Friday, August 21, 2015

Making Other Plans

I don't think I really understood what John Lennon meant with those words until recently. If you had asked me a year ago where I would be and what I would be doing right now, I would have told you I would be teaching 4th grade at Provost Elementary, probably living in the same apartment, attending the same ward, etc. I wouldn't say that I was unhappy at the time. But I wasn't happy either. During the next 12 months, life would happen.

Almost exactly a year ago, a colleague sent me an email early one Thursday morning encouraging me to apply for a different position at a different school in Provo (a non-teaching position, more of a leadership role) but my application needed to be in that morning. Somewhat impulsively I applied, had an interview the next day, and after an excruciatingly long weekend, I found out I did not get the job. This was somewhat of a relief considering the school year had already started and I know now that things worked out the way they should have. However, this one act of applying for this one job was the catalyst that changed my future. 

I soon realized that maybe it wasn't the job that I needed. It was the fact that I was ok with applying for the job. I was open to change that I had previously fought against. Something changed in me that day. I knew my time at Provost was going to be shorter than I originally thought. I didn't know what was coming, but I knew it would happen. 

Fast forward to spring time. After several long months, and I mean LONG months of problems at work, struggles with new co-workers and the leadership at the school, I knew I had to start looking for a new job. I didn't know where I was going or even where I wanted to go. I started to apply for every single open teaching job in the state of Utah. And I mean every opening from St. George to Logan to Roosevelt to Blanding and everywhere in between. I had several interviews and several job offers, but none of them seemed quite right. I couldn't get my head and my heart to agree. I eventually accepted an offer in Sandy. I liked the school. I liked the principal. It seemed like the perfect fit. Things were falling into place. But, yet again, life would happen. (Looking back I know I should not have accepted this job. It never felt wrong so I went with it, but it never really felt right either.)

About a month after accepting the job in Sandy, I got another email from this same colleague encouraging me once again to apply for the same position I had applied for 8 months earlier but at a different school. Once again, I applied and didn't get it. This time it hurt a little more. The timing was better. I felt better prepared and more qualified than before. 

Soon after, my colleague asked me to trust her one more time. This job was more of a long shot than the other two had been, but it couldn't hurt to try. It was a whole new position- working with BYU interns and student teachers. I had never done anything like this before. I didn't even go to BYU so I didn't even have the student perspective. The first question in the interview was "What experience do you have with the BYU education partnership?" The only answer I could give was, "Practically none," and right there I knew I wouldn't get it. Why would they hire someone with no experience and no knowledge of the partnership? But they did. "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." Never in a million years would I have planned for this. 

In the middle of this job mess, I was accepted to join a group of teachers on a trip to Finland to study their education system. It was one of the most unique and wonderful experiences of my life. It is not often you get to travel with 30 other people (most of them strangers) who share in your passion for education and teaching to another continent and through 4 countries learning from and growing with them every step of the way. I learned so  much, not only from the people of Finland, but from the people I was with. They are each such strong and gifted people. They affected me and my life in ways they will never know. 

I had the chance to spend 10 days with my best friends in New Jersey/New York/Philadelphia this summer. You know you are best friends when after spending every waking minute together for 10 days you don't want to kill each other and still don't want to leave. Sometimes I feel sorry for Curtis though... the only boy in the group, the only non-teacher... He puts up with a lot from us. 

My family made an impromptu road trip to California for my great uncle's funeral. When you picture road trips with family, I am sure most people picture fighting and not getting along after being stuck in the car for hours with your siblings. Not me. We have never really been like that. I love road tripping with my family. It has been a long time since we have done a true road trip and I think it was much needed for us. Plus, Marcus and Katie got to go to their first MLB game and we got to reconnect with family we hadn't seen in a while. 

 It has been a year/summer of changes and new adventures. Somewhere along the way I think I changed. I morphed into someone that was ready for all this change.