Twenty-six odd years ago I was blessed to find an avocation that excited me as no other work had ever done before or since.
While I was trained in business and had worked for nearly 20 years in that field, there was never a real love for the work. There was a fair amount of success in what was happening (salary increases, better positions, recognition, etc.) but something was always missing. No matter how much money I made or awards I received, there was a vacuum in my life when it came to work.
Events of life seemed to be shaping me to branch out and find something more satisfying. At first, I thought becoming a manager in several businesses and subsequently a director for a large company was going to be the answer to my yearnings. But all those positions and the compensation that came along with the titles never gave me peace.
Teaching Seminary (especially early morning classes) was not something I had ever considered as a full-time possibility. But when I tried I discovered it was fun, and there was a joy in the students and work.
But there was always major trepidation when considering the financial part(that 'natural man' stuff can be a real pain:See Mosiah 3:19).
So, I participated as a part-time teacher while retaining my “daily” job in the world. It was tiring (early morning started at 6:00 am) but it was also invigorating, and the students were amazing. For nearly seven years my schedule included that early morning shot of excitement before I went off to do my other duties. My goal was to complete 25 years and then settle back and bask in the memories.
Now, 26 + years later, I look back and realize that the process for finding this work followed a pattern that would help me understand the great blessing it is to be in this position. The part-time work during those early mornings helped me to see the value of what I was doing.
Seeing students faces as they 1) woke up, 2) began to understand, and 3) radiated the light they were receiving changed me as much (or maybe more) as it changed them.
When I decided to accept an offer of fulltime employment, for the first time in my life I had found work that gave me joy in addition to feeding my family and paying the bills.
Oh, we made a LOT less money than we had before, but the excitement of going to work every day made it all worthwhile. And I believe that my family benefited by having a dad/husband who was not miserable in his work.
But this is old news to many of you and I’ve told this story many times in the past.
So, what is the purpose of this journey down “memory land?”
THING One – I am beginning to realize that the time is fast approaching when I will no longer be able to continue in my chosen profession. There are only a few short years until I will, necessarily, retire from the work I love.
Despite what some might think, students do struggle a little more with older teachers AND older teachers struggle a little more with students. We still love each other, but the generation gap, with all its nefarious points of differentiation, is unyielding
(unless you are an Apostle – which I’m not).
So, the expectation is that in another two or three years there will be a change in my employment status.
Not something I anticipate with joy, but more as a reality of life.
THING Two – For the past few months I have been feeling sorry for myself.
Each year, the area director of each group of teachers visits with them and asks where they would like to teach (unlike Public School teachers, we move around quite a bit during our careers). In my interview with our director, I gave two desires –
1. Stay where I am for the last few years or
2. Move to the Institute (college age students).
Imagine my reaction when our placement notices came out in May and neither of my requests was granted. In fact, an assignment was made to move to a different high school, further away from home than at any time since my very first assignment in 1998.
Being obedient, the change was accepted, but not without a fair amount of grumbling (to Teresa, other teachers, and just about anyone who would listen).
And that’s why I’m offering the reminiscences of my career on this day. Mostly, what I’m doing is reminding myself that:
1. I don’t teach because I want to make a lot of money and
2. Teaching isn’t my favorite job because of the school where I am assigned.
I'm also apologizing to those who had to listen to my rantings for the last few months. It surely was a burden for them and I regret my lack of self-control.
Teaching is my favorite career because of what it does for me and for the students in the classroom.
There are only a few more years to influence the young people in my care. It will be very difficult to do my job if the focus is on what isn’t available to me.
The work is still exciting, and the students are amazing (imagine working with youth who don’t swear, strictly avoid immoral behavior, control obnoxiousness, and shun all the other discouraging things you see in the world).
This is still the best job ever!!
And I need to treat it as the blessing it is.
So, you will hear no more from me about any changes or disruptions in my work life.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the happiest place on earth (sorry Disney) and I want to be here with joy in the work.
So, Copper Hills High/West Hills Jr. Here I come!!