May 31, 2016

When Ready, Press Go!

It is Tuesday, May 31, 2016. It is a good day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. I woke up early today so I could run to Walmart and pick up a swim suit for my son (his "mysteriously" disappeared). He is heading over to San Diego this morning along with the high school ministry leaders for a weeklong camp at Point Loma University. I sure he would have survived without swim trunks, but like any good Mom, I didn't want him to spend the entire week at the beach without one. Sigh!

So here I am, blogging, and thinking to myself that I do too much for my young adult son. I mean, after all, he is a almost a grown man (at 22). Yet, there is part of me that sees that little boy whenever I look at him. I see the young man, the good young man, too -- but I also see the boy that still needs his "mum" from time to time. I do try to stay out of his business, and I do try to not meddle. But there are times when I am needed, and rather than say, "Sorry, Bud! It's all up to you," I step in and help out.

I guess as I age, I am becoming more like my Mom. My Mom was always "there" for us when we were kids, and she was there for us as grown adults. She didn't meddle in our business, but if you needed her, she was there for you. You could call and ask for help, and she would give it to you. If you needed money, she had it. If you needed clothing, she would buy it. If you needed her to clean your house (or help you do it), she always volunteered. She was that way, and I came to rely on her especially when my own child was young. My Dad was similar, though not always as agreeable. He pretty much would help you out, if you really needed it. Sometimes he would be grumpy and unwilling, but most of the time, he would do what you asked of him. I think I was fortunate to have such good supportive parents. Did we take advantage of them? Not really, at the least, I don't think so. I think we appreciated them (my brothers and me), and I don't think we infringed on their life too much. Still, my parents were gracious to us. They were always available to help, always there to listen, and always willing to lend a hand. My brothers stay in touch with my parents weekly. They call, they write and send cards, and they come to visit. I think their response demonstrates their appreciation for their parents, and while life wasn't always so rosy (we did have our moments of disagreement), most of the time, we were a happy and well-adjusted family.

I love my son dearly. I am sorry for the loss of family stability in his teen years. I am sorry that my ex-husband chose to end our marriage, our family unit, right at a time when our son needed both of his parents most. Yet, here we are, and the past is put away. My prayer, of course, is that someday, my son will see just how much his Mom loves him. I hope he will know that he is loved, valued, and deeply wanted and appreciated. I hope he will always feel this love the way I felt it from my parents. I hope that if all else fails in his life, he will know that he can count on his "mum" to be there for him just the way my parents were there for me. I hope it is so, I hope it is so.

Let's Go ~ Press Play

There you have it. There you have the story of my life. I grew up in a time when little girls dreamed of being married, of having babies, and of living a life similar to their own childhood. Our little world was filled with traditional things -- husband, children, homes. We weren't all gung ho on a career, and in fact, any fleeting dreams of career would be tempered by the reality that once you were married and carrying a child, you would retire from work and take up the mantle of "homemaker." Back then, staying at home was a good thing. No one made fun of you. No one said you were "less than" a person because you were at home with your children. No one thought any differently about you. In fact, it was the working woman who left her children in care that seemed out of the normal, unusual, and suspect. Of course, over time things changed, society changed, people's views on the matter changed. More and more young girls had dreams of "becoming" something when they grew up, and while husband and children still mattered, the idea of "giving up" a career for them was considered silly and ill-conceived. You could have both, the feminists said. You could be a working mom.

I am not bashing working moms because I was one. I had the blessing of working from home for a good number of years, but I did work outside the home too. I missed being a true SAHM, and while I didn't mind working (at times), I really would have preferred to be at home and making my home my number one priority. Still, as I said previously, the past is the past, but I cannot help but admit that I really did miss being a wife and mother.

Now, I am employed as a teacher, and I love my job. I cannot think of any other work I would rather do. I wish I would have done this line of work years ago, not only for the pension/retirement, but also because I think it would have been a good job for me. My family would have been blessed, for sure, and my son would have grown up around schools. I would have enjoyed teaching elementary, middle or high school. I would have loved to have taught college too. But, this is the life I have now, and God be praised, I am blessed to be a teacher.

My desire, of course, is to continue to do this work until I can retire at age 70 or thereabouts. This means that I can expect to work full-time for another 17 years. In all, I will retire from teaching after 20 years. It will be a good career for me, a good career move. My goal is to find a full-time faculty position somewhere soon. Perhaps by this fall, but if not, then in the Spring. My hope is that it will be online so I have freedom to move to another state without worry about needing to live close to campus. I could, for all intents and purposes, live anywhere as long as I have Internet access. For now, I am content to teach on campus and on line. This seems to be the Lord's provision for a time, and I am happy to have both opportunities. My prayer is to receive a full-time offer as soon as I am available to take it. If it is to be for fall, I would like it to be before July simply so I can let GCU know I won't be teaching there next semester. If not, though, I will just stick with what I have for now, which is one summer class (PTL!) at OCU, and four fall classes at  GCU and ACU. God is good, so very good to me.

Planning for Fall

As I think about my next steps, moving from adjunct to full-time, one thing is certain -- I must wait for the Lord's timing and provision of the "best" job for me. You see, I don't want to apply to jobs only to be short-lined to the recycle bin. Yep, it happens often. Schools don't even get your resume because someone in HR doesn't connect your skills and abilities to the position listed. It could be a lack of experience or publication, etc. Or it is simply bad timing. I know that the Lord has something in mind for me, and with His favor and blessing, that job will open up, and I will be considered for it. I cannot rush the process, and as such, I have to be ready when the time comes. Right now, I have some good positives to add to my resume. I have some great student feedback, and for the most part, I think I look good on paper. The key is to wait for the Lord to open that door, and then put me in the right place at the right time. He is good, so very good to me.

