On Monday, in Lessons From the Classroom, Part 18, I told the story how God guided me to the position of interim French Consultant for my school board, and as September of that school year approached, I became excited for my new job.
You see, I had been contemplating the idea of taking the required coursework to become a principal. Somehow the idea of administration, of being in charge of a school, appealed to me; and though I initially had no desire to be the French Consultant, over the summer I began to see the post as an opportunity to exercise and expand my leadership skills. True, the position was only for one year, but it would give me required experience to pursue my newly-found dream of being a principal!
As the school year began, I tried to convince myself that I was happy. And I was, at least on one level. I had fun working with all of the district schools. I enjoyed getting to know the principals, the French teachers under my direction, and I especially enjoyed working with the students.
There were several school board-wide initiatives that I was in charge of, and these were a lot of fun. There was one initiate where the French Immersion high school students would prepare a board-wide carnival for the Grade 4-8 French Immersion students. This was an activity anticipated by everyone involved.
Another initiative was with the Core French students — The English-speaking students in English classrooms who were required to take a class in French. In general, the Core French students didn’t have much experience speaking French, and most of them were shy to try. During this initiate, the Core French students had to speak French for the entire day. The elementary students were in competition with the High School students throughout a day of fun activities and games, and in the end, it was often the elementary students who won the competition for speaking the most French!
Another fulfilling part of my position was the time I spent visiting classrooms throughout the district. I would often ask the school’s French teacher if I could do some activities in their classrooms. I loved helping the students in this way, and they liked it to.
Unfortunately, there were some down-sides to being the French consultant. Although I truly enjoyed working with teachers and students, I found that my zeal for the administrative tasks was definitely lacking.
In addition, I would soon learn that the board office was a place of “scorpions”. Most of my co-consultants were hurting because of inconsiderate decisions made by the board superintendents. As a result, there was an element of bitterness that flowed throughout the offices of the consultants. It made me sad to see the ideas of these excellent consultants shot down; and what made me even sadder was the air of bitterness and unforgiveness that permeated the building as a result.
Is this what being in charge was really all about? Endless piles of dull administrative tasks that would probably get shot down by the board’s superintendents? Was it really about all of the back-stabbing, unforgiveness and pain? Did I really want to become a principal?
The true test came during my last meeting with the regional French Consultants for Southern Ontario. They all knew I would be stepping down at the end of the school year, and they were sad to see me go. Someone from a different school board even offered me a post with their board as French Consultant, and I received several offers from other consultants to come and teach in the French Immersion programs in their school boards.
As I contemplated these kind offers, I began to realize something vitally important: I had desperately been missing the classroom! I realized then that God had used this school year to remove the “dream” of being a principal and to “plant” in my heart the desire to return to His will — to be a classroom teacher. As a result, I declined all of these kind offers. I also abandoned any plans I had for pursuing coursework to become a principal, and instead, I made plans to return to my former Grade 7 French Immersion classroom.
Unfortunately, this was not advised. I was told, and I would later learn the veracity of this, that my former co-teachers wouldn’t accept me back now that I had worked as a consultant. It was highly recommended that I either continue to pursue administration, or that I apply to a different school…
Sometimes God does drastic things to keep us from going the wrong direction in life, and I am so grateful to Him for picking me up out of my fantasy and giving me a vital lesson in reality.
What dreams are you considering at the moment? Have you taken the time to verify that they are from God? If not, they are doomed to fail. Ask God to confirm for you what direction you should go. He will do just that. Maybe He’ll give you a little “vision” of an administrative office, as He did me, or maybe He’ll speak to you in different ways. But whatever His communication method of choice, you can be sure that it is truly the right one for you, for God says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”God will do everything to get our attention and keep us from straying from His God-given plans for us. Our job is simply to listen!
Unfortunately, I now had the unpleasant job of trying to find a new teaching post with my board… But that, friends, is next week’s story!
In His love,
(To view the entire “Lessons From the Classroom” devotional series, please click here.)