February 11, 2017

Free and Good

So it is Saturday, February 11, and I am sitting here in my home office (er, corner), and thinking about the blessing of this good day. It is a really good day. I feel it, I sense it, and I am imagining that this day will be good. I cannot put my finger on it, other than to say that I feel so confident that whatever happens today, it WILL BE GOOD!

It is funny how these feelings seem to come over me. I can wake up feeling like everything is just “same old, same old,” and then it is like BAM! I begin to sense some change, and in a very short amount of time, I begin to feel differently. Today is a good example of what I mean. I woke up this morning after passing a good night. I slept well, and for the most part, I felt refreshed. My folks got up shortly after I did, and our day seemed to be heading into “Normal-ville” — same as always. Then Dad got a call saying that Mom was supposed to go to an event at church — an event posted on the calendar — and everything turned into overdrive. Mom forgot (as is normal), and Dad didn’t set the alarm. Thus, Mom was rushed out of the house and over to church, and well, let’s just say, she wasn’t too happy about it. She wasn’t sure if she was dressed nice enough (she was) or if her hair looked good (it did). She worries about these things, and I make sure she is presentable leaving the house. Dad was embarrassed that he forget to set the alarm, and as such, Mom was late to the event. The ladies at church were holding breakfast for her, and of course, that bothered Mom too. Sigh!

In all the fuss, I simply shuttled her back and forth so she could get ready to leave, and now that I am here at my desk, everything seems to be fine. Dad has had his breakfast, and I am eating a bagel with my second cup of coffee. My boys are near me, and my son is asleep in the next room. Everything seems fine now, and well, that is a good thing, really it is. But, then there is this sense, this feeling inside of me that seems to be stirring. I feel good. I feel somewhat excited. I sense some giddiness, and perhaps even some measure of anxiety (not in a bad way, I mean). I have this “feeling” that today will be a good — nay — A GREAT DAY! I am not sure why, but I just feel it.



Moving On and Making Plans

It was yesterday, really, when I had an epiphany moment. I was leaving campus (GCU), and I was giving God the praise for a good afternoon. In truth, I was thanking Him for providing to me a good day, and for helping me find my niche when it comes to teaching. As I was driving out of the parking garage, I said to the Lord, “Lord, Thank you for helping me see that I am gifted in teaching writing.” It wasn’t a huge moment of realization, rather it was more like a sinking, a settling feeling, that said to me, “Carol, you are doing what you do best.” Yes, I came to the point where I realized that my best effort in teaching is always in composition courses.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to teach Literature, and I think I am good at it as well. There is just something about writing, teaching academic writing, that comes very easy to me. I love to teach writing, and I love to mentor students in the writing process.

Yesterday was a good case in point. My students were in peer review, which just means they reviewed each others papers. I was working with a couple students at the podium when I realized that a line had formed. I worked with each student, answering their questions or helping them get “moving” with some sticky part. As I was helping them move forward, I realized that I was doing the thing I love most — I was actually helping my students — learn what to do or not to do. Furthermore, as I was getting ready to leave, one of my students from my late class stopped by to have me read his essay. I was so impressed with this student’s work. His essay was very fine, very fine, and I felt so blessed to think that I had given him an assignment that really challenged him to write such a well-articulated essay.

Thus, as I turned to head home, I was thinking how just a couple week’s ago, I had applied for this job at UW to teach Literature courses online. It was a good job, really, but it was to teach online classes — literature only — and while I am able to do this (as in I have the education to do it), I didn’t feel 100% confident that I was strong enough to do it, if that makes sense. Sometimes, your strength is not in the area of specialization, but rather it is in something innate, intuitive, and internal. In my case, while I studied literature in college (at both under and grad levels), my strength is in writing scholarly or academic papers. I am not perfect, mind you, but I am good at writing these kinds of papers. I had applied to this job, thinking since it was online, that it would be such a good fit. Yet, in the end, it turned out not to be a good fit for me.

A second case in point occurred on Wednesday. I had my yearly review by my mentor, and while I did very well, the truth was that I had wished she would have come to my composition class instead of my literature course. I had no choice in the matter, but still, I thought, “If only she had come to…” because in my composition courses, I am so strong, so confident, and well so controlled. My review went fine, as I stated, but I couldn’t help but think she would have seen me in action, in a better light, in this other course.

All of this is to say that as I was driving home, I came to this moment of realization that for all my skills and abilities, my strength is in writing. It is my forte, so to speak. It is what I do best, and as such, while I can teach literature and I can teach communication, I desire to teach writing first and foremost.

The disheartening part in all of this is that this “realization” aligns with what I believe the Lord has been saying to me for years. I have asked, prayed, considered, and appealed to Him to let me teach literature or communication courses because, as I plead, composition gets boring after a time. I have had the blessing to teach these other classes, and I do enjoy it when the opportunity arises — however — after about 5-6 weeks of the class, I start to feel the burn, the grind, and well, I tend to lose interest. Not so with my composition classes. I simply love them from beginning to end.

So, you see…the Lord has been saying to me that I am best suited to teaching writing courses, but I have been asking, begging, and pleading to teach other courses. As I was driving home, I recanted my position, I repented from my belief that I knew what was best, and I accepted His solution, His provision, and yes, His counsel on my best option when it comes to teaching students.

I am a writing instructor, that is all. I AM A WRITING INSTRUCTOR! Yes, I scream it out because it is what I am. I love this discipline, and I love argument, teaching it, as well as writing it. I have found my niche, my love, my little place, and I have come to realize that this is where I belong. I can do these other things well, but I am really, really good at this one thing. Praise be to God, I am good at this one thing.

Now, I realize why the Lord has been saying to me that I would be an Assistant Professor of English and not Communication. More so, He has said consistently, that I would teach composition and not these other subjects, and well, that is what seems to be happening. I teach composition at four schools now, and while I get to teach survey courses at Regent, it appears that I am mostly asked to teach 101/102 combinations or those first year sequence courses.

At first, I thought this was because schools need writing teachers more than other teachers. Now, though, I realize that while this might have been the impetus for moving me into Rhetoric, more so, it was because of my analytical and structured mine. I have been told by professors that I am very organizationally logical in my thought processes. Regardless, I believe the Lord has made me this way, and that He has put me in a place where He wants me to be. Furthermore, He has given me great success in this area, and thus, I am right where I need to be.

In this way, I feel confident that what He is doing in and through me is good for me. I am coming into my own as a writing instructor, and I am starting to see the blessing in this specific discipline. I am beginning to feel my strength, my power, and my persuasion come to the forefront, and as a result, I am finally feeling empowered to do this work, and do it well. In all, He has made this happen, and I am no longer fighting with Him, pleading and begging, to do anything else.


In Closing

As I close this blog post, I am thanking the Lord for the blessed provision of writing and the skill and ability to do it well. He has made a way for me, and it appears now, that this is His way. I relent, and I accept His way. He has this planned. He has a great purpose for me. He is in control. I am letting Him lead, guide, and provide for me.

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