Thus, as I plan out this move from adjunct to full-time, I realize that I can do nothing in my own way. I cannot seek jobs that are not of His provision, and I cannot even apply to jobs that aren't prompted by His Spirit. I have to be patient and wait. The right job at the right time, that is what I want. I don't want to end up in a job that is a poor fit for my skills or that pressures me or causes me to be so overwhelmed that I cannot focus on finishing my dissertation. God knows what I can and cannot do, and He is aware of my needs right now. Therefore, His way is best. I rest in His way. I let this go, and I look up and say, "Yea, Lord -- your will, your way, and your work is all I desire."

It is true that prepping and planning are second nature to me, so to wait patiently and do nothing, just eats at me, it really gets me down. Yet, I know that I can be the most well-planned person in the world, and still not be ready when the time comes. How do you plan for a life when you don't know where you will be or the work you will do? It is difficult, to say the least. I mean, I know I will teach, but where? I know I will teach English, but what classes (developmental writing, first-year, or literature)? Do I have the right curriculum, textbooks, syllabi and assignments? Am I ready to tackle classes without pre-planned and prepped curriculum (like at OCU or GCU)? Can I handle a new class without any real time to work something up? Good questions, and many of which, I lack answers for because I simply do not know what to expect. My preparation, then, must include getting my ducks in a row. I must have the materials selected, the courses defined, and the assignments ready to go. I must have my life, my teaching life, so well planned that I can take on any assignment with ease.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, how I would like to teach literature courses and such. Yet, I rarely get the chance to do that so I often just settle for composition courses. I love both, and I enjoy teaching a combination of courses just to keep things fresh and easy. Yet, I wonder if I am ready to take on a combination approach to teaching. This semester, for example, I am teaching Introduction to Communication at ACU. I've taught this course two times now, and while I like it, I don't really care for the textbook I must use. It is okay, and I do my best with the material, but I still haven't quite figured the class out. I teach something similar at GCU, and I like the textbook they use better. But, if I had to push myself, I probably would be able to wing a communications class easily. The same is true for World, American or British literature. I think I could easily teach a survey class in any of these subject areas. I just don't have syllabi prepared. I need to do this, and this summer would be a good time to create these courses.

Preparing for Fall

So I am thinking that perhaps I should devote some time this summer to creating courses for "potential" classes. I am thinking I might need to purchase some curriculum. I am thinking I might need to visit Covenant Home School Resource center in Phoenix and purchase some English textbooks. There is no need to purchase new books, just used ones will work well for me. I could order some from Amazon too, but hmmmm....I will need to think this through more.

I can envision teaching American Literature easily. A college semester course is the equivalent of a year of high school level coursework. I could create a semester class using any number of sources, but I think most colleges use an anthology. It bums me to think I gave away all my Norton Anthology's before I moved back in 2011. I had everything I would have needed to teach any number of classes. Sigh!

Okay, so this is my plan for prepping for "potential classes" this fall:

Step one -> find some syllabi online that look good to me (that I like) and then adapt courses and assignments based off of a standard design.

Step two -> procure a text, like an anthology so I have access to the selected works. Of course, I could use online copies (save some $$$).

Step three -> Create the class in WORD so I have a pdf of the course to send to prospective schools. Put said "course" online and make it available to anyone who wants to borrow it for their own use (home educators, perhaps?)

Step four -> be ready to move when the Lord says, "Go!"

I can think of the following courses I may be asked to teach in the near term:

  • First-Year Composition (I and II)
  • Developmental or Fundamental Writing Skills
  • American Literature I and II
  • The Short Story
  • Research Writing or Academic Writing
I pretty much have FYC completed, and I have taught Short Story twice now. As for the other courses, I will need more prep and planning to carry them off, but they are relatively easy for me to cobble together. After all, I have my BA and MA in English Humanities and Literature. I pretty much know what the standard fare is when it comes to teaching these courses. Still, I need a plan, a lesson plan, and I need something that would work well to transition me into full-time teaching. God is good to me, and He knows me well. If these are the courses He wants me to teach, then He will provide the curriculum, texts, and other resources I need to do it. I am trusting Him on this matter. He leads, guides, and provides (my new "mantra") -- so be it -- thy will be done! Selah!

Now, I see. Well, I think I see. I had planned to spend my entire summer conducting my research, but I haven't received any feedback on my proposal yet. It has been two weeks and no word. I called and left a message for my professor so hopefully we will connect this week. I have some questions, and I need feedback to know what to work on next. Still, if nothing happens, then I have to believe that the Lord desires I rest this summer and tackle this other project. I am okay with this approach, should it be His will. I guess I will just have to wait and see, to wait and let this pass. I know He has me well-covered, and I know that He knows exactly what He wants from me. I will sit and wait. I will be patient. I will endure, and in the end, He will show me the way to go. For now, I wait. I patiently wait. And, while I wait, I will be busy doing practical work, cleaning house, so to speak, and making myself ready for His next provision -- that full-time English faculty position. God is good, so very good to me. He knows me best, and with His help, He will provide to me the best possible job. It will come when He is ready for it to come, and until then, I will rest in the timing, the knowledge, and the truth that He helps me to understand. I must be made ready. I must be prepared. I must have a plan of action. When He is ready, He will tell me to go. Then, I will know that the time has come, and I will feel rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle this new and wonderful learning and working opportunity.

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