Monday, May 9, 2011

Open doors and long-anticipated news

Ever since my student teaching got delayed last Spring, I've been itching to know where I'd end up for the Fall.  The rules are: submit your application within the first four weeks of school and you'll find out about your placement during the last week of school.  They tell you just about as late as humanly possible. 

For the Spring, I was placed at Doyle High in Livingston, LA.  I visited the school; it's a country school, i.e. it's all white and primarily redneck.  I went to a school like this once.  Nothing against my fellow rednecks, but I know that's not my calling.  I see myself in the primarily black schools, most likely in New Orleans first.  However, I'll work wherever I can get a job.  A week after visiting the school, I was told by the department that I hadn't passed the Praxis PLT, and was therefore ineligible to student teach for the Spring.  That devastated me.  I had a plan.  I was on track with my plan.  This was not in the plan.

Let me tell you what else happened the day I went out to Doyle High.  I started sneezing voraciously.  When I left, I had to pull over so I could get all the sneezin' out and clear the water that was running from my eyes.  Then I got on the interstate and almost merged into another car who had been perfectly positioned in my blind spot.  I swerved back right and hit the brakes.  The car started fishtailing.  I hit the brakes harder.  The car continued fishtailing.  Then I heard that still, small voice calmly saying, "Take your foot off the brake, son."  I did.  The car straightened itself out.  I was still going 45-50 mph, so I was able to keep rolling back home.

That should've been evidence enough that I wasn't at the right place, but God was still in control.  It wasn't.  I didn't even really consider the significance of that evidence until much later.  When i found out I wouldn't be student teaching, I tried every method I could to get back in.  I tried to challenge the score; I found out it would cost me half of what retaking the test would, and there's no guarantee it'd get changed.  I tried emailing people to ask if there were any openings at local schools, whether as a para-professional, substitute, groundskeeper, anything.  Nobody responded.  I looked at my finances and surrendered to the fact that I couldn't afford to do that job.  I gave up.  I set my focus on finishing my Master's and working full time at Domino's.

I've heard it said so much that it sounds trite, that when God closes one door, He opens another.  I didn't want to hear that.  So, God brought it to me another way:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
 -- Revelation 3:7

So, after waiting for the last week of school to arrive, I checked my mail diligently for the past week.  Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing.  Friday, I gave called the Office of Student Teaching just to be sure.  Yep, letters had gone out that day.  Way to be on the ball, folks.  I cooled my heels all weekend.  Monday morning, i