As we finish packing our home in Liberty, I feel it is necessary to finish the last chapter in our saga of difficult decisions. It does feel a bit therapeutic to close this chapter at this point...
SO we left off here...with the devastating news that I did NOT get the teaching job in Liberty.
I remember the morning that I went over to the school to inquire. After all, it had been over 7 weeks since I interviewed for the job. I knew the odds were good for me to be hired, but did have some doubt about having not had any job offer at that point. But I wasn't too worried. I was comforted by the fact that the community members were very supportive and said they would be CRAZY not to hire me, voiced even by those that worked within the administration.
Some complications had actually arose within the school itself though. The principal had resigned - but only a few weeks after interviewing me! And so naturally, the school district had some rearranging to do.
Early on in the summer, I simply did not press the issue that I had not been notified either way about the job. But once July hit, I started to get a bit worried, desperately needing making plans for the school year, day care arrangements and adjustments within my home music studio. I needed to know what the plan was.
I often describe myself as a "paranoid planner" -
I really need to know what is coming and how I can make it the most productive.
But I'll admit that I had made ONE wrong decision at this point...
With the reassurance that I SHOULD get this job, I had NOT even looked for any other positions in the area. I wasn't over-confident about what a super job-candidate I was, I simply trusted those that had reassured me that I was "in"for the Liberty position.
After hearing the district had an "interim" principal designated, early that Monday morning in mid-July (I had interviewed in May), I got up early and dressed professionally. I went across the street to the school and walked inside. The lights in the office were off, but the door was open so I went inside. I knew most of the faculty were not in for the school year anyway.
I rang the bell and waited.
A nice lady popped her head around the corner and asked if she could help me. I inquired about the status of the position, and she said "Oh hun, they hired someone weeks ago! I'm sorry you were not notified".
And that was it.
At that moment, my mind went into super-hyper-over-load....What were we going to do now? WHY did they not have the decency to notify me sooner? How were we going to survive without a significant change in our existence? What was Jon going to think? Would he be upset with me? How was I going to find another position in MID JULY???...but I said nothing to her. I staggered out.
I don't even remember crying, but when I got home I did have black mascara streaks staining my face. I didn't want Jon to see my pain, but it was radiating through me.
Jon said "Honey, what's wrong"?
I told him what she said.
Just know...I wasn't hurting because I had NOT been chosen for the position. I hurt because I felt I had let my husband and my kids down. Not a good feeling...
The rest is history...we had NO other option at this point.
But what doors were God going to open for us now? I admit that I was even a little excited at that thought! God is SO good in these situations...
Sitting on the couch, cleaning my face off, I knew that I HAD to make something happen. BUT, I only had 2 weeks left of the normal hiring "season" for teachers. Quite a challenge...but tell me I CAN'T do something...and watch out! I'll complete it quicker and better than most, simply because that's my character:
Driven + Focused + Dedicated + Passionate = WATCH ME SUCCEED...even in the most adverse situations. (The US Army NCO Soldier in me, no doubt)
Within hours of finding out the "bad" news, I had a list (and printed description) of every music teacher position available within our area, as well as a one-hour radius around Austin. I knew that if we had to move that way, we would have endless support with my wonderful family. I was also able to go to both of these TX region websites and click on EVERY school district to double check their job openings.
That is when I found Jarrell ISD's opening(s) - that SAME Monday morning.
There was something about this position that intrigued me. After a short phone call with the SuperIntendant, inquiring about specifics, I was pretty excited. It really seemed to fit my qualifications like a glove. YAY...time to get a job!
Long story short...in 1 week I was able to apply to 13 total positions around Central Texas. I was invited to 3 interviews and I got ONE offer. Exhausting, but effective.
NOTE: The teacher field is SO difficult right now, especially in the field of music. There are music teachers around the country that have been "RIFFED" and let go due to budget cuts. There are teachers with PHD's applying for assistant music jobs and even elementary positions. Some of the positions I applied for had 80+ applicants!! Not good odds, but I did NOT give up.
Fast forward to today. I LOVE my new job. I teach 4 classes of Kinder through 4th grade music in the morning M-F (including MY girls H & T - they LOVE having Mommy as their Music teacher). Then I have lunch on my own (sometimes WITH my girls, I love it) and travel to the Middle School. I teach one MS Choir class, then finish my day at JHS (3 miles away) teaching the HS Choir class.
Jarrell is a small 2A district, but has grown from a K-12 campus 5 years ago, to 3 campuses with a new HS and a brand new elementary. It is not too far from Fort Hood too, and so there are a number of soldier's children enrolled. My status as a veteran is much respected there. They were also impressed that I had performed with Willie Nelson =)
Even though it is a small district, my elementary classroom is HUGE and (being brand new) equipped with high-tech gadgets that make teaching music SO fun and modern. My MS and HS Choir students and eager to learn and REALLY great kids. I couldn't ask for more. The district appreciates having me and I appreciate being there.
ENOUGH about me though...
Those of you who know us are probably a bit concerned about my beloved husband and his career, right? That is a legitimate concern after all. He is brilliant. He is blessed. He is SO talented. But HE made the decision to put those things aside to get our lil family where we need to be. I constantly asked him if this is what he wanted me to do, and painfully he said yes.
So just to clarify, he will NOT be preaching full-time or even part-time in Austin. In fact, he will be staying home with our two little ones while I'm teaching and taking the two older girls to school.
I love my husband SO much, but I will admit that it is hard to see the hurt that this decision has caused him overall. A lot of people don't know this, but he has been behind the pulpit on Sunday and Wednesday since he was a teenager. He chose to follow in his grandfather's footsteps to preach the Gospel in AL. He sacrificed his racing career to be a minister. It is all he knows.
BUT, I have no doubt that this situation is only temporary for him. In fact, it opens a lot of doors for him... to pursue guest speaking and song leading, radio internships and commercial voice-over work that he never had time to do before. Austin should be a great place to be for this too! I'm actually quite excited to share his talents with churches all over Central Texas =)
In the end I've learned a lot through this situation, which I'll expand upon another time. But through it all, my FAITH made this whole experience bearable and kept me focused on what was ahead. I KNEW He was watching out for us no matter what.
God Bless my Friends...