Today I travel down a familiar path and return to the world of K-12 education. I’ve missed it here. I learned so much about who I am and who God is in my life during my previous journeys in this area and I am blessed beyond belief to be able to return to it. I do, however, find it quite funny that after three years at the middle school level, I will now venture on to work with high school students. Granted, the students that I will work with are not my babies from middle school, but instead a fresh bunch of kiddos who will learn to love the sarcastic realness that comes from Ms. Michelle.
During my interview one of the assistant principals asked me, “if we were to ask your past students, what are three things that they would say about you?” It was an interview so obviously I didn’t tell them that the kids would probably say that I was lax with them as long as their work was completed or that they came to me with ALL of their middle school drama in the strictest of confidence. Instead, I told them that the kids would say that I was tough but that I loved them.
And that is so true.
Each student that I engaged with during my time in the school system holds a special place in my heart. And to be honest, my students who received Special Education services hold an even more special place in my heart. I can vividly recall walking the halls on any given day and being stopped every couple of feet to hear from a student what was happening in their day. I always had a listening ear and a ready witty line to impart on the students before they went their own way. I could tell when they needed true help, versus when they needed me to remind them of their duties as a student. “Complete your assignment first and then we can talk,” a line that was spoken almost daily. They were my babies, yes, but students first- the work must be done.
Education is the greatest Karma of them all…
Ok, when I signed up to work in the school system, I had no idea that I would have to relearn EVERYTHING that I was ever taught! Every day I looked at those kids and told them the truth, “you will see this information again,” because whether they become teachers or parents or employed adults, the concepts that they learned in school would forever be with them. How did I know, because I was pulling on information that I myself had learned over 20 years ago.
At the start of every new topic, in every subject, in every grade, I had to relearn what some understandably tired and severely underpaid teacher had tried to teach me 20+ years ago. I had to relearn it and be able to simplify that information so that the student that I was working with would be able to grasp this concept (and its importance) in real time. TEACHING IS HARD AND NOT FOR THE FAINT AT HEART! I commend those who have dedicated their lives to educating the future. Me on the other hand, I have dedicated my life to helping the future.
Passion. Purpose. Paycheck.
A few years ago (less than three, but I don’t remember exactly), I declared that God was in the process of aligning my heart’s passion, with His divine purpose, and that from it I would be financially secure (the paycheck). I had NO clue what He would lead me to and, to be honest, I never imagined that it would involve the youth. He had birthed God Happened To ME within me but I always thought that my “audience” was young adult to middle-aged women. But then, God happened and He revealed that my testimony was for the teens.
If you have read anything that I have ever written about my testimony, you then know that I keep it real. I don’t sugarcoat much and I am very honest. How then could God think it wise to pair me with teenage girls??? I was so confused until the moment I shared my story with a group of girls during an after-school mentoring session.
In a room full of middle school aged girls I shared my deepest hurt…and cried as a group of girls pulled me aside to confess that they, too, had experienced what I had just described. Their honesty caused the tears to flow endlessly from my eyes.
It all made sense. I could finally see why God had placed me with kids. He placed me with these babies because they are where I used to be- hurt and confused and in need of a tremendous amount of love. Thankfully, I had (and still have) so much to give.
I realize that my job may not be glamorous and many may never understand how someone with my experience or years lived would desire to be in this occupational position… but this is my lane. This is my ministry and gift lane coming together beautifully. This is the time for me to take everything that God has given me and give to others; this is the time for me to take everything that God has taught me and teach others. This is God saying…