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Jessica L. Moody

Questioning the Norm

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teachers

Strategies for Classroom Management-For the Most Challenging Classrooms (Part 1)

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I have worked in alternative high school settings in Southern California for 8 years.  I have seen it all.  I know what works and what does not work.  Control does not work; psychology does.  You Tube Video  Click here for a video Version of this post.

Part One will discuss What Not To Do
and
Part Two will discuss What To Do  

 

I was a Teacher’s Assistant in one of the most challenging alternative schools in San Diego County while I was going to college.  During that time, I was able to learn an immense about classroom management as I saw substitute teacher after substitute teacher fall flat on their face, cry, and leave defeated after a classroom of rebellious students, mostly gang members, ate them alive. 

I saw the manipulation tactics in full force.  The students switching names, seats, convincing the teacher of made up rules, and overall just taking over the classroom (the kind of classes the Substitute had taught in the inner cities, I’m sure). I have seen students cause teachers to cry and then the students play the victim and blame the sub.  In my experience, I have had a student throw a desk across the room in frustration.  I have kicked students out daily. I have been called every name in the book in front of the whole class and have had a few of them get so close to my face that I could feel their breath.   

I have also lost control over my own behaviors that the class was unable to resume. I have tried my hardest to regain some normalcy or control but failed daily.  I have tried everything for certain classes and left defeated.  I had this one kid, one that I hope no one ever has to experience, who had a diagnosed behavioral defiance disorder.  This kid was completely unable to agree or say yes or do anything that anyone told him to do.  That’s the kid I will never forget.  That’s the kid that I dedicate this post to, haha!  

So what mistakes did I make?

I tried to control, micromanage, persuade, bribe, anything you can imagine to get these students to behave and “Just do your work!”  But experienced teachers know that micromanaging students who are expert manipulators only leads to giving away control over the classroom.  So without further adieu, let’s address the strategies that don’t work.

  1. Don’t take it personally.    

It’s not about you.  It is not about hurting your feelings or making you feel bad.  You are a pawn in the game of “Let’s make the teacher cry so we can brag about it for years.” It is a game to them. You become nothing but a means for entertainment and wasting class time, so they don’t have to work.  

Don’t be overly emotional about anything.  This does not mean to be stoic and unemotional.  It means that once students realize that you are reacting to them, they will know that you don’t have control over your own emotions and they can and will start playing games.  These are generally innocent “I am not doing anything wrong” type of games but they will continue until they get kicked out or you cry, whichever comes first.  (Losing the emotional battle will most likely happen at some point, and it is recoverable but not ideal.) 

2. Don’t call out students from across the room or debate with them

 

 

Oh, I’ve played this game a lot.  It looks like:

Me: Gerardo, get to work.
Gerardo: Huh? I am working.
Me: No you’re talking.
Gerardo: No I’m not. *lifts up paper. See, I’m working. You’re interrupting me.

This is a very simple example, It could be so much worse than this.  The bottom line is that students of this caliber will debate about anything and they are most likely way better at it than you, they have more endurance to keep it going longer than you have patience for, and if you lose your patience then they win.

I call this The Rule of 2 Back and Forths. If you make 2 statements and they try to keep it going, stop it by giving them the “Because I said so” statement, the “Do we need to talk about this outside?” statement, or a variation of a “This conversation is over” statement and ignore the rest.    

3. Don’t have a power struggle

 

 

You will never win if you think that teaching is about winning the outward battle.  If teachers learn psychology with these students, we will either become the winners while making the class think they are winning or we will make ourselves crazy trying.  

Let them think they are winning as often as you can.  If letting a student get the last word every time gets them to be quiet so you can move on, then let them.  They will think they have won but you have been able to continue and finish what you are doing.  If you hate stopping in the middle of class to have a talk with a student, do it anyways.  Take the time that you need in order to improve the flow of the class in the future.    

The bottom line is whatever you pour into them, the expectations, the relational connection, or the time, you will get back only a fraction in return.  So make the amount that you pour into them over and beyond, so that you will return a bigger amount.  

This may sound like a drag, and the Don’ts are always a drag… stay tuned for the What TO DOs tomorrow so that the whole thing doesn’t sound all negative and life-sucking.  

