Blessed Beyond Words

God is so good! He had a plan all along. I knew He had a plan all along. I knew not what it was or when it would become part of my present. I remained hopeful that His timing would be perfect. I was, however, very discouraged with teaching and the many encounters I had with children last year, leading me to believe God’s plan was not for me to work with children. After a wonderful summer having little contact with munchkins, I returned to Florida with an open mind, an open heart, and a patient attitude for whatever God may have in store for me. I decided not to take the first job that came along, but instead to pray and truly seek God’s will for my job this year.

On August 22, I had my skills assessment with Gleim Publishing as a proofreader, which as many of you know from my last post did not seem like quite the right place for me. I received a voicemail on August 30 requesting to set up an interview. Truthfully, I was procrastinating setting up the interview since I wasn’t all that excited about working there. A few hours later I received another voicemail from Newberry Elementary School, also requesting to set up an interview. I was so excited to finally hear from a school (and not just another email telling me the position I applied for had been filled!) that I immediately returned the call.

I talked with the assistant principal and we set up an interview for the following morning to see if I would be a good fit for their Title I position. The next day I interviewed with the principal, assistant principal, and the lead Title I teacher. I felt very confident during the interview and afterward they agreed to give me a tour of their school per my request. The lead Title I teacher shared that they were highly considering me for the position. She also introduced me to many of the faculty members that we ran into during the tour. Just being in a school like that again was so exciting!

After getting home, I reluctantly returned the call to Gleim and let them know that I did not want to schedule an interview because I was being considered for another job. They proceeded to tell me that if the job didn’t work out, they would still be interested in scheduling an interview with me because they were very interested in having me as part of their team. Later that day I received another voicemail from the Alachua County Board Office regarding an instructional position. I mistakenly assumed they were calling to set up an interview for another position I had applied for within the county. When I returned the call the following day, they informed me that the principal of Newberry Elementary wanted to offer me the Title I job!

So of course I said yes! I had quite a lengthy process of drug testing, fingerprinting, paper signing, and orientation to complete (not to mention it was the day before hurricane Hermine touched down on land! So most businesses were closed on Friday), but to my surprise I was able to start at Newberry the following Wednesday. Only one week after my interview! I had been told that I would have about 2-3 days to plan and then I would be given students on a daily basis, but I started with a group of 4th graders on my second day. Wednesdays are shortened days for all Alachua County Schools, so I spent my first day becoming familiar with my schedule, moving some furniture in the room, as well as becoming familiar with the computer program my students will be using to improve their Reading and Math skills.

I feel very spoiled to have this teaching job. Last week was the first week they started pulling students for Title I Intervention and I only had one class of 4th graders. Title I implements a slow integration of students week by week, so next week I will have 3rd and 4th graders (one class of each grade level for 45 minutes). The following week I will have 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, and so on until Kindergarten. Total I will have 5 classes of students in a typical day with 6-7 students in each class to monitor on the computer program.

These students are chosen for intervention based on the previous year’s test scores and they are identified as the lowest performing students in the 25th quartile of their grade level. Since Wednesdays are shortened, I won’t be monitoring my usual classes, but will have the opportunity to pull individual students to work on areas of Reading or Math where they need some extra help. I share the computer lab with another Title I teacher, so in total we have 12-14 students. This makes it easy to cover classes if one of us is sick or takes time off, we don’t have to cancel our classes, but instead they will be covered by the other teacher. We don’t have to worry about making sub plans or getting a sub either! Since the program is all online, I don’t have to write any lesson plans. Isn’t God so good??

I’m considering asking the teachers if they ever need anything copied, laminated, cut out, etc. that I am more than willing to help! I won’t have a ton of free time while I’m at school, but I will definitely have more time than a general classroom teacher would for sure! After being in the school for only 3 days, I have already noticed the caring and supportive atmosphere of the teachers and administration. On Friday last week one of the substitute teachers cancelled at the last minute, so they put me in a Kindergarten class for the day since I only had one intervention class (which could easily be covered by the other teacher!). I was a little nervous at first, but my lead Title I teacher came by twice, as well as the assistant principal, to make sure everything was going smoothly.

I have also been automatically enrolled in a teacher mentoring program where I will be supported and mentored to ensure my first year of teaching is successful. My Title I coworkers have been amazing so far and are open and willing to help me with anything. I am so blessed to have such an amazing job. Oh yeah! I also have off all major holidays (even summer! Yes I consider that a holiday all it’s own!) and all the UF holidays that Robert has off of school. Did I mention the benefits?? I think I can handle having to leave by 6:30 AM and having a 25 minute commute since everything else is so perfect. I know I will have bad days here and there, but I’m very hopeful that overall it’s going to be a great year!