuit of the plans that my Father had for me.

Time and time again in the last few months God has proven to me that He is pleased I took this leap of faith, and now I really feel like we are walking through life together. Now, let me assure you, everything isn’t all flowers and roses as I have a lot of decision-making to do with exactly what direction I want to pursue with my educational future, but I strongly believe that God has something amazing in store if I continue to rely on and trust in Him.

Friends, I didn’t share this story because I want you to quit your job tomorrow because you aren’t in love with it. I share this story because I want you to be COURAGEOUS like our Father made you. Whatever that looks like for you, if God is calling you towards something, don’t let fear get in the way. I assure you His plans are better than anything you could dream for yourself.

Love always,

Megan LouAnn

Reflections

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Original image from zrysxw.com

It’s been all over social media: 2016 needs to die! Worst year ever! And hey, maybe it was the worst year ever for some people, but I’m willing to bet it was the best year for others. There’s really nothing magical about the difference between December 31st of one year and January 1st of the next, but I do think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the past year, how it’s been, what you learned, and what you want to do better next year. There’s nothing wrong in admitting that everyone has something (usually many somethings) that they need to work on, so I’m all for New Year’s resolutions.

Overall, this year was pretty good to me. Although nothing can top my Spain trip from last year, I was still able to make it to Florida and North Carolina on mini vacations this year, making new memories with people I love. I completed my CNA certification, and although I’m not actively working as a CNA (bless those of you that do), I learned a lot in that course and gained a respect for all CNAs out there because it’s one of the toughest jobs one can do. Unfortunately, I also got to see the ugly side of some health care facilities which was hard, but educational.

I started my senior year of college, and although it was my heaviest course load to date, I finished with a decent GPA. I took the GRE in preparation for the possibility of grad school and scored well above what I needed to. I started actually volunteering at church in their Kid’s Club and have been inspired by several little 3rd graders. Those kids are crazy smart, let me tell you. I’ve gone through a few spiritual dry patches, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean that God is any further away than normal but that maybe I’m not spending enough time looking towards Him. Our world is a continuum of distractions, and it’s so important to find time to detach from those distractions and just be. I think I got very distracted this year. It’s nearly impossible to be 100% on fire for Jesus 24/7, but I did learn that spending quiet time with Him every day can help.

Looking to 2017, I think the biggest thing ahead for me is graduation. *gulp* Lots of emotions surrounding that one which I’m sure I’ll touch on in a later post, but there is one huge thing I’ve realized. I’m going to have to change my tagline! “a college student trying to find her place in this world” is no longer going to cut it. So I plan to spend now until May 7th thinking of a new tag line and more importantly, a refreshed direction for my blog. I’d really like to see it take off next year, but I’m going to have to dedicate the time into helping it do so. Unfortunately one post every month or two isn’t going to draw in readers, but I think after graduation I’ll have the time I need to make something happen. *fingers crossed* I genuinely hope that each and every one of you reading this had a happy holiday season and will have an even better 2017.

In case you missed it, here is my previous post, Finding Unwavering Joy.

Stay classy,

Megan LouAnn