Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Big Return

Sooo, last week something crazy happened... that hasn't happened in 7 years... that I may have said would possibly never happen again. 

I returned to the big school classroom. #whaaaa??

I know. CRAZY.

I'll start from the beginning. 

Throughout my years at home, for the most part, I've always had to have a little part time job. From selling Premier to teaching preschool, to keeping babies to tutoring, I've always had a job that's provided a small income and allowed me to be home as much as possible. That's always been our ultimate goal (having me home as much as possible) but we've always needed a small income from me, and God has always provided and met our needs this way. 

For this school year however, we needed more. We have a new house, we want a pool, we definitely don't want to go into debt, and we do eventually want to experience financial freedom again. I will say that we have absolutely no regrets when it comes to me being home. It has been THE BEST decision for our family and we are still seeing and experiencing the benefits with our boys and our overall family life. AND, it is still our goal to have me home as much as possible. We still have a little man at home full time, after all. However, choosing for me to be home has been hard and required numerous sacrifices. It's just taken a toll in a sense. So we agreed together that this school year I'd need to go back to work in some form or fashion (part time still) but doing something that provided a bigger income. This was strictly a financial decision and one that wasn't made lightly or handled all that well. (By me. Gulp.)  

 Over the summer I was pretty confident that I'd be teaching half-day Kindergarten and tutoring this school year and had pretty much accepted this reality....but God had other plans. The K position fell through and tutoring, while still my favorite, it just hasn't taken off yet. Soooooo, we had to move on to Plan B.... or in my opinion, Plan Z. Dun, dun, dun.  #ohthedread

Several months ago I considered substitute teaching because, first and foremost it's a job I'm qualified for and would easily be "hired" for. Plus it would get my feet wet in the big school classroom again, it's part time, and I would actually be paid pretty well because I'm a certified teacher. But then all the cons came out with a vengeance and it became the LAST thing I wanted to do. Big sigh. It's very unpredictable, it's a full day, I would be away from Layton a ton, my family would suffer from the change of schedule/me working all day, etc. I just didn't want to do it. I had anxiety about it and was attacked by Satan lots and was pretty much dreading it. 

But, when God provides 1 opportunity at a time and only opens 1 door, you move forward in obedience... with or without a good attitude. Ahem. 

For now I'm only subbing at the boys' school which is PreK-2nd grade and I'm only subbing for advanced absences.... nothing the morning of. Yet. I'm also trying to limit Tuesday and Thursday subbing because those are my tutoring days and I'd like to keep those open. And avoid working a 9+ hour day. 

So last week was my big return. I subbed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in a 2nd grade classroom (my old stomping ground!), and while it totally exhausted me and made me a tired I haven't experienced in a looonnng time, it was also pretty wonderful. I had a great 1st experience with subbing and totally took those babies under my wing and made them my own. =) It almost felt like I'd never left. I just picked up where I left off and even though a lot has changed in 7 years, a lot is still the same. 2nd graders are still eager learners. They love their teacher, they like to socialize, they enjoy being engaged, they like being read to, they love being rewarded and complimented, and they thrive in a positive learning environment. My return to the classroom went just about as smoothly as possible and I'm so thankful for God's grace as I started this new venture. I'm not sure I could have asked for a better return and first experience.

The downside to returning to the classroom is that my family (and house!) suffered just as I suspected. Boo. I was SPENT by the time I got home. And not in the way I was expecting. I was prepared for tired feet, a headache, possibly losing my voice a little, and just wanting to go to bed early. Instead I was pretty much out of it. As in, I wasn't really present. I barely remembered to empty and clean out lunch boxes even though that's normally the very first thing I do every day after school. Our whole after school routine was in total slow motion and mama had just about nothing left to give. I could hardly function I was so worn out. Monday was the best day for some reason...adrenaline maybe? I honestly can't be sure, but come Wednesday afternoon I was down for the count. We skipped choir and everything. Everybody was feeling the effects of mama working. I didn't even sleep good the nights before and after working. 

So while my time in the classroom was pretty awesome, my time at home with my family wasn't so much. (Preparing for a massive yard sale didn't help matters either.) I'm trying not to judge myself too harshly because hello, it's been 7 YEARS since I've been in a classroom all day and I know I need to give myself some grace as we all adjust, but gracious. Something has to give. And sooner rather than later.

The good news is, I'm way more open to returning to the classroom in the future than I've ever been. The bad news is, it's a little terrifying. I mean life was CRAZY those 3 days. We were all up earlier, we all had more to do, I was on my feet late every night making even more lunches and snacks than usual and preparing for the next day, and I was pretty much unavailable to my family half the time. I sure hope the adjustment period doesn't last long.

Plus it's been sooo tempting to analyze every little thing in an attempt to figure out what God is up to. I love tutoring and still believe in it's potential, but right now God hasn't sent me enough students for tutoring to be my sole income. He is choosing instead to open my eyes to the *possibility* of being back in the classroom as I tutor. 

So does that mean tutoring isn't for the long haul? Does that mean I need to return to the classroom sooner than I want/think is best? Does that mean I'm supposed to continue tutoring and subbing for the next few years until Layton starts school? It's all just super unclear. 

I do know He has a plan. And I do trust in that plan, even if His plan is different from my first choice or what I believe I want/think is best. I also know that teaching is a part of me and therefore a part of my future. In what capacity, I'm not sure. 

For now, I know without a doubt I want to be home as much as possible. And we do still believe that to be best. My time at home has shaped our boys and our family life in such a way that we know our sacrifices haven't been in vain. God has truly blessed our decision over the past 7 years. But He may have other plans now. He is certainly providing new opportunities. Opportunities that are needed right now! So we are trusting in Him and His plan for our family. Because ultimately my family is my focus and I want what is best for my guys, all 4 of them, more than anything. So, for now, I'm just going to try to trust as I wait. It isn't easy but I'm being intentional about daily letting it go. My return to the classroom was both rewarding and challenging and I know He has me there for a reason. In the meantime.... In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15. This is my focus. =)

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