My life of funemployment has continued to be a cycle of trip research, planning, and itinerary spreadsheet writing; packing; jumping on an airplane; adventuring; flying back home; crashing into bed late at night; unpacking; running a load of laundry; meeting up with a few friends; and planning once more before I’m off on another travel escapade. I have to admit…within that physical merry-go-round, I also endure psychological swings of gratitude, utter exhaustion, a “here we go again/just do it” mentality, and excitement.
This post is a quick one, because it has been forever since I blogged so I wanted to check in – I have since explored the Lost Coast, New York City, enjoyed Highwater Fest (best music celebration ever) in Charleston, and roadtripped the amazing state of Utah (and made a new soul friend in the process!). Within the hour, though, I am hitting the road from Clemson to backpack a section of the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains with my sister Rosa Marie and her college friends.
Several weeks ago, I decided I would only join in on their post-exam college summer celebration if I already got a job… AND I DO!! Last week, I drove up to Greenville after one of those 2-day tornado cycles of unpacking and repacking for an interview at Carolina High.
I had only applied to three schools, because I didn’t want to waste time and energy for admin or myself if I felt half-hearted about a school. Carolina has about 800 students, so it’s a good bit smaller than most public high schools. It has a relatively high poverty level, and the student demographic breakdown is roughly 50% African American, 25% Hispanic, and 25% White. My teacher friend in the Greenville area gave me a heads up about this school almost a year ago when I was still back in New Zealand. Verbatim, her email described Carolina as being “in a rough area but is a rising school- literally I think this school will be on the top in about 5 years.”
Prior to applying, I did my own research and felt really encouraged just looking at the websites and profile descriptions of the other other English teachers; personally, who I work with is even more important than who I teach. For the interview itself, I taught a 15-minute mock lesson and sat in on a 5-person panel interview. The class’ novel study this semester is The Hiding Place, a memoir about Corrie Ten Boom’s experience as a Dutch Christian hiding Jews, and then being persecuted in the concentration camps for it, during WWII. It had been on my “To-Read” list for several years anyway, so I downloaded it on my Kindle and read it on my flight home from Utah. Man, I thought. If this is what they’re reading, if social justice and Jesus are wrapped up, latent in the teaching, I want to work here.
I left the interview just feeling good, and decided that if I were offered the position, I would take it. I thought I had articulated myself, my passions, and my teaching strengths and weaknesses authentically and accurately. If I weren’t to be hired, then it wasn’t a good match, and that would be okay. Buttttt I got a call the very next morning! So here I am, about to go backpacking, and moving to Greenville in August.
When I accepted the job, I thought back to my college and grad school decisions. I know I’m a capable person, but usually I am only presented with one choice. I got a scholarship to Roanoke December of my senior year of high school. Do I even fill out the scholarship application to Furman? Do I want to have to decide between the two? Then senior year of college…I was planning on pursuing the Rotary scholarship, a Fulbright ETA, and/or teaching abroad independently. But Rotary called me back in August before the school year had even begun. Seemed like a great choice to me. I dropped the other two options. And here I am now, not interviewing at four schools in Greenville and trying to decide between them. Just getting one interview, really liking it, and accepting it.
The decisions have been pretty straightforward and one-tracked. That doesn’t mean the experiences were easy. So often I wondered if Roanoke really was the right college for me. New Zealand, amazing as it was, came with its own set of tough relational and living abroad challenges. Lord knows teaching is hard. Period. Much more so at a school where students are often dealing with issues and hardships a lot more serious than typical “first world probs.”
But everything about where I am right now feels right. Having one decision, one choice, keeps me centered in God’s will, I think. I see the way He has moved in my life and those around me, how my life story has played out to his glory based off of each of those decisions. I don’t want to question or challenge His sovereignty. I feel Him moving, I trust that He is holding me, that He does indeed have good plans (though good does not mean easy). I am afraid of burnout and slamming up against frustration after roadblock after endless long workday. He is still there, though. I am His. I will serve Him. Praise for new chapters and an unfolding story!
As an aside, teaching at Carolina this fall also means that all four (five, come Georgia’s wedding!) Comptons will be in the upstate. Cain is joining Rosa Marie as a Clemson tiger, Georgia & Duncan are doing an internship with Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Furman, and I’m teaching. Can Greenville even HANDLE all the Compton charisma?! I think so, and, along with my professional path and young adulthood panning out before me, I also am so excited to be close to my grown-up siblings and finally “settle down” with good community and upstate adventure.