Let’s review:

  1. Don’t take it personally.
  2. Don’t call out students from across the room or debate with them
  3. Don’t have a power struggle

Do you have any other DO NOTs to add?

Stay tuned for the TO DOs…

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How Much?

 

How much am I willing to give AND to give up to get what I want and am feeling called to?  

 

Most people are okay with ONLY being comfortable.  They want a comfortable job, with a comfortable family… a comfortable paycheck with a comfortable retirement.

Oh, the idea of being rich is wonderful to everyone but is not worth the discomfort involved for most.  The idea for more is too scary.  We want to do the same things that we do every day and hope that fortune comes to us in a miraculous way.  We want to hit the lotto the 1 or hundreds of times that we play.  We want our blogs or YouTube channels to build followers and magically turn into money makers.  We are willing to do the same things every day and hope that someone notices us.  Sometimes though, we are willing to put in a few uncomfortable steps into the process.  We pay money for an at-home business that we will put some time and effort into until it takes too much out of our lives or hasn’t become as easy a money maker as it claimed.    We pay for our blogs or YouTube channels in order to build our market, consistently create for a while until the followers diminish, or we don’t have as many clicks as we once had and lose motivation.

Every once in a while I ask a new class, “Who do you think is the most successful celebrity?”  Many of them say the newest rap or hip hop star that I’ve never heard of so I wouldn’t even begin to try to quote them.  Then I offer up one and pause, “Rob Dyrdek.” They sit, shocked a while, before I explain.

Rob Dyrdek may not be the richest celebrity.  He looks and acts like a total goofball on TV, but he has used his resources to do many things he loves and is one of the hardest workers out there.  The first thing he did was become a professional skater, and how did he do that?  He worked harder and longer than everyone to become good and the best at what he loved to do.  He started at a young age and determined that he would practice so that he would become the best.  It wasn’t an accident.  He didn’t rely only on his talent.  He didn’t wait around for someone to notice him.  He sought recognition and received it because he PROVED that he was good enough over and over again.  

The next thing he did was use his money and success to move forward.  He didn’t decide that he would be immortal (like Tony Hawk) and skate or compete forever. *pause for a laugh* He didn’t stop what he loved, but he used what he loved to do more.  Most athletes and competitors get sponsors and do ads, but most athletes and competitors don’t get their own TV show and especially not multiple shows like Rob has.  It is obvious that he has dipped his hands into multiple pieces of the entertainment world and followed through with the doors that opened.  Things aren’t easy for anyone.  It may seem to the viewers that everything fell into place perfectly because that is what we see on screen.  But we don’t see the long hours of planning, preparing, and reacting to constant challenges behind those scenes.  

**I would love to interview him one day and find out the truth behind his success-the struggles and the hard work involved.

HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO GIVE

I find myself at the end of the day EVERY DAY wondering what I did.  I woke up with all these plans to read this, write that, do this, and finally complete that which has been on my to-do list for months.  But I realize each day that I did a mere percent of what I could have done.  Writing this blog once a week is a challenge, but I do feel good when I get it done and know that I can do more.  Yes, that is a success but I want to succeed at doing more of what I want to do that will produce something, and less of the things I do that are time-wasters.

  • Am I willing to read when I want to take a nap?
  • Am I willing to write when the thought pops into my head rather than telling myself “I will later”?
  • Am I willing to finish what I have started rather than feeling overwhelmed by how much I have left to do?
  • Am I willing to stop making excuses to be as successful as I know I can be?
  • Am I willing to give up the mundane to have the opportunity to be a success?
  • Am I willing to change my idea of success from comfortable to extreme risk taker?
  • Am I willing to stop being afraid of what I may fail at and have courage to face my fears so that I can be who I know I am called to be?

HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO GIVE UP?

