Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Prime Opportunity"

The words "Prime Opportunity" keep popping up in my life. Two instances specifically pop into mind -- one has a negative connotation while the other is positive. I'll start off with the negative first in order to end the blog on a positive note ;-)

Negative "Prime Opportunity"

I subbed today at the same Middle School I subbed for a few weeks ago. In fact, it was for the same teacher. I've subbed at the school a total of 4 times, all in the same classroom, under 2 different teachers.

The morning started off with early morning bus duty (6:30!) followed by my first class consisting of 8th graders. All they had to do was sit quietly and watch Mary Poppins. What should have been a very normal, quiet class quickly turned into chaos. I saw two girls starting to get into an argument and before I could get them to stop (well, let's be honest, I was having a hard enough time trying to keep the whole class talking softly, that there really wasn't any chance of preventing what happened next. . . ) they turned on each other. In a blink of an eye, they stood up, threw chairs away, and started wailing on each other. And by wailing, I mean throwing punches, pulling hair, scratching, slapping -- you name it.

Being a pro at in-classroom fights (something I wish I couldn't claim), I quickly got students back, and sent for reinforcement. Realizing the girls were escalating in viciousness, I had to step in between the two - not a place I desired to be. I only intervened because another student had intervened and was pulling one girl away, allowing me to step in and push the other girl in the opposite direction. The girls were quickly separated (one in the room, the other out) and another teacher stepped in and got the rest of the class settled.

Later, I was informed by the school officer (that's right, there was an officer at the school -- all day long) that this was an issue that should have been settled long ago. Supposedly the two girls hadn't been getting along and instead of seeking help, they saw the sub (me) as a "prime opportunity" to beat the tar out of each other. (And by the swollen, puffy face of one of the girls, I'd say they tried their best).

Needless to say, I wanted to cry and go home. First off, being in that kind of a situation is scary, especially not knowing how far the two girls'll go or who's gonna step in and continue the beating. Second, it makes me feel like a failure as a teacher because I couldn't keep my class in control. I know I was just a victim of "prime opportunity" and it could have happened to anybody. It's just hard to realize that, when I was the "anybody".

Positive "Prime Opportunity"

About a month ago, I received a rather strange call from my teaching idol Mrs. Berry. She was my 7th grade Social Studies teacher and is the main reason I decided to go into education. We've kept in touch through the years via email, and the last time we talked was briefly at our wedding 2 years ago (this just sets up how strange getting the phone call was!).

She had a proposition for me. She will be out of town for 2.5 weeks and was panicking about who would cover her class. She has never missed more than 2 days in a row and couldn't just let any sub walk in and take over for two weeks. She asked me if I would be willing to at least "think" about filling her shoes while she was gone.

I went back and forth about what to do. I, without a doubt, wanted to jump at that opportunity. It has always been my dream to return and teach at my alma mater -- Western. However, life has taken a different route and that dream remained just that -- a dream. Before Mrs. Berry had called, I had been reading a book from one of my college classes (okay I admit, I was supposed to read the book freshman year and never even opened it once). Oddly enough, the book is called Inside Mrs. B's Classroom (an interesting read about an intern in a Teach for Chicago program), The last chapter I had read before my very own Mrs. B called me, was a chapter about coincidences; however, it explained that there are no coincidences, just markers on the path of life telling you you're in the right direction. I knew, right away, that Mrs. Berry calling me, and the opportunity to sub/teach at Western was just a marker on my journey.

It sounds crazy, but this "prime opportunity" means a whole lot more to me than just subbing or money. I took it as a great honor not only for Mrs. Berry to personally seek me out, but the fact that she went to the corporate office and had them approve me to take her place. The hardest part about accept the opportunity is the amount of time. It'll be hard to be away from Steve that way, but as they say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder". And on a plus side, fall break falls right in the middle of those 2.5 weeks. As of now, we're planning on meeting up in Lima to house hunt!

It seems crazy to be gone Oct 4-22, especially a midst a relocation. However, I made this commitment a month ago, and will see it through. Plus, God made it apparent to me that I needed to do this, and He knew the timing. After all, it's not a coincidence that this subbing opportunity falls right in the middle of relocation, it's just another marker on the path. I guess this is just one more thing to chalk up on the "Trusting God" list!

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