So far 2017 is shaping up to be such an exciting year in my life, and I keep feeling like so many of my little steps along the way have led me to precisely this season. In November, I was hired as the instructional coach and coordinator for a new school-within-a-school, the seeds of which were planted long ago. I would not have taken the chance to even apply for the job if not for the confidence I've gained from working with the most amazing team of all-new-to-8th-grade-English teachers this year. All the best things I've done in life have come from choices I've made when I had nothing to lose.
Two weeks ago, my forward momentum came to a grinding halt and balancing two jobs at once became too much for me to bear. Teaching has never been an 8:30-3:30 job for me - it's not just my job but my calling and passion and I am a self-identified workaholic. I love what I do. But adding a lot of research, paperwork, and tasks that delved into the PR and HR fields on top of planning three differentiated lessons a day for 70+ hormonal tweens, scoring 70+ essays on a regular basis, and dealing with all of the IEP progress reports, RTI forms, gradebook deadlines - oh, and being the 8th grade English department chair - my body finally said "nope." What I thought was just a good cry after a stressful conference call and one dropped ball on my part was actually the first sign that I was sick.
I woke up at 3 a.m. the next morning with terrible pains in my stomach. A few hours later, it became abundantly clear that I had norovirus - fever, chills, and all. I had to miss two days of work and lived on saltine crackers and Pedialyte for a week. Through it all, my team - the 5 beautiful ladies I've been mentoring this year - were there for me, helping make sure that my substitutes had the right plans and materials, that my students were behaving and on track, and, once I returned to work, that I really had talked to the powers that be about my workload.
These girls - our group Snapchat name is "Teacherladies" - aren't just my coworkers. They've become some of my dearest friends. I was so heartbroken about my old English team breaking up, but I don't think I've ever connected with a new group of people so quickly. One of the greatest gifts this group of women has brought me has been the invitation to a Bible study consisting of a handful of English teachers, several young pastors, and a handful of other folks in their late 20's and early 30's from a variety of denominations. Oh man, has this group been a blessing for Mr. Q and I. Sitting in a friend's living room last night, arms still sore from an indoor rock climbing adventure we shared this weekend, talking about Jesus and taking communion and cuddling with dogs, I was just so thankful that the Lord restores my soul - even if it takes getting knocked down by my immune system to know that restoration needs to happen.