I am a believer, so I know that God has a purpose for my life.  He is guiding me and is leading me out of my comfort zone.  I am a single mom, so I’m pretty certain that I am not called to be a missionary (at least any time soon, not that it can’t happen to other single moms).  I know that God has given me the task to raise up my children in the way that they will go.  I also know that He has provided for me more than I could ever imagine or expect.  But lately, I feel an urge from Him to do more, to BE more.  In the past few months things have happened that point directly to something bigger than I could imagine.  I’ve mentioned it in a few other posts, but the stage is being set before me… and it SCARES the crap out of me.  I want mundane sometimes.  I want comfortable, and what He is calling me to do isn’t mundane or comfortable.  It isn’t me getting remarried and having a comfortable life where I depend on my husband for emotional and financial support (which is an awesome gig if you have that).  God is calling me further into letting HIM be my emotional and financial support while I walk into a life that will further my education and my perceived abilities.

I’ve asked Him if He wants me in ministry and I hear a pretty clear no, not in the classic way anyways.  The need which I see needs to be filled is that  the conservative base needs to have a stronger presence in academia, not to necessarily take over, but to rebuild the balance that has been lost.

The nation has become so divided that credibility is lost from both the liberal and conservative sides when we interact or are educated by the other side. We must regain the respect from the ground up.  For the popular culture, people who are educated in Christian colleges or schools like it are just doing what they are taught and haven’t experienced the “real world.”  For Christians who go to mainstream universities, we are so inundated and ostracized that it is almost impossible to get out alive, so to speak.  Simply speaking, my goal is to get through the graduate system “alive” and come out with credibility to create a positive change in the K-12 educational system.

So how much am I going to give up?

  • Am I going to give up thinking too far into the future unknown since it scares me from doing what I need to do presently?
  • Am I going to give up time-wasting activities to use my time wisely so that I don’t feel like I’ve wasted “yet another day”?
  • Am I going to give up making excuses or thinking I can’t because it’s too much?
  • Am I going to give up my negative self-talk and trust that I have way more capability than I see in myself?

QUESTIONS

  • What do you need to give up to spend more time building your future success?
  • What do you need to start doing daily and hourly NOW that you would love to be an expert at in 5-20 years?
  • What would you change in the world if you could? What can you do about it?
  • What credibility do you need to be perceived as an expert in what you want?  How can you achieve that credibility?

 

 

I have decided that if I am going to move up in the field of education to eventually be a leader in this school choice movement, then I need to address the issues as a business with a education focus.  These are the problems with public education that I would like to be addressed once I enter this level of leadership:

  1. If school choice is going to be pushed through the nation, including California, then I want people who are educated or have experience as teachers building this movement, not business people.  School choice is a chance for schools to fix what is broken and will NEVER be fixed through public education.  Allowing parents to choose schools WILL force even public schools to rethink their strategies and become better at what they do.  My current school district has seen a drop in enrollment for about 10 years in a row because when parents see consistent problems, they choose other options.  And, yes, common core has a great negative influence on many parents.  My school district has actually made improvements to be more competitive in the past few years.  A few years ago we were forced into program improvement and only then have we begun a movement into using scientifically proven educational strategies.  Many people would agree that we were stuck in the dark ages and were forced into this change.  Many teachers who love their craft and constantly move towards self-improvement have made school better for their students.  Others, though, have stayed the same because, you know, tenure.  Tenure allows crappy teachers to stay crappy teachers because after they are tenured, it’s their choice.  After they begin their first day of their third year, they can stay in the stone age if they so desire and who reaps the consequences?  Everyone but the tenured teacher who can’t be fired… Awesome!!
  2. Rigor in public schools is rarely found outside of advanced classes.  I’m referring to rigor as most of us remember it, rigor that required memorization and application. Rigor that allowed us to begin our freshman year of college somewhat prepared for college level work.  I mean somewhat because all of us had some sort of difficulty adjusting, but not to the level that we are seeing in college freshmen today.  Students get so much CHOICE in the classroom, that they think they can pick and choose what they do and don’t based off whether they enjoy the activity (or the teacher) or not.  We teachers hold their hands and if they choose not to succeed it, we are to blame.  Teachers are expected to create a PERFECT environment for the students to have rigorous texts, but not too rigorous that they give up.  We are expected to make them think but not too much.  We are expected to have great classroom management skills but we must insure that the students like us, because we all know that we only learn from people we like… hum…  Well, in the world of education today, if everything isn’t perfect for each student, then it’s the teacher’s responsibility to change, not the student.  No wonder we are creating a bunch of snowflakes that can’t handle the world.  I have an enormous amount of students with health problems including physical problems like thyroid issues and many psychological problems like anxiety and depression.   The least amount of sternness or blatantly clear expectations from me brings on anxiety attacks, meltdowns, and students thinking they can cuss me out and leave because of their stress level or that I “disrespected them.”  Students have not been taught respect for elders because they get so much choice.  Damn, if I could choose, I would have chosen for Marine Corps boot camp to be more like girl scout camp.  I would have chosen for all my professors in college to let me have 3 times as long to read the texts that were difficult or even take them out of the curriculum if it was too difficult or if I didn’t agree with it.  We are not doing the students any favors by dumbing down the curriculum for them.  In fact, that brings me to my next point.
  3. Alternative schools are not helping to improve students chance to succeed, they seem to be in place just to give the schools another way to make money off the students.  Each student equals money for schools.  Most of these types of schools are half-day programs (8-12 or 12-4, or some variation).  The days are cut in half and the expectations within each class period are cut in half, resulting in students getting a quarter of the content as a regular school.  I know from experience that even getting a quarter of the education into a classroom full of gang members, literal juvenile delinquents, and students whose parents can’t control them or don’t care is better than nothing.  But this is an injustice to those students who do graduate.  As much as students who graduate from regular high schools aren’t prepared for adulthood and college level expectations, students that graduate from alternative schools are ill-equipped for any jobs with opportunity for growth and they are definitely not prepared for any trade school or college.  Even the few students that have the hope for college realize very quickly how little resources they have personally and communally to succeed.  This is an act of appeasement.  We are appeasing to the students lack of motivation, desire, and perceived abilities.  We are not giving them a fair chance to succeed by sliding them through because we have lowered the standards.  These students with anxiety and depression issues, the students who lack motivation to even work hard in school will become adults with the same problems.

I guess this is just the beginning of my rant.  Next time I will provide some solutions.

QUESTIONS

  • How wrong would it be to put aside the book work education and provide students who don’t buy into the system with a trade that is useful and needed in society?
  • Since these programs are already available and seeing success, how difficult would it be to implement into an already running district of alternative education schools?
  • Have you ever heard of any schools that are doing this and are successful?
  • Is tenuring teachers after the beginning of their third year fair to students?  Especially the students who get the teachers who immediately begin to act like 30 year teachers.
  • There are many seemingly successful alternative schools that focus on school culture, student choice, and student interest; however, are these schools actually preparing students to be contributing members or society, preparing them for the work world, and/or preparing them for trade school or college?

Interested in reading more about tenure?  Here are a few articles:

Interested in reading more about alternative schooling:

Not Okay with the Mundane

I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that my passions and desires scare me sometimes.

Sometimes I want to be vaguely successful, able to have a good enough career to take care of my family, and simply ignore the want for more.  I’ve gotten to the point in my life though where I can’t read even one paragraph of any text without having to stop to write down a million ideas that it gives me about the topic or completely irrelevant.   That’s when I know that I can’t ignore it anymore.  Having all these ideas and hopes and dreams is exhausting and scary sometimes.  I want to be able to read a novel without thinking about how I would teach it.  I want to be able to read a motivational text without having to respond to it in writing.  But I can’t anymore.

Getting a further education, a masters, and possibly a PhD scares me.  I know people who have gotten these things and they haven’t gotten much more than a regular paying job and debt.  What if I go on for my PhD and am mediocre in the field?  What if I can’t keep up with the expectations of being a professional in my field? What if I have to uproot my family to a far off place just for a job?  What if I become one of those people who are over-skilled and can’t find anything? Most of these questions seem so far-fetched, but I can’t stop thinking about it.  There are too many unknowns. I don’t want all this drive and passion because I feel that there is going to be too much responsibility attached.

I do know that I won’t be happy as a classroom teacher for the rest of my career.  I do know that I’ve changed what I’m passionate about at least 3 times this year.  First I started taking online classes for an ELD Literacy Certificate, then I decided that I wanted to be a grant writer for schools, and then I wanted to get my MA in Curriculum Development.  Now I’m thinking, Why stop there?  I should get my MA in Educational Leadership because then I have a HUGE range of options.  But then, I think about going on the principal track and I think, There’s no way I could do that!!

Well, I couldn’t be a principal in a public school.  I have way too little tact for that.  I don’t like dealing with lazy, self-serving parents.  I can’t even imagine it.  But I could help lead the charge for school choice in San Diego.  The natural grocery store owner friend said I should open up my own school.  Uhhh, that sounds crazy… BUT AWESOME!!  I know for a fact that there are grants available to open up charter schools and Montessori schools.  I don’t know how to write grants officially yet, but I will soon.

THINGS CHANGE, YOU CAN CHANGE

I get inspired to write by anything I read.  The other day I read a blog post from Jeanette Hanscome.  She said, “All of this reminds me that when we are willing to step out in bravery and faith, God has the opportunity to do all kinds of cool and unexpected things! It is especially exciting when our expectations start out small and He surpasses them almost immediately.”

I would have never expected to be jobless again.  I would have never planned to become as passionate a writer as I have become.  I would have never expected to be going back to school to get my MA and possibly further. I would have never thought to ask God to put the specific people he has put in my life very recently.  I do know that He’s putting something on my heart to do.  I do know that He has placed very unique and effective educators, grant writers, university educational librarians, and community college teachers in my life very recently.  I haven’t been able to piece it all together yet but it doesn’t seem like it has happened by coincidence.

QUESTIONS

I know that I’m ready to move when He is, but I have some questions for Him.

  • I know that You want me to step out in faith, but could You please make the path a tiny bit more clear?
  • Am I supposed to stay where I am or move?  Is my future in this town or elsewhere?
  • If You do want me to go on this path, could You provide some at-home job that supplements some income?

 

 

The Truth from a Teacher

This isn’t going to be popular among teachers, but all of us have been here.  

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: teacher unions suck.  The tenure sucks, and as soon as teachers get tenure, many teachers suck too.  Sure, every teacher wants to become tenured because as soon as they are, they can confidently say, “I can do whatever I want.”  Because of this, 3 year teachers are sometimes just as bad as 30 year teachers.  It’s so sad that young teachers with passion to learn and teach walk into any school be told by any staff member which teachers “should have retired years ago.”  These teachers sometimes even admit that they don’t want to teach but only stay because of the consistent income and job security.  

The good thing about the massive, powerful teachers unions is this and only this: California teachers’ salaries are one of the best in the nation.  In my first few years of teaching I get paid almost double that of my South Carolina counterparts.  It’s truly sad how underpaid teachers are around the country. However, overall California teachers have nothing to complain about (I said overall, there are exceptions).  Now many teachers would take this opportunity to complain about how large their workload is, how large their classes are, and how underfunded their schools are to supply their students with education that is intended to change the direction our country is going, but I’m not going to address that right now.  California teachers get paid pretty well, especially when comparing them to most of the rest of the country.  

The only reason we get paid well is because of the unions.  And other than that, what do unions do exactly?  Just exactly what you think they do. They sit around and complain one hour per month about petty intricacies in the contract, about conservative politicians, and about how often their principal walks into their classroom.  People with normal jobs couldn’t complain about how often their bosses check up on them.   Bosses are supposed to ensure that their employees are following protocol and are good employees that they want to keep.  But teachers say that they are being harassed and abused.    

Teachers might say something along the lines of, “Hey Lady, just because you are not tenured, then maybe you are the problem. You are just complaining that we are complaining, Hypocrite.”  Yes, I’ve been passed up for tenure.  Yes, I am not the best teacher on campus. Yes, I am complaining about the system that I have chosen to be a part of.  But no, I am not being compared on a level playing field.  School administration realizes that if they hire me (or any other teacher), they will never be able to get rid of me.  They realize that there is a current threat that they will lose funding and if they do they will have more teachers than they can pay.  They realize that a school-choice rule will follow with a mass exodus of students leaving public schools and, as a result, have more teachers that can’t be fired with too few students to teach.  I am being rotated in a two year cycle.  Many young teachers are being let go regardless of their abilities while schools are preparing for another round of possible funding cuts.   Many businesses do this if they have possible funding cuts but to be let go not because of my job performance but because they can’t get rid of the teachers who everyone knows shouldn’t be teaching is wrong.   Teachers, along with every other job in civilized society, should be continually learning and continually showing that they are teachable and valuable to the schools.  

I want to be evaluated on a level playing field.  If I’m not good enough to be a teacher in a district I want to know that it really is me, it really is my inability to teach, that there truly are teachers with more experience and expertise that should be there and are kicking ass at teaching.  I want to be able to go to the teachers who do have 3-30 years of experience and know with confidence that I have something to learn from them.  And not be resentful that they are only there because they are tenured and can’t be fired.   

QUESTIONS FOR TEACHERS

  • Do you know teachers who shouldn’t be teachers or “should have retired years ago?”  How should schools handle those teachers? Should they just tolerate them until they decide to retire or should there be a alternative in place?
  • What would you say to a young teacher like me and many others who feel this way?
  • Don’t get me wrong, I know the benefits that unions have had for teachers in the past, but are they still effective?  Also, does the power that teachers unions have in California ever bother you?  Why or why not?
  • Do you have your children in the public schools that you teach, why or why not?

Too Many Options

I have not been an official teacher for long, only 5 years, but I have worked in schools as a teacher’s aide, substitute, and a student teacher for about 10.  Teaching is my life. I’ve always known I would be a teacher, and I know I will always be in the field of education in some way.  But like many Millennials, I am discontent with doing the same thing each year.  That is why I don’t.  I will never be a teacher that repeats the same lesson or unit each year. I am an introvert at heart (even though my students balk at the idea that I could be an introvert), and so I thrive on creativity and thoughtfulness.  Honestly, I have never been much of a creative writer (fiction writer), but I have always been a writer.  My favorite types of writing have always been simple journaling or critical thinking-like picking apart bias and general academic expository writing.   Just recently I have realized my passion for curriculum writing, grant writing, and now blogging.

The instant gratification part of me needs feedback NOW!!  But the logical part of me realizes that I need to continue to write, after a few dozen posts, I may pay the extra money to start getting more readers, and continue to trudge through this difficult process while learning from each and every post and mistake.

As much as I don’t relate to most of the stereotypical millennial thinking, I have to admit that I am one. I fall on the earlier side of Millennials, and I was raised by my father who is a retired Sergeant Major in the Marine Corps and Vietnam Vet.  I have grown up with the blue collar worker mentality to earn what I get and work harder to earn more.  But as a Millennial want instant gratification and I want to change the world immediately or I lose drive and hope quickly.  But since I know I am this way, I fight my nature.  Each blog post I complete, I think about how this is just one small step toward one of my goals.    Whether this becomes a successful blog or not, I don’t know.  I hope it will become one but I can’t force people to want to read my ramblings.  But this is a means to an end of finding out exactly what and how I will be successful.

Today after church I started talking to a local natural grocery story owner, the only one in our town, and he recommended that I start listening to Sean Croxton- Quote of the Day.  He said that as an entrepreneur he has had to change his thinking about success. He has to constantly remind himself of what he wants and how he’s going to achieve it.  He knows that success won’t happen if he’s stagnant and negative.  I know that his store is very small but successful.  I attribute it to who he is.  He opened this store that provides something that this little town didn’t already have.  They didn’t have a natural grocery store.  But also he is a man of great integrity who takes amazing care of his family and is in the store carrying bags out for people and each day he spends his time chatting with his customers.  He is currently renovating a newer larger store to open in a few months. It’s been very interesting for me, as an observer, to see this process he and his store is going through during the past year or so.  They have hit so many road blocks, with the county, construction problems, and on but he is always positive and helpful to everyone he comes across.

NOW WHAT?

I have NEVER thought of myself as an entrepreneur until this year.  This desire has welled up in me to do more, be more, and know more.  I have to admit that I’m not content in the classroom.  I want to do more practical things for people who appreciate me and that I have the skills to make their dreams a reality.  Just in the past 3 weeks I have considered all the things that I want to do:

  1. Get my Masters in some sort of educational program:
    1. Leadership to be a teacher leader.  Most of the time these teacher leaders become principals but that sounds very scary to me.
    2. Technology and literacy: I want to know how to use technology to create wonderful curriculum that I can publish and sell.
    3. Curriculum development: I already have about 20 units that I can finish and publish.
  2. Get my PhD and help with the push toward school choice.
    1. Open up a school where we present a better balance of viewpoints, focus on morality, are proud Americans, and do projects do change our communities and our country. If I get my masters in Educational Leadership, this would be a natural next step.
  3. Go in a completely different direction: creative technology (website design and educational technology), business-focused writing, and be a freelance writer.  I realize it is possible for me to do this while doing the other things.

Now I could just simply go get another teaching job.  But then it would push all these goals farther and farther into the future.  The logical, single mom in me wants to put all this on hold.  But the entrepreneur in me wants to make 100k so that I can buy a nice house in San Diego and build a great life for my daughters.

QUESTIONS

Now, these are my options, what am I going to do about it?

  • Where should I go to school and what should I pick as my major?  Going to school for leadership (Principal education) scares me to no end.
  • How am I going to take care of my daughters in the process?
  • How long is it going to take to make all this schooling worth it?
  • What if everything falls apart?

Problems

Let them shape you but don’t let them define you.

I’ve already said a few times that I am not a typical entrepreneur.  I was not born to speak in large crowds; I am actually an introvert by nature.  I have never sold anything in my life and would die of embarrassment before I would become a salesman, at least in the typical sense of the word.  I am so bent on being myself that I fail constantly.  I say the wrong thing, I am not a perfectionist, and I am continually dwelling on what I am not.   Even saying the word entrepreneur when referring to myself makes me shake as I type.

This desire to do more has sprung out of me mostly out of necessity.  I need to make myself indispensable.  I need to make myself successful so that I’m not stressing about money every month.  I am creative and constantly have ideas but have the problem that most of us have, follow through.

FOLLOW THROUGH

I live my life constantly reminding myself what not to do and who I don’t want to be.  I don’t want to be a person who needs instant gratification.  I don’t want to be content with the minimum.  I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize that I was capable of so much more than I did.  I don’t want to waste my life on Facebook.  I don’t want to give up after any mistake no matter how large it may be.  I don’t want to be stressing over money forever. I don’t want to rent an apartment or have roommates forever.  I don’t want to see people who need help and not be able to help them.  I don’t want to waste the gifts that God has given to me.  I don’t want to do it all on my own and have to rely on my own strength because, to be honest, I am a single mom and EXHAUSTED most of the time.

I know my weaknesses, almost too well.  But I also know that God uses people’s weaknesses for His glory all the time.  I rejoice in my weakness because through my weakness can reveal God’s strength.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I will not succeed in my goals if I don’t take steps toward them.  I must believe that I can succeed.  I must believe that any level of education is possible for me PhD or whatever I choose.  I must learn from mistakes and not get overwhelmed.  I must make goals but complete one task at a time, one blog post at a time, one semester or class at a time, one day at a time.  I must not waste time.

But I also must spend time with my children and love their youth.  I must manage my household effectively.  I must take care of my body, my health, and my relationship with God, friends, and family.  I must realize that instant success will be worse for me than the gradual building of it.  I must manage each set of responsibilities in each season to my best ability.  I must be content in my circumstances and be thankful for what God has provided.  I must allow people to help me if I need it and ask for help if needed.

I detail every way that I’m failing in this current season of my life, but this season will last until June, I must accept this.  Now what will I do after that?  I have no clue.  I do have ideas, but I must be content and thankful that God has provided me with time to plan out my next steps.  When I think about all that must take place for everything to go back to school, I almost give myself an anxiety attack…. Housing, costs, school for my soon to be 2nd grader, childcare for my 3 year old, what exactly to major in, how long will I need to go to school, will I start a PhD immediately following or just get my MA,  how is it possible to find affordable housing in San Diego close to the university, which college should I go to,  should I start applying for scholarships now, should I go to a Christian college or just use my beliefs to influence my program… and much, much more.

But I know that God knows my future.  He knows what’s best for me and my girls.  I will trust Him even in my most anxious moments because He brought me here.  He has always taken care of us.  He will use the problems in my life to bring Him glory… and truly I could have much worse problems in my life than these.

 

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