Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: Someone Else's Eyes

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Someone Else's Eyes

In life, change is inevitable.  Many life changes are celebrated such as entering kindergarten, graduating from high school, getting married, and having your first child.  Other life changes come with mourning such as deaths, loss of jobs, and disapproval from important people in our lives.  Through these changes there are always people watching us, whether it be a guiding watch, an observational watch or a disapproving watch.  While some people could care less what those that watch us are thinking, people like me worry and agonize over what the watcher's eyes are seeing and thinking through each change in life.

It has taken me many years to overcome my worry of what others think.  Although the worry is somewhat still present, it is less invasive than it used to be.  However, no matter how old you get, there is always someone else watching you, judging you, and evaluating you and it is often difficult to not worry about what other's are seeing in you through their eyes.  Recently change has occurred in our town that have upset the comfort of each elementary teacher in the district.  With the closure of one of our neighborhood schools due to budget short falls, teachers have had to pack their rooms, deal with reassignments, and learn to work with a new group of co-workers and students. Some received their first choice of assignment while others received their last.  Some were simply told they just didn't know where they would be placed. 

I was one of the "some" that were told they were in the limbo.

 Everything worked out-I remained teaching kindergarten/1st grade special education and I couldn't have be happier.  My student's and I have sung songs, learned nursery rhymes, created books, participated in hand claps, read Aesop's Fables, and learned sign language-all while learning how to read, write, and count.  I loved the excitement in their eyes when I would share with them what we would be working on each day and adored the smile and sparkle they had in them when they "got it".  Extra bonuses? The hugs I received each day, the hands reaching out for mine when walking in the hall, and the effort they put forth to impress their teachers.

This past week while I prepared my classroom for summer and took down our art work, projects, bulletin boards, and star work I smiled knowing that I was right where I needed to be with my career path.  However halfway through the week I was pulled from my classroom and told that I would be reassigned once again and this time it was to an elementary building with 4th -6th graders.  I shook my head in disbelief. I screamed through my tears that they were making the wrong decision and that I have no experience at the upper grades.  I pleaded with them saying that my talents were with the younger kids.  My feelings went from disbelief, to anger, to grief, to determination.  I was angry that I had to go through the unknown for the 2nd year in a row and felt as though the higher ups were ripping me from all I have ever known in my career and throwing me somewhere I didn't belong.  In my heart, I knew God put me on this earth to work with young children and I wasn't going to let them go against God's plan for me.

I contacted a neighboring district that day.  I asked if they were still looking for a K-2nd grade special education teacher.  They said they were for a part time position and please consider sending my materials in.  That I did and had an interview on Thursday.  I knew we couldn't afford part time as a family but I went in hopes of it maybe becoming full time.  My interview went fine-not great-but fine.  I was relaxed, asked them a lot of questions, and let them know that my heart was in teaching. After the tour of the building, they offered me the job on the spot.  They gave me one day to think it over. 

Thursday was a busy day of number crunching and phone calls as well as discussion with Eric.  Could we do this financially? Was there a reason this position happened to be open?  Was God intending on me to take this new path after the news I had received from my current district?   Things fell into place and the next morning I accepted the position.  I prayed about it throughout the night and by 8:00am the next morning I was confident in my decision.

 I submitted my resignation to the Newton Schools with a shaky hand.  I worried about what others saw through their eyes.  Did they think I was running away? Did they believe I wasn't a good teacher? I shook the thoughts away and held my head high. I know where I belong and am confident with the direction I chose.  I am now going to be teaching part time in the Grinnell Community School District and I will be where I belong-with kindergarten through 2nd grade students. The afternoons I will plan on subbing as much as possible, however the freedom of being able to spend the afternoon with the kids on their birthday's and having an afternoon off to do housework makes me feel like I could fly!

Tuesday will be harder on me than usual, as it is the last day of school.  I always have tears as I hug my students goodbye, but this year I will be hugging them a little tighter.  It is hard knowing that I won't be coming back in the fall to see my students in the halls.  It is hard to walk away from 6 years of serving students in Newton.  I have poured my heart and soul into these kids and will miss them all very much.

As hard as it is to say goodbye, in my heart I know that there is another group of students waiting to reach out their hands to mine while walking down the hallway. 


You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.

~Dr. Seuss

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