Saturday, June 16, 2012

Achieving Goals

I've always been a goal-setter.  I am a big believer in setting standards for oneself, then working towards achieving those standards.  For the past two years, my goal has been to become a Special Education Teacher.  As of June 11, my goal has been achieved.  June 11, this past Monday, I received my transfer paperwork from Human Resources.  This paperwork changed my status from Special Ed. Paraprofessional in the Communications Class at ____ Elementary to Special Ed. Teacher in the Academic, Vocational, Life Skills (AVLS) Class at _______ Elementary. 

The funny thing about goals, though, is that you never really stop once you've achieved them.  The metaphorical mountain that is ascended must be descended; a goal achieved must be accomplished in some form or another.  For me, I have now acquired the position, but I must also fulfill it.  So, training has begun.  After 260 hours of classwork, I now enter a period of training on procedures, curriculum, and technology.  I had the opportunity to meet the team of teachers that I will be working with on Wednesday at a training day.  I had the opportunity to sub for a couple of them in the school year before last when I was subbing.  (In truth, I got the job in large part due to subbing.  I had viewed substitute teaching as an extended job interview, and in fact, it really was.)

The job seems pretty perfect to me:  I will be working at the same school that Jesse and Lily attend; I already know a lot of the teachers that I will be working with; I like all of the teachers I will be working with; I know all of my students except one; and I have a great deal of confidence in the administration of the school.  All this, plus, the school is five minutes from my house.  Seriously, I couldn't have planned this all myself.  I know God's Hand is all over this.  To express all of the moves and changes that had to happen for this position to even become available would take a while.  It has truly been a blessing, and I am so grateful. 

Having said all of this, I have to say for anyone who is out there struggling to attain a goal:  Don't let discouragement get the best of you.  REALLY.  To that end, it is staggering to me to think of how much negative stuff people told me as I was switching careers.  Mostly, I heard, "That is soooo hard!  Are you sure you want to do that?  It takes a special kind of person to do that..."  People said this because they only viewed me in one perspective; to most people who knew me, I was the women's ministry leader at my church.  I taught preschool.  No one knew my educational or professional background.  Did I mind?  Not really.  I just thought to myself, "Maybe I'm that special kind of person...." Also, I think it taught me not to cast aspersions on someone else's dream.  Just because something doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean that it doesn't have appeal to someone else.  Our viewpoints are so narrow and so limiting.  I've learned these last couple of years that we get in a lot of trouble if we only view things from our narrow perspective.  We have to be a lot less egocentric if we're going to truly get along with others. 

More recently, someone told me that I had "a snowball's chance in hell" of being hired by this district.  I had another person tell me that "subbing did nothing for me".  I guess I should thank the God of snowballs like me!  I learned that just because someone is older, or even in a position of authority, doesn't necessarily mean that they know what is best for you.  I had to continue to believe God and motivate on my knowledge of Him.  I also had to ask myself how badly I wanted to teach.  At the end of the day, if a little discouragement can dissuade you from your goal, then you aren't really committed to that goal.

I hope my kids will learn from all of this.  I want them to see that some things are worth working hard for.  I don't ever want them to fear hard work and accomplishment.  There is a great deal to be gained from diligence.

Many blessings,


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