School starts this week.
For the first time since I began my career, this does not paralyze me with anxiety.
I am entering into my fourth year as a public school educator. In the past, the start of the year has come with a great deal of stress. There is the extreme awkwardness of what to say to a room full of new students on the first day of school. A significant amount of physical adjustment is required to adapt to new schedules, new routines, and new dynamics in the classroom. I always lament that I did not “do enough” during the summer, and therefor wish I had more time to be on break. Until now, new school years have started almost exactly the same way.
I think I am reaching a place where I have been doing this just long enough to feel like I know what I’m doing. I have tried a few things, and I now know what works and what doesn’t in making a connection with my students during the first few days of the new year. I know how to pace myself so that I do not crash at the end of the day. I know what difficulties to anticipate, and avoid or deflect accordingly, so that I can focus on what I love about my job.
So, here I am, still very early in my career, but gaining experience. Dare I say it? I am excited about my first day of classes.
It happened faster than I thought, too. It feels like just yesterday I was in my first education class in college, wondering if I was making the right choice. Student teaching, my master’s fellowship, and looking for a job are all complete. Things I remember believing would never happen have come and gone, and I am on to new aspirations.
I am amazed that despite my mistakes, my frustration, and my brashness, despite my selfishness, foolishness, and pride, life is still good. If I had to be truly honest with myself, I know that I do not deserve good things. Even the “good” things I have done were acted out according to my own agenda. Yet, in the end, I am blessed.
This convinces me that life is a gift, given to me out of the goodness of the heart of our Father. It is given not because I earned it, and not because I had the strength on my own to work my way here; it was given to me simply because I am loved.
So, when I go into work tomorrow and I do not have fear over what is coming, I know it is not because of my amazing talent as a teacher or my extraordinary perseverance as a human. Time passed and events occurred whether or not I participated, and somehow I have made it to this day. No, I will wake up excited tomorrow simply because I am loved, and loved fiercely, without reservation, without condition, so much so that despite my own weakness, failure, and imperfection, our perfect Father pours His perfection out upon me. When I wake in the morning, the King who maintains galaxies by force of will alone will condescend to whisper in my ear, hold me up, and see me through the day. In all His might, in all His wisdom, he chooses to give me such gifts.
How could I not love Him?