Some day I should tell you about my decision to leave my secure teaching assignment. I will shed a little light on the subject in this writing. There is something termed "Calling" which I wrestled with intellectually and spiritually for several years. My personal story is a long one, not remarkable, but hard in some ways. When a person goes through hard times they make many decisions that will determine the eventual outcome. Their reaction to the hard times, whether of acceptance, denial, hate or resentment, determination, spirit of the over-comer, or to shut down or retreat, or to face it head on, are all reactive choices to a difficult circumstance. It goes with being human!
Choices have a lot to do with belief systems, personal attachments, and emotional health. For instance, the choice to stay in a marriage even though it is not fulfilling is quite the opposite of abandoning a marriage because it is not fulfilling. The value one puts on the marriage itself or the view of the Christian wedding vows or even the love for the other person in the marriage has everything to do with the way the future will unfold or be lived out for that person even if the other person in the marriage sees it differently. What you truly believe will determine if you fight for, accept, disagree, or terminate the dialogue in almost any situation, not just in relationships.
The way my life has played out for me is not exactly the type of thing dreams are made of. My life went in directions I did not appreciate, it took me to places I did not want to go, and it changed me in ways I did not know were possible. Even though it was not all I wished it to be, it has shown me a lot about myself. Hard times show us who we are and what we're made of. They also show us how weak or strong our faith is by how real our belief in a Supreme Being seems during the painful time, to what degree we depend on our spiritual side. For those who have no spiritual belief, one makes decisions from values, beliefs, self-actualized feelings, either for the better-good or for the self. Simplistically put, we are either in it for our self or we are in it for others. It is rare to be pure in motive, though it is possible. One thing I learned, I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was, and so are you!
Leaving teaching is a decision that I labored over with great intensity and debate. I worked so hard for it that I couldn't believe I was flirting with early retirement. I entered the education field late in life, not working full time until I was in my forties. My paycheck became essential in helping keep the family afloat when I became a single parent after my mate left the family unit. We did the best we could. I pursued full-time employment to make ends meet and to help with college tuition. Securing the teaching position did not come easy, I was too timid and too old and did not know the right people in some interviewing situations. I had some part time teaching experience and was completing a two year program of graduate coursework to become credentialed in the field of reading. When I was hired for full time employment, it was as a Reading Specialist in a school district comprised of one school. I was thankful. God sustained us. Two years later I was in permanently with the district. I kept the reading specialist assignment until the district decided to eliminate that position and I moved into the general ed. classroom. It wasn't like I should just walk away from teaching. Not that easy or financially astute. However, to be honest with you, I did have secondary pocket of income in the form of farming, a in-the-family walnut orchard I leased. It helped out a lot, especially with private university funding.
The education field is in-process of dynamic and re-inventing changes. In low income areas or in non-performing schools, teachers are under the "performance" gun, striving to implement proven programs that promise growth and success. Scores are compiled each year in several categories to show performance. These test results drive the educational machine. The learning curve for teachers is more like an uphill climb, every year teachers are packing a little more weight while they are expected to educate children that come from a myriad of mixed up environments or with a wide-range of emotional or physical challenges. In addition to this, many teachers find themselves in a parenting role more than they expected, the need is so great. Social upheaval, cyber bullying, and mean stuff is epidemic, making the most vulnerable children anxious about school. All of these things have a tremendous impact on schools, everyone is touched by these things. Some schools manage to turn the ship another direction to a healthier stronger head-on positive dynamic. Kudos to them. They deserve it! That is what the school where I was teaching was attempting to do every year as we gave more and more of ourselves to encourage our students to learn the expected and necessary academic subjects, to perform at proficient and advanced levels. I was stressing a bit more each year, wearing thin with the constant demands. But, this is not why I left my teaching career although it did contribute to my level of stress and concerns about my health, making it a serious consideration. In a sense, all of the school stuff, and mounting frustration helped me make the difficult decision.
Following a Calling is doing that one thing the person is meant to do. Fulfilling a destiny that fits only that one person. Contentment comes when a man or woman is where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to do, knowing deep inside that it is right--even if is seems foolish to the on-lookers, even if it doesn't pay what they were being paid, even if it requires a learning of a new skill-set, even if only God and them know it is what they are supposed to be doing. If God is in it, he will provide the way. One has to look past the nay-Sayers and follow one's heart when it is the destiny expected of the person, a Calling designed by the Caller.
To be continued.