Releasing my students into summer happened a couple of weeks ago (huzzah!). Seeing the room without 34 desks, chairs, and students made it feel huge. On my last day at school, I took time to just sit and my desk and write out that list of suggested books for the summer (see: Young Adult Fiction to Read This Summer)
The adjective to describe my childhood is “old-fashioned.” This is partly because my parents were in their 30-40’s when they decided to have kids, and they treated us the way kids were treated when they were kids back in the 1950’s. This influenced me toward having an “old soul,” with more old-fashioned values and views on life, including my views on women and leadership, but over the last few years I’ve been figuring out what I think about both of these topics.
Especially after being rejected for many teaching jobs the years before, last year it was HARD to start filling out those Applitrack applications after my husband pushed me. He believed I could land another teaching job before I could.
Here’s a passage I wrote last July when I was applying to jobs and trying to figure out my negative emotions; I was answering the question, “Why is applying for teaching jobs so hard?” My answer back then: “I feel shaky inside and scared of being rejected, so it is hard to even try.
Last summer I snapped this photo and wrote these words under it: “Dream big!” I felt those words connected with this photo because of the sunflower was over 10 feet tall! Later that day I applied to the teaching job that I landed the next week. Sometimes nature gives us the inspiration we need to push ahead. I’m glad I’ve been able to be a teacher again!
Recently I received a vicious email from a parent of one of my students, and it was no fun to deal with; however, I learned a helpful strategy on how to deal with anger from this situation. There had been a misunderstanding about that parent’s student, and I had not dealt with it the greatest because it was Friday afternoon, and I was just trying to keep the peace. After talking with a couple fellow teachers, I was able to brush off the angry words and keep perspective. A few months ago, I would have shriveled up under the scorching words, but I have been learning how to respond in a healthy way to anger and not shrivel.
Anger is a messenger that tells us something is wrong, and it also covers over hurt and insecurity. By quickly having other teachers to process the hurtful email with, I was able to get the perspective that this person was showing way more anger than the situation prescribed, and I did not need to let the anger control me. That parent’s anger was theirs, and I didn’t need to let it hurt me. In light of that insight, I waited a day before I responded to the email (to let both of us cool down) and in that period I talked with a wise lady who gave me an even better strategy to help the situation.
Why is 2016 my favorite year when some people are moaning about how bad it was? Well, if you had to wait 34 years before getting married, wouldn’t you agree that the year you finally married your best friend is the best one so far? And if you had been trying to get your career started, but kept getting mediocre jobs until this year–wouldn’t this year be a great one?
My favorite events in 2016 include:
Marrying my Stephen on June 18th, traveling to Hawaii and then having a second reception in Napa, California. Having so many supportive family and friends around us has jump-started our marriage.
Changing my name to Mary Schuh, and getting a full-time teaching job helping junior high students learn to write has been exciting, exhausting, and satisfying. (Having students call me “Mrs. Schuh” multiple times a day helped me learn my new name!)
Finding out that my sister is having a baby girl in February, makes me grin!
Watching the curse over the Cubs be broken made me cry, and my Grandma Winnie would have been so happy that the Cubs won the World Series.
Moving out of my postage stamp studio apartment into a wonderful home provided my husband has been satisfying. We love sitting by the fireplace, and this year is the first time Stephen had a Christmas tree in that house.
2016 had been the year where it feels like I’m getting on with my life, developing my skills deeper than I thought I would, and becoming more intricately connected with wonderful folks.
There is so much hope on the horizon for 2017 — choose to enter in and make the best of what God gives us.
Happy New Year!