Next week, middle schoolers across the state will begin taking standardized tests. This includes my math students at Lead Academy.
Most teachers love the few weeks after testing and before the end of the year, since they get to come up with fun and engaging projects. Not me. My expertise is not in designing and leading projects, and I’m more about “working hard” than “having fun.” (Not exactly what middle schoolers look for in a teacher.)
Have I Enjoyed Teaching?
Over the past few months, when people have asked me if I’ve enjoyed teaching, I . . . hesitate . . . and . . . pause . . . for . . . a . . . while. . . . That is usually all the answer they need.
The truth is, I have enjoyed the opportunity to teach. I know that this job was the provision my family needed, since our situation requires me to have a part-time job, in addition to my work with Mill Community Ministries. And I’m glad that I was able to fill a emergency need at Lead Academy.
(Side note: I’ve seen more and more how the mission of Lead and the mission of Mill Community match up, except at Mill Community we get to add the gospel piece to it. It’s why I’m a big fan of this school, and I think you should be, too.)
God has taught me a lot through teaching. He has matured me (I think) and exposed some sin issues in my heart. And for that I am thankful.
I have seen . . .
- that enduring is a hallmark of faith (James 1:2-4; Matthew 24:13).
- that I often fail to ask God for wisdom, but I need to do so more (James 1:5-6).
- that I live in fear, not of my students or other people, but in fear that my performance is not good enough. I need to remember that God is glorified in my weakness, and I need to keep moving forward in faith (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- that having more responsibility than I feel I can handle is a good thing.
- that no matter what, I must remember that Jesus cares about my students way more than I ever could (John 3:16).
- that teaching involves a lot of moving parts. A LOT! We need to support teachers, especially those in public schools.
This last part is why I pause when I’m asked if I’ve enjoyed this job. I love the opportunity and I love the theory behind it, but it’s not what I’m wired up and equipped to do. The continuous and fast-moving demands tax me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that leaves me little energy to devote to my family and my role with Elevate Youth.
I don’t feel like I am personally sacrificing by working 2 near-full time jobs. After all, I am merely using the time, energy, and resources that God has given me for each day. But my family and my other job are having to sacrifice (or be “cheated”) by what I’m doing. They are having to do with less (of me).
Not that this is all bad. My children need to learn to sacrifice. And they know that me working this extra job is for a short-season and with a specific purpose. (When I asked Elijah why he thought I was working two jobs he said, “To provide for our family, and because Lead had a need.”)
But when it comes to my role in Mill Community Ministries and Elevate Youth, I know that I have not been able to develop as much as I’ve wanted to. I’ve basically just maintained what we already had going on, namely Clubhouse Kids and Powered for Life.
As I look to the fall and the next school year, I will still need a part-time job to supplement our work with Mill Community. As it looks now, I don’t see that our ministry sustainable enough financially to support us full-time.
However, I do know that I cannot be a teacher for 4-5 hours per day (besides the time for planning, etc), or any other role that requires half of my day and over half of my mental and emotional energy.
Eventually, I’d like to not have to work nearly as much in second jobs, or none at all, if possible. But I can only do this if we can solidify and grow our financial support. I’m working on this through raising financial support and applying for grants.
You can help. If you know of any grants that fit our mission, can you please let me know, especially if you know a contact person over that foundation?
And if you want to join our team of financial supporters, we’d love to partner with you. You can visit the MCM Financial Support page (please designate your gift for Elevate Youth), or contact me for more info.