Friday, August 06, 2010

Flashback Friday

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why did you want to be that, and did you do it? Did you consistently plan to be whatever it was, or did you change your mind often? Did you do anything like volunteering or interning to give you a taste of your future occupation/role? Were you as happy/satisfied with what you became as you thought you would be? What surprised you? Would you choose it again? Do you still want to be something else - either in addition to or instead of?

My early school years were not pleasant, until I hit 4th grade and landed in Miss Deborah Keeney's class.

Oh, the difference one teacher can make.

She had such an edge on previous teachers. She was born in the same century we were in. She smiled before Christmas. And after. She may or may not have been the most beautiful lady I had yet met. She definitely was nice to me. And she read aloud to us every single day. The two novels I remember most are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte's Web. I even baked my first cake for her.

Miss Kenney inspired me and made me want to teach 4th grade. Not just teach, but teach 4th grade. Basically, she made me want to be her.

I held onto that dream until I met my 9th grade English teacher, Sondra Seibold, and at a slightly more mature level, but not that much more mature, my goals were re-birthed as I sat in the classroom of someone born to teach.

My goodness-she knew what she was doing, and she influenced me in many ways, including my decision to major in English Education at Ball State University.

In college, I was disillusioned with the education portion of my program. All theory, no practical helps. Egotistical profs. Lazy public school teachers. No time spent in classrooms early on, only in the last two years of my degree.

By the time I student taught, I hated it, wanted nothing to do at all with teaching.

Over the years, I have harbored a fondness for positively influencing youth and for writing. For a short time, I subbed in English classes here in town. I tutored at a Sylvan Learning Center. I tutored someone in my home. I have always respected teachers and lived vicariously through their inspiring and challenging stories.

But the flame for teaching burned out for me long ago.

So I have held various part-time jobs, my favorite being a meeting leader at Weight Watchers, where I loved to encourage people and discuss health and nutrition and the emotional side of weight management. And I guess I enjoyed subbing, but not enough to stick with it.

So finally, 7 years ago, I landed in a youth ministry office. Occasionally, I work with the youth, but mostly I create documents and send a lot of mail.

And you know what? That's really OK. People don't realize the amount of creativity I am encouraged to contribute to our programming and to all of the documents we generate in our office. It's difficult to explain here, but it's way more than an office job.

Except on those certain days when I literally spend all day stuffing and labeling envelopes. And then I think about my degree and graduating magna cum laude all for naught, and I wonder if I missed my calling. George says he thinks maybe I did.

All I know is, I'm basically content in life, and I know a good gig when I see it. God has been good to me, and I think I'm at Oneighty for a reason.


Lea said...

What an interesting life and I can't imagine your life not always being that way. Sorry you didn't choose the Education route, I bet you would have been magnificent in the classroom, but know you would be great at whatever the Lord leads you to do. Hugs!

Mocha with Linda said...

Teachers can be so incredible, or they can be their own worst enemy. My junior English teacher was what you described about your Sondra Seibold. And my kids have both said "Teachers take all the fun out of learning." My boy, who had a math birthday (his choice) when he was 6, now hates math, thanks to his Geometry and Algebra II teachers. And the bookworm in him got essentially beheaded by some overly analytical English teachers.

I know God is using you in a mighty way in your job, envelopes or no. I can imagine the kids in the youth group love you.

Mary said...

I commend you for knowing you didn't like teaching and not going with it anyway. There are too many teachers out there who really shouldn't be in the profession, but because that's what their degree is in, they're doing it anyway. And, may I add, making a lot of people miserable by doing so.

Katie :o) said...

What fun questions! I'm a new follower... In elementary school, we did some kind of project on careers. One of the other kids asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Oh! That was soooooo easy! A MOM!!! Apparently, that didn't satisfy my classmate. No... what do you *really* want to be? A MOM!!! Really.. that's what I wanted to be!

Fast forward to finishing up highschool. Apparently, "a mom" did not satisfy my guidance counselor or parents, either. So I went to college to... study kids! Two degrees (early childhood ed. and elementary ed.) later, I married and started our family. Four beautiful daughters later, I can definitely say that my career choice was DEAD ON CORRECT all those years ago :o) Did I use the fancy degrees? Nope. I stayed home with the girls and worked part time. As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, then in a quilt store, still do some substitute teaching, and I'm working on a book proposal.

Our oldest daughter is a junior this year. She wants to be a mom! She is working on figuring out what sort of career might fit around raising a family some day. Gosh! I'm proud of her!

Sooooo... do I work with kids? I am the "every-kids-mom" of the neighborhood. We have extra kiddos hanging out here constantly. I cook for them, walk with them, and listen to their stories. When kids visit, most of them bring their sneakers and immediately make sure we'll be going for a night walk. There is something magical about walking at night. Kids talk more. I'm a youth group leader. Ping pong player. Trombone player. And pretty darned goofy. My husband and I took foster parenting classes this year so that we can have even more children in our lives. Yup... I guess you could say that I "work" with children :o) But most of all, I'm a mom!

Melanie said...

I have a teaching degree, too, but have little desire to be back in the classroom although I really enjoy the "teaching" part, I don't enjoy the rest of it.

Nel said...

Youth Ministry, I think would bring a lot of enjoyment. No matter which side of it you are on. I don't believe the just an "office job." I always hated when people would say, "Oh she has an easy job she works in the office." If they only knew...

until next time... nel

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

I had a teacher like that in 2nd grade. As long as God is using you, you are right where you need to be. And I know He uses you each and every day!

2Thinks said...

I love this because you are working in a job that is not exactly what you envisioned and doesn't have a whole lot to do with being an English major- AND you are still happy, still sure God has you there for a reason and still writing and encouraging others with humor through that venue.

I'm waiting to get where you are. I linked up my Flashback this morning.

Hugs to you- my bloggy mentor!

Jim said...

Hi Linda ~~ Life is full of surprises isn't it! Sometimes they are BIG, sometimes small.
Does anyone do exactly what they planned out to do? Only the accountants that make it I think.

I am glad you are feeling satisfaction with the effect you have on those young people.
(Mrs. Jim, like you, wanted to be a teacher and majored in history. But she didn't like teaching so went on to become a social worker. In that capacity she was able to be a high school special ed counselor.)

Connie said...

It really does look like you are where you are meant to be! I wanted to be an airline stewardess or a nurse and did neither. Getting into sales instead. I still love to fly but get queazy when someone throws up so nursing probably wouldn't have worked out.


Anonymous said...

Hi Linda! I have no idea when you posted this. I am a little behind (yet again) in my blog reading). I just returned from taking my daughter to college (and am lucky to have a non-crying moment right now).

You might remember that last Monday was my first day as a teacher, fulfilling that long-held dream I've had.

Reading your post inspires me even more.

I can tell you that after being with my students for only three days (had to take off Thurs and Fri to go with my daughter), I already love my students.

I hated to leave them in someone else's hands, and I told them that.

With the exception of the lesson planning, I cannot wait for Monday!! I hope that I can inspire them in the same way that the two teachers you wrote about inspired you.

And, for the record, you are exactly where you need to be. I am sure that you don't need me to tell you that because you seem like a wise woman.

I admire those who are content where ever God places them. I have worked an assortment of part-time jobs, and I always found a way to make the most of them. This is an attitude that springs from a joyful that is absolutely certain of God's plan for his/her life.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories.