Monday, September 14, 2015

Consider on the blessed and happy state...

I keep hearing this scripture in church and other places lately:  Alma 2:41, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

I feel like I am living this right now.  I mean, sure I have some problems.  My life isn't perfect and there are things that trouble me.  But last year was the most discouraging year of work I have faced in my career as a teacher.  I worked long hours, slept less than I needed and never felt like I was doing enough... or really that I WAS enough.  I was as discouraged as I have ever been and felt like I was a terrible teacher and not a good mother or wife either.  I came home exhausted every day and didn't have the energy to be the kind of mom that my children needed.  I was trying to still be a good mom, help my kids with homework, piano practice, serve in my calling, etc.  But I felt like I was failing at pretty much all of it.  Just typing this paragraph brings back some of the pain I experienced.

After a series of events, I made the decision to try to transfer to another school.  This was not an easy decision.  I had been at Parkview for 11 years and love my coworkers and love my students.  I have always felt like if I had to leave my own children to work, then I wanted to be working with kids who really needed great teachers and a warm, caring environment.  But I wasn't sure I was a great teacher anymore.  And I definitely felt like it was impacting the type of parent I was.  So I filled out the paperwork, applied for a transfer, marked positions I was interested in, and began interviewing.  I accepted each interview I was offered.  I really hoped to get a position at the school where my children attended...I figured that would simplify many things for all of us...but I wasn't even asked to interview there (even though another teacher at my school was).  That hurt and added to my feelings of discouragement.  Throughout this time, I was praying sincerely and fasting that I would find the right position.  I asked a few others close to me to pray for me as well.  I was also praying earnestly for several other teachers at my school to find the right job for them (all that were trying to leave were able to find positions elsewhere).  I had 4 interviews and one by one, I heard from the first 3 and was told that I didn't get them.  In hindsight, I realize that 4 interviews is not that many, but I was already pretty beaten down so it just added to my discouragement.  More openings came open one Wednesday morning, a week after Ensign's interview.  I still hadn't heard from them, but I figured I didn't have the job and at lunch, I planned to mark my interest on several more jobs.  That same day, I heard from Ensign and learned I got the 3rd grade position there.  I was thrilled...and scared!

Now I have been in school for 3 weeks.  I have a challenging class with 17 boys and only 7 girls.  A couple of my boys are quite challenging.  But I am so much happier.  Ensign is a calmer place where teachers are respected and trusted.  Parents are involved (but haven't been overwhelming).  The principal is kind and friendly and the atmosphere is calm.  I go home tired every day but not discouraged.  Many of my students are enthusiastic about learning and they come to me with a wealth of background knowledge and experience that I am not used to.  20/23 of my students showed up to Back to School Night (and a parent told me that I came to Ensign highly recommended...not sure by whom, but it made me feel great).

Better yet, my children are at our neighborhood school this year and they are thriving!  They are happy, making friends (Gabby always complained that she only had 1 friend at Jackson...now she talks happily about 5 or 6 friends after just 3 weeks), enjoying school.  They don't have to spend an hour of their day in the car driving to/from school which gives them more free time.  Michelle is in jr. high and is involved in the school play as well as intramural soccer (plus taking Quest classes, French 1 and several other classes).  She is happy and loving most parts of junior high.

I made a commitment this year that we would say a family prayer in the morning, something we have historically been very bad at...mornings have always been rushed...and while we have missed a day or two, we are doing pretty well.  I feel like, for the most part, there is a calmer spirit in our home.  I am getting what I need to accomplished in less time and getting an hour more sleep most nights than I did last year.  It feels nothing short of miraculous.  Seriously, miraculous.  Not everything is perfect.  We still have challenges and I still have many, many areas of weakness that I need to overcome.  But I know that my prayers were answered.  I know that I am where I belong.  I have felt welcomed at Ensign.  Everyone has been helpful and kind.  In fact, I didn't move as much as I could have/should have when I moved to Ensign.  I left my pencil sharpener which was an anonymous gift two years ago.  I was really bummed about that.  But on Thursday, I was in the faculty room sharpening pencils and my teammate came in.  She saw me and asked if I had a pencil sharpener in my room.  Then she proceeded to tell me that the PTA had donated 2 to her classroom last year (and other supplies to each teacher) and that I could have one.  She walked me to her room right then and gave me this pencil sharpener that she's only used for a month.  So very kind.  I am so very blessed and my family has been blessed.  While righteous living doesn't always bring immediate rewards, there are blessings and peace of mind when we do what is right.  And for that, I am so, so thankful!