Saturday, September 18, 2010

hello from Alexandria, VA!

Hi everyone! So I'm not sure who still reads this... but I'm back! I know I didn't blog much at all this year. Grad school was a crazy whirlwind - it was long but yet too short. I have finished my Masters degree in a year, and it still feels surreal how that all happened, haha. :) After I finished my program, I went to Baltimore for a month, intending to look for a teaching job in Maryland. But I realized in the process that God has His plans for us... and it's not quite what we think is best for ourselves.

This whole year, Jerry and I had planned for me to move out as soon as my program was done... hopefully with a job lined up. Well, I started my job search early (in Feb-April) and attended all the job fairs I could (including one in Baltimore over spring break). Despite my best efforts and after many interviews (I think I had a total of 13...), nothing had come up by the time my program ended. During the month of June, Jerry also lost his job. This put is in a really awkward limbo situation - was I still going to try and stay in the area? I went and visited him anyway, because we hadn't had the chance to spend a lot of time together this year anyway.

One of my interview was for an ESL teacher position in Alexandria, VA. We had driven through Alexandria before, but my interview there was my first time going there by myself (Jerry was traveling all over for other interviews as well at the time). This interview came during mid-August. I didn't expect much out of it, partially because I didn't know a whole lot about the place, had no connections, and more. The interview went well, but I didn't get my hopes up - the whole process had been so disappointing anyway. At that point, I think I had already lost hope and resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have no job in the coming year, at least.

Little did I know... two days later, I was offered the position! It's a part-time position, but it's a way of getting into a district. I just finished up my second week, and am loving it! It has been challenging in many ways - I am working with students from K-4, so it's been different having to adjust the way I talk to my kindergarteners and to my fourth graders. The language barrier has been interesting - some of my students have assumed that I spoke Spanish (??) and spoke Spanish to me... only to have me say, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish - try to say it in English!" Despite all the challenges, though, there have been many small successes that make each challenging day worth it. The more I teach and the more I get to know my students, the more I realize that this is exactly where God wanted me and where I am most needed. During the job search, my constant prayer was this: "Lord, I became a teacher because You called me to. Bring me to a place where I am most needed, and I will teach anyone that needs it." As I look into my students' faces, I am humbled by the amazing opportunity I have to change a life - to either build up or tear down - and amazed at the huge responsibility I have to advocate for each of my students.

As one of the more seasoned ESL teachers said at orientation - "Teach these students as if they were your own kids." I think that was pretty powerful, and I hope I will continue to grow and do so in the coming year!

Another way that God has been faithfully taking care of me is in my housing situation. One of Eunice's best friends from college, Evangeline, recently moved to Alexandria for a special ed job at another elementary school. The day of my interview, we met up afterward to chat, and it was great. After I found out I got the job, I asked her if she knew anyone who needed a roommate. Her housing situation didn't work out, so we ended up living together! We have a nice and great apartment, and it really does feel more and more like home. I am so blessed. :)

I miss all of you in Michigan and at home... hope everyone is doing well and I hope to update this more frequently from now on. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very touching Mel. *bottoms up* to new beginnings. Take care,Yaa