Monday, April 27, 2009

My Story (Part 2)

I left teaching music to stay home and raise my boy. What a wonderful adventure this would be...but we ended up not being able to afford to live on one salary, so I went back to teaching music. I got an offer to teach Chorus at at large middle school in Rock Hill. I cried every night the two weeks before school knowing FOR SURE that middle schoolers were going to EAT ME ALIVE!

Sure enough, some major changes happened with elective classes the year I began teaching middle school and my classes were HUGE! I had 60 eighth grade students in one class and 60 eighth grade students in another class. Many of them didn't sign up for chorus, so their behavior was ridiculous. Anyway...that's a whole other story/post.

The important thing is that during that first year, I really fell in love with some middle school students and began to LOVE teaching this age group. I stayed at my school for three years, teaching chorus and general music. Then I found out I was expecting baby number 2.

This time I was going to stay home and make it work!!! That idea lasted for a very few months. I couldn't handle being at home all day every day with two babies...just needed adult interaction too badly, so I took a part time job at my church. I stayed in that job for two years, at which time I left (working at) the church to go work for a local real estate broker. Just working part time...doing odds and ends. A little bookkeeping, a little PR, a little errand running, etc. Well, guess what...I QUICKLY learned to D-E-T-E-S-T that job. I was miserable...more miserable than I think I had ever been in a job. There were so many reasons I was miserable, and I will not go into all of them, but please know that I'm not kidding I was miserable.

This point in my life/career is when God really got ahold of my heart and began working a miracle. I began to feel like I NEEDED, not wanted, but NEEDED to get back into the school district as a teacher. And although I love music and singing I really didn't care if I taught music or not. I have a certifcation in elementary education so I am a little more marketable than someone with just a music certification. God was working, not just in my heart, but in the hearts of others who would be instrumental in my getting back into education. This is where the story gets very interesting!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Story (Part 1)

Can you tell a story? Do you have a story to tell? I remember on one of the LOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGG trips from SC to my grandparents' home in Louisiana, I was telling my mom and brother about a movie I had mom interrupted my story and said "Robin, you're such a good story teller." That was all it took...I have "enhanced" every part of my life since that day with stories. I love to tell them...just ask my students. Sometimes they are very short and silly, and sometimes they are longer and more meaningful, just as the one I'm about to tell you. I won't keep you hanging any longer. Here's my story:

I was raised in a Christian home. I've known God since as long as I can remember. I remember that I publicly asked Jesus into my heart when I was six, but I knew LONG before then that He was the author of the way I wanted to live my life. No...I didn't use those words, because I was only six, but I knew Him and that I loved Him and He loved (loves) me and I wanted to live for Him. There were times throughout my life that I didn't do all the things God would have me do, and I didn't act the way God would have me act, but I ALWAYS knew God loved (loves) me and I have always come back to Him.

When people ask me (usually only at church and not very often) about my salvation I say something like "I don't really have an amazing, transforming story of my salvation because I've been a follower of Christ as long as I can remember." I know that in itself is a pretty fabulous story, but it doesn't make for a very intriguing story of salvation...if you are a Believer and have heard any amazing salvation stories, you know what I mean.

So, for most of my life...really until 2005, that was my story. God chose me before I was born, God provided an amazing family who are Believers who raised me to Believe. But in 2005, God did something in my life that was AMAZING to me and showed me, in real life, how much He loves me and how important I am to Him!

My father is a music professor...from a long line of musicians/teachers, and my mother is a math teacher, also from a long line of teachers. My mother is also musical...both sides of my family are well educated, musical, educators. My parents raised me to make my own decisions, including what I wanted to study in college and what I wanted to do for a living. I just happened to choose to study music (voice, particularly) and then He led me to teach music. Similar to my father, only I was not AT ALL interested in higher education to the extent required to teach on the college level. So I graduated from college with a pretty great foundation of music, voice, choir and choral music, and went to an elementary school. My first teaching job started in January of 1994 at a very small elementary school in the Northwest corner of Greenville County. In order for me to be a full-time employee of the school district, I actually had to teach music to two different schools, which is not uncommon for those who teach a fine art in elementary school.

I taught music in two elementary schools for 3.5 years. I was MISERABLE in my work. This was NOT what I had worked so hard to do...why did I have to drive to two different places almost every day, to be a babysitter for teachers who only got one 40 minute planning period, three (maybe four) times/week. Please keep in mind that the period of time I used to drive from one school to the next was considered my planning time. In the 3.5 years I taught elementary school, I had one school that was considered my "home base" but I taught at three other elementary schools, and never had a real classroom at any of those three schools. My classroom was mobile and it was on a cart...I rolled to each classroom on my cart and we did a really bad class. Did I tell you already that I was MISERABLE???

In order to help myself escape the misery, I volunteered to lead an area rehearsal once each week during the Spring for a children's choir that performed in a large concert toward the end of the year. I did this for 3 was somewhat of a relief, but still not able to do the really great choral music I learned while I was studying. But I did it anyway.

During these 3.5 years, I met and married my wonderful husband. He was GREAT! But he got really tired of hearing me complain about work....which I did a lot of because, if you don't already know, I WAS MISERABLE!!! The Spring after we married I went to him and said "Honey, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do, but I can't keep doing this. I'm miserable. I would rather answer the telephone for a doctor or attorney than to keep doing this!!!" He was extremely supportive and told me that he would do whatever he could to help me find a job I could tolerate, but that we couldn't afford for me to not work. During one of those after school, area rehearsals, I had the opportunity to talk to the district Fine Arts Director and just mentioned to him that I was planning to resign. I said that I had gotten stuck in the circle of elementary music, was no longer in the loop of the larger music world in my district and didn't have any idea if there was a high school job open. He asked me what it would take for me to stay, and I said "Get me a job in a high school, and then we'll talk." So he did...he contacted the principal of the high school with the Choral Director opening and set up the interview.

I got that job and didn't quit teaching. I taught at Berea High School for one school year and LOVED it! Greg had been transferred to the Charlotte area and was living in Rock Hill during the week (in a really bad rented room in a boarding house here) and coming back to Greenville on the weekends. It was really a great set up for us because I was able to devote as much after school time as needed to the choral program at the high school and didn't ever feel guilty about being away from home.

Then in January of 2008 we became pregnant with Caleb. I finished out the school year at Berea, but Greg's transfer to the Charlotte area was final and I resigned to move and to be a full-time mom. How exciting! God allowed me to have a wonderful year in the final year that I was going to teach...because now, as I had planned it, I would be home teaching the most important lessons I'd ever teach in my life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Break!!!

WOOOO HOOOOO!!!! We're on Spring Break this week. BOY, did we all need it. The kids were getting tired of each other, and the teachers...and the teachers were getting tired of the kids and of each other. Hahaha! I hope this will get us through the next seven weeks!

We really don't have too long left at all if you put it in perspective like this: We have about 3 weeks or a month until the PASS test then only three weeks until school's over after PASS. It seems so much shorter when I say it that way.

My own children have already been scheduled for at least two weeks of the summer, with my oldest planning a week of "Uncle Randy Camp" (learning to play guitar), Grandpa camp (spending a week with my f-i-l), and trying to plan a week of Aunt Becky camp (a week with my step-sister in Washington D.C.). He's gonna keep me in the road, I'm afraid.

My youngest is still too young for me to let her go for that many weeks...I know, I need to cut the apron strings, but she's still my baby. Ah well...there will be plenty of time for me to let her go later! ;-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Big Move

Well, it's time for contracts to come out and be signed. I have LOVED teaching at my school this year. So I was a bit upset today, when many other teachers in my building received an email saying "your contract is ready to be signed" and I didn't. Never fear...I did not lose my job, which is especially fantastic considering all the cuts school districts are experiencing right now. But my principal did call me in and tell me that I'm being moved from 7th grade to 6th grade.

I'm not super happy about it, but I will make the best of the situation and I feel sure that I will learn to love 6th graders just as much as I love 7th graders.

Please just keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare for this change and move my classroom. That part is REALLY bothering me! :)