I just heard from HR. It looks like I will be placed at Roswell next year. Mostly, the thing that sucks about this is the commute. I will be in the heart of the Atlanta traffic you hear horror stories about. In my third trimester. Oh boy. It also means I will be needing to leave the house between 6:30 and 6:45 every morning. Gross. We aren’t exactly sure how child care is going to shake out with Christian’s new schedule and me getting home much later due to traffic.
But some of the other issues I have been having make me realize that they are MY issues, and come what come may I need to get over them.
1. My identity- I know I need to hold my identity in Christ, and I DO think that that is the most important thing in my life, but I probably have too much of my identity wrapped up in my job. I work in an urban school with
mostly almost all minority students. About 80-90 percent of my kids qualify for free lunch. I like that my job is hard, that I tackle something every day that most people wouldn’t even try. Of the folks who do try my job, almost half of them quit within three years. I made it. And I am really proud of that. When I tell people what I do I feel like it communicates that I am tough and capable. I also feel like it communicates that I don’t just think equal access to everything for everybody would be nice, I am actively trying to reach that goal. I love that I have gotten to know and understand better a culture that is not my own. That some of my kids as a PART of that culture rather than an intruder. Saying what I do and where I do it communicates all of that, without me having to explain any of it. Plus, it makes me cooler, I am aware of (and sometimes use) fashion trends, phrases, and music far before most of my friends because I am exposed to it.
2. My role as a teacher- One of the things I think I do really well is expose my students to things that are outside of their every day life. I want them to understand that there are places just miles from their houses where the assumption is you go to college, places far away from them where people would kill for the opportunities my students have. There are different ways of talking, listening, seeing the world that are so vastly different from theirs that it is frightening at first, but those people aren’t stupid or scary, they just have a different paradigm. One that you could benefit from if you looked at it. I don’t know how to do that with students who have broader horizons. Maybe that is because I have never tried….but maybe not.
3. My commitment to using literacy as a tool to “rise up”- The best book in college I was assigned to read was “Reading, Writing, and Rising Up”. It helped me understand what a powerful thing literacy can be (historically if we want to disenfranchise people we make sure they can’t read or write.) I love that I get to encourage kids to find their voice who otherwise wouldn’t. I know that in order to enact social change you need all types of people and therefore all types of teachers…….it is just I am more comfortable working from the bottom helping them realize they can rise to the top than working from the top teaching them to want to change the system that is set up to benefit them.
4. My comfort zone- Often I think that I have a very large comfort zone. I hear people say “God might want you out of your comfort zone” and think…..that would be REALLY far. I am comfortable in a lot of situations. Well, we found a hole in my comfort zone and I have been placed right there.
5. My ability to empathise with my students- If we are honest, we are just more sympathetic to certain situations than others. And I tend to be more sympathetic to kids who are taking MARTA to school, than to the students who drove their own car to school on their 16th birthday. It doesn’t mean God loves them any less, or I should love them any less……it is just my bias I guess, and I am running into it…..and I liked to think I didn’t have one……
Basically, I need to get over myself, my plans, what I pictured God wanting for me. I need to erase the picture of the next ten years I had drawn and wait for God to paint over that mess a picture that is more beautiful. It is just, I am familiar with the picture I painted….and not at all familiar with this new picture.