Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teacher Talk, Vol. 1 - Introducing ME!

I signed up for Teacher Talk thinking this would be a fun way to reach out and connect with my fellow teachers in blogland!  I'm trying to be better about blogging.  I kind of let it go since I started teaching two years ago and thought this might hold me accountable...PLUS I'll get to meet some really great people who share a calling with me.

A Little About Me
I think it's important to first off say that I am a Christ follower and Jesus comes #1 in my life.  He is in all that I do and is constantly guiding me and extending his never ending grace when I fall short.  He is THE reason why I teach.  Let me explain.

I come from a long line of teachers.  My mom and dad are both teachers as well.  I guess you could say it's in my blood.  I always wanted to be a teacher from the time I was 4 years old.  My mom would bring home old teacher textbooks and me and my friends would play school.  I was ALWAYS the teacher, or so they like to recall. ;)  When I graduated high school, I began college as an Elementary Education major.  After my first year, my love of math drove me to change to a Business major.  My parents told me all about the politics of being a teacher and the money is not good at all.  I need to add that I was living way outside of the Lord's Will for my life at this time and I never once prayerfully considered any decision I made.  Nor did I give Him a second thought.  So, on that whim, I changed my major to Business Administration with a minor in Industrial Psychology.  I graduated and the economy collapsed.  I couldn't find a job in my career field anywhere locally.  Now this is another story for another post in how God weaved EVERYTHING together, but I'll keep it focused on teaching for this one.

I found myself working at a law firm in a job where I had never even applied.  I was there for a year and a half and finally a position opened up in a company I had dreamed of working for.  It was my "dream job".  During this time, I started getting back to Christ.  I met my now husband, we found a church home, and God was slowly pruning me and shaping me into the woman He desired me to be.  I started to feel the tug in my heart to teach.  But it was impossible (I thought).  I was a single girl, living on my own, broke as a joke, and going back to college was out of the question.  I was almost done with my MBA too.  Was I just going to let all of that money go down the drain?  Eventually, yes.

So, I took this "dream job" and it was a NIGHTMARE.  I had the worst possible experience and I cried everyday.  I worked horrible hours, for the first time experienced harassment, and was just genuinely miserable.  One day, as I was walking back to my cubicle from the Starbucks on this corporation's campus, I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to teach.  I hadn't thought about teaching in months.  I stored it in the back of my head, knowing it would be impossible with all that this job required of me for me to ever go back to school.

Lo and behold, the law firm where I first worked was in need of an assistant for the senior partner and they were willing to take me back.  I put in my notice and I was out of there faster than a fart in a fan factory.  I never looked back.  I truly believe that God allowed me to work there and He opened that door for me to prove to me that it wasn't what I really wanted.  He had something better in store.

Once I got back to the law firm, I was able to have more free time and I started doing my research.  I found out that in Florida, if you have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university, then you can apply for a Temporary Certificate to teach.  Well, it's much more complicated than that with lots of testing and classes, but I had the information I needed.  I registered for the first test I needed, passed, then submitted my life to the state of Florida to obtain my temporary certificate.  This was in April of 2011.  I got cleared and received my temporary certificate in late May.  I applied for every job under the sun in my county and all surrounding counties.  I received about 70 rejection emails.  No one would even interview me because I did not have a degree in education.  I had given up hope and I remember driving home one night and having a full out conversation with God.  I was in the car alone and literally talking out loud.  I kept saying over and over, "God, why did you tell me to do this when you're not going to let me?  I give up!  I'm never going to get a job.  Why God, why?  This isn't fair."  I felt His voice deep inside my heart telling me "patience".  Through all my other struggles, I have definitely heard "patience" over and over again!  He is always at work.

I had written it off.  It was now August and school was about to start.  My mom called me one evening right as I was getting off work and told me there was going to be a position open the next day and I needed to apply.  I told her no, I was done and tired of the rejection emails.  And I really thought I was done...until I couldn't shake the feeling and that voice again kept telling me to do it.  So I did it.  I received a call, got an interview, rocked the interview, and was offered the job the Friday before preschool started.  STRESS!  I was thrown to the wolves and it was sink or swim.  I loved every second of it.  I have never not wanted to go to work since becoming a teacher.  I'm still at the same school and have formed incredible bonds with my students, parents, co-workers, and principal.  I love them all so much.  This has been the 2nd biggest blessing in my life other than marrying my husband.  I love, love, love what I do.  It truly is my passion.  I also have obtained my permanent certificate.  I met all of my requirements, testing, and courses and I could not have done it without God's hand leading me every step of the way.  He truly, truly, truly causes all things to work together for good. (Romans 8:28)

Where I Live
I live in the good ole Sunshine State - Florida!  And that means the dreaded FCAT!  But only one more year!!  Then we move on to the PARCC or whatever else the state decides.

What I Teach
I teach 4th grade.  What that means for me being a Florida teacher is I teach Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Science.  Writing, Math, and Reading are the big tested areas in 4th grade here.  I also coach our school's Sunshine Math Team where we compete with all the other schools in the county.  I still get to use my love of math. :)  And let me just tell you - My degree in Business and Industrial Psych comes in handy every single day.

Why I Teach
I teach because God told me to.  Plain and simple.  I am living out His Will for my life and I have 100% peace in my heart.  I am exactly where He wants me.  I teach because I love every single thing about it; even the stuff that gets on my nerves.  I love it all.  I teach to be the light in the darkness for some of these kids.  I teach to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I teach to extend the same love and grace that my Father has given me.  I teach to instill confidence and reassurance in the hearts and minds of children.  I teach to encourage kids.  I teach to be their biggest fan.  I teach because I love those kids.  I teach because there's nothing else that I rather do.


Sarah said...

Wow, you have an awesome story! I am interning in 4th grade this semester and am so excited to see what it's all about! :) I'm more used to kindergarten and 1st. So happy that you found what you were meant to do!

Kristin said...

loved reading your story! and i cannot wait to read more. :)

Cat Simmonds said...

Loved this! Hope you have a great school year :)

Nicole said...

I love your story!! So incredible how God has the ultimate say so... even when we try so hard to do something else. I cannot wait to read more of your posts!!

Kayla said...

Hey Carrie! Loved reading your post and getting to know you more!

Leslie said...

I'm in a very similar situation right now. Wanting to teach after putting it in the back of my mind for so long. God telling me, "patience, patience, patience..." Thank you for showing me that God's timing is perfect and that I am not alone in what I'm going through!

Carrie Louise said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to y'all, but I loved reading your comments. I really needed to re-read this post as well as this school year has been very trying. Praying you all have a great 2014!

Carrie Louise said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to y'all, but I loved reading your comments. I really needed to re-read this post as well as this school year has been very trying. Praying you all have a great 2014!