Like many of first year teachers, this year has been one that I will never forget. The other day, I was speaking with my principal (literally one of the greatest bosses I have ever worked for) and she asked me if I had written down my first year experiences. She encouraged me, saying that no one had ever had a year quite like mine. Today’s blog post is part journal/part story as I share with you what it was like at the start of my teaching career . . .
Back in August, I was attending teacher orientation, learning everything from classroom management to computer systems to emergency drills. School was scheduled to start in one week, just seven days away and I was hired to be the new Yearbook Teacher, Part-Time Librarian, and Part-Time Office Assistant (mouthful, right?). All summer, I had been praying to become the new 8th Grade English teacher; however, the current 8th Grade English teacher (who had actually taught ME) planned on teaching one more year. I was content to wait and grateful for the other job in the meantime. I knew that I would continue to learn from the current 8th Grade Teacher and be even more prepared for the job when it would become available.
Then, just seven days before school was scheduled to start, before kids were scheduled to sit down in the classrooms, my Middle School Principal called me into her office and said, “So Kayla, how do you feel about teaching 8th Grade English next week?”
Without a second though, I answered, “Yes, of course, let’s do this.”
All we could do was laugh. Over the summer, she and I had joked about this happening, about the possibility of everything changing at the last second. The previous English teacher, a wonderful woman of God who inspired my love of English, was unfortunately experiencing too many health issues and realized she needed to retire. With only a week before school, the next seven days passed by in a blurred flurry of anxiety and excitement. I remember tearing down all my decor from the Yearbook room, seeing what I could re-purpose for my new classroom, rushing to the School Supply Store, and desperately trying to assist the previous English Teacher in organizing her classroom (now MY classroom), all the while creating lesson plans for the first week of school.
Looking back now, I am so grateful for the help of my husband and mother who came to help me transform the classroom into my own space. I am so thankful for the previous English teacher who loved on me and prayed over me. I am so in awe of God’s amazing plan. All summer long, as I prayed for the job, he was preparing the heart of the previous teacher to relinquish her classroom that had become her home. All summer long, as I prayed for the job, he was preparing MY heart for what became a most memorable year . . .