I had just asked for a sign, some sort of guidance, in a prayer the night before. I was searching for a significant reason for Sean and me to either go back to Colorado at the end of the summer or remain in Missouri indefinetely — when I’m contacted by the high school where I’d graduated over a decade ago.
They need an English teacher, they tell me.
A beloved faculty member has a child recovering from serious illness, and she needs to take the coming year off from teaching. School is starting in a matter of weeks, and a teacher that can take over this position still hasn’t been found.
Then they remember that I’m in town.
With my professional background and sort of vagabond nature, I guess it made sense for me to be a good candidate for this role. I have experience in teaching and writing, am alumni of the high school in question and would be working with many of my former teachers, and I have nomadic tendencies that make me pretty flexible when it comes to year by year planning…
Would I think about sticking around for at least another school year? My alma mater wanted to know.
I talked it over with Sean, thought about it for a few hours, and called back the assistant principal. A few days later I was meeting for an interview with the head principal, the English department head, and another English teacher.
Colorado, off-grid living, and all of my future writing projects suddenly went on hold.
It was a sort of whirlwind of events and decisions, but I think that to me, the teacher I’m stepping in for, and the rest of my colleagues, we feel like everything has worked out serendipitously. We are grateful for whatever circumstances have allowed this sort of “in the right place at the right time” situation.
And now, I’m giving the first semester final to the Language Arts classes I’ve been teaching for the last four months.
That’s not to say that this process hasn’t had its trials. Getting official certification and licensure in the state of Missouri has been no walk in the park, and I could probably soap-box about all sorts of issues and injustices occuring within the education system that I’m suddenly an expert in ;).
But, I mean, who can’t?
I’m just happy to be in the classroom with free rein. Last year, in Colorado, I was lucky to get a glimpse of the inner workings of a high school while I was the assistant to the ELL director, and I’ve been teaching college freshmen and sophomores for years now.
But I never planned, never expected, to lead a high school classroom on my own.
Now, my classroom is my happy place.
And why wouldn’t it be? I get to chill in a room with a view that I’ve made entirely my own with art, plants, lighting, music — the works. And, best of all, I’m surrounded by books and get to talk about them all day.
Like, it’s literally my job.
What?! I love it. Second semester we’re all going to blog together, and just, ahh… I feel very lucky.
What does the next school year look like for me? I have no idea. Will I still be teaching high school in Missouri? Colorado? Not a clue. Where does the Jellybean Shasta tiny house fit in with all this? I wish I could say…
As of right now, we are just holding on to the tiny house and our Colorado acreage. Being still fairly raw and untapped — without new utilities currently installed — the land itself wasn’t crazy expensive, and we had yet to put very much sweat equity into it. We now consider it an investment for a rainy day, a yearly vacation spot, or for something farther on down the road that we can’t yet foresee.
I don’t know what the future holds, not yet. Much of this is out of my hands, anyway. But, I am open to so many possibilities, and there are tons of things to be excited about.
Last winter in southern Colorado was harsh and uninspiring, and I went for months without doing anything substantially Life Rustic-y. Going into 2020, I have a different mindset than I had going into 2019, and I also have a new level of acceptance in terms of off-gridding, the Life Rustic mission, and all that good stuff.
2020 isn’t going to look anything like we thought it would, and the rearranging of priorities over the last year has been pretty enlightening to Sean and me. But really, isn’t that exactly what I was saying in 2019?
Tracy Lawrence sings in “Time Marches On” that, the only the thing that stays it the same is everything changes… everything changes. We shall see what other changes this Life Rustic journey inspires in Sean and me.