I have come to the end of my first year as a full-time classroom teacher, and what a whirlwind it has been. As I reflect on my experience so far, the only way I can think to sum it all up is by saying: it did not go as expected. The things that I thought would be challenging went smoothly and the things I thought would go smoothly were a challenge. To be completely honest, I can’t help but look back at this significant year with discouragement.
Through all of this, though, I have been made aware of something that lies deep within me, that I did not notice as clearly before. I have come to realise that I am always searching. Searching for fulfillment and purpose, for love and joy, for acceptance and appreciation. This is what we all have in common. We are all constantly searching for something more. This does not mean that I haven’t found love and joy and acceptance – I am blessed with so much here on earth – but it does mean that whenever I start to think that something will fulfill me completely, I end up being disappointed. I end up being forced to recognise that there is a greater calling, and that my identity will not be found in the things of this world.
I thought that becoming a full-time classroom teacher would bring the purpose and satisfaction that I had been waiting to find. I entered last year thinking that if I did my best work and was thankful for the opportunity I had been given to teach, I would be appreciated and would ‘make a difference’. So, when the appreciation I received was balanced with negative judgement, and when the ‘difference’ I had made wasn’t clear to see, I became discouraged and disappointed.
Going into the New Year I will be honest and say that I am still questioning whether or not teaching is something that I will stay in long-term. Having said this though, I feel a little more equipped for what is ahead of me. I am slowly beginning to realise that as long as I am here on earth there will always be a longing within me for something more. I was created for more. The longing within me is not a failing, but a beautiful reminder to turn to God, the creator, who is the only one who can satisfy and bring fulfillment and purpose. I am not Mrs T – the teacher. I am Mrs T, the wonderfully and fearfully made daughter of God, called to love and encourage and serve the students in my care.
The older I get the more I believe that there is no ‘one right job’ for a person. God uses us where we are. So, as the new school year approaches I will try to remind myself that whether my hard work seems appreciated or not, and whether I can see the results of what I’ve been working on with my students or not, I won’t find my purpose in my role as a teacher. Rather, my role as a teacher will become purposeful once I acknowledge that it is simply the position that I have been placed in to do God’s work at this time.