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Tabs' Blog

God's Got My Back

Tabitha Helms

Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is because God is a great orchestrator. Take a glimpse with me.... Fall semester of my credential program was finished. I said farewell to my beloved kindergartners and began anxiously awaiting the news to see where I would be placed for the spring. I remembered that praying about it seemed to work great for the first semester....praying to be relatively close to home, somewhere that I could grow and become even more confident in my new role as teacher. This time the prayer sent heavenward was more along the lines me wherever is best with someone I will work well with...anywhere except fifth grade please. Thank you. Amen.

Guess where God put me? 5th grade. With an amazing teacher in a great school with some fun kids. Okay God, haha, pretty funny. You have a nice sense of humor. The first 8 weeks were overwhelming. I didn't like 5th grade very much. I enjoyed the kids and their age, but there was just so much content to cover and not enough time. We were constantly falling behind. I did NOT want to teach 5th grade!

A couple weeks ago I began my full time student teaching. I'm settling in a lot better. I actually like fifth grade now. I think being there one day a week at first was just too much. We moved so quickly that each week I was there was never covering the same information. I saw no pattern in what they were learning. Being there full time teaching math every day as well as some reading groups, I get it. I see the pattern. It is so much easier for me to see where we are going and where we have come from and when we'll be moving on. There seems to be less planning involved than in kindergarten. I just follow the curriculum book; it's great. I've become a lot more confident in teaching math, and I think I'm pretty good at it too! :)

I was babysitting a few weeks ago and got wind from a teacher friend of mine that her school was looking for.....can you guess it? A fifth grade teacher for next year! Of course. I sent in a resume and was contacted for an interview. When we did interviews in class and talked about the kinds of things we would be asked, it always made me nervous. I got anxious thinking about all the crazy questions and in depth answers and acronyms of everything. But that was for public school. Private school is a whole other realm. I found as the day approached for my interview, the nerves just weren't there. It didn't matter that I went to Disneyland the day before instead of preparing possible questions and answers. Sure, I read up on common questions and thought about them briefly, but it wasn't a whole lot.

You want to know the reason for my ease in the situation? One, I had a lot of people praying for me, which is awesome. But most of all, I just wasn't worried about it. I knew that I was going to do my best, and I knew that God had a plan and a purpose. If I held up my end by giving 100%, then he would take care of the rest. If that's the school God wants me to teach at, then I don't really need to do any convincing of the people I'm speaking with. He will be the one that puts the urge on their hearts. I had no doubt that whatever happened in that interview, that God would be in charge. He has a place for me next year. No doubt. I don't know where that is, but I know he's got it figured out. And that's enough for me.

I was amazed at the difference in my own heart and attitude when it came to a private school versus a public school setting. I was so much more calm. There was less anxiety and there was an eagerness driving me instead of a fear. I have always known that I had a heart....a calling, for private school. I loved going to private school. It was a place where I grew and flourished. It's not a good environment for everybody. You have to have the right attitude about being there. But it was the right place for me. I hate the politics that come up in the public school setting. I hate that holding onto a job in public school depends on how well your students score on their tests. I hate that there is so much gossip and talking behind peoples' backs. It's just not uplifting. At first, just because jobs are so scarce, I was losing sleep thinking about whether or not I should apply to both private and public schools. But being in my student teaching and observing how things work, it was confirmed for me. I know that my place is at private school. It would be pointless for me pursue a job in a place I do not feel called to be in just because I want more job security. God would provide for me, since I firmly believed he was the one putting that desire on my heart. So, that decision made, I began filling out applications and updating my resume.

And then came today. I dressed for success and arrived early to my destination where I had traveled last week after school one day to make sure I knew how to get there and wasn't going to get lost relying on my GPS. I popped into the office and met the principal. Because I was early she told me to go pop in on my teacher friend to watch her teach the middle schoolers. It was fun being in her class again....haven't done that since high school history! :) After an amusing time seeing her interact with a group of junior highers that are not typically in class together and were a little rambunctious (which I was relieved to see someone I think of as a great teacher attempting to calm down such joviality in a similar manner to which I would attempt to do) I headed back to the office. We met up with another individual who was to interview me and we headed to the computer lab.

Still there were no nerves, and I have to tell you it was the most pleasant experience. Both women were so nice and easy to talk to. I felt like I was sitting down for a little get-together with some women from church or something. I chuckled to myself that they had heard nothing but good things about me so far (yay for having good connections!) and proceeded to inquire as to my marital status. No idea why that came up first, but it amused me that by the end of the interview they were saying, "You have a great smile, it just lights up with the joy that you have inside of you. I can't believe you are single! I'm wracking my brains trying to think of who I know...." hahaha. On a more serious note, they seemed very captured by me, and I by them. They pronounced that I would be a perfect fit for their staff there. Wow! They were very curious to hear me sing after finding out I was the worship intern at my church. They reassured me that the current 5th grade teacher would be easily accessible in her new middle level science position to be helping me out as a great resource. That had been one of my concerns about being the only 5th grade teacher there.

Hearing about their school was a huge sigh of relief inside of me. I would have roughly 16 students in my class. 16 STUDENTS! I have 29 right now and it's a handful. There are so many different levels and needs in such a large classroom. This school is very flexible in teaching content, so when I sense my students are not understanding a concept, I have complete freedom to change my plans and slow down my lessons. If an important social or spiritual issue comes up that is on my heart to talk to them about, I can stop teaching content and take time for that. What a blessing! This school is not driven by tests and scores and results. It is driven by a desire to pour into the students and raise them up as godly individuals who know they are loved and have a desire to learn. This school does not advertise at all. Their enrollment is completely word of mouth. As a result, the teachers and students very rarely leave. People are there because they want to be there and it is a good place to be.

I am in love. What a gem of a place. My only concern is that I might have other offers from other schools. It's funny to me that there is so much talk about how there are no jobs, how I'd be lucky to sub a little, how difficult things are for teachers. And yet, God has given me overflow. Instead of not enough, I feel like I will be having too many. Instead of seeking, I will have to spend my time in diligent prayer to seek where God wants me to be. I wish he could make that clear by only giving me one offer. I guess he wants me to spend some time with him--just listening for his still, small voice. I love that I don't have to worry about these things. I love that God's got my back.

I'm going back to the school on Tuesday to observe a day in 5th grade there. How wonderful is that? They already want me back, experiencing their day to day routine. I am so utterly blessed and thankful. My heart is overflowing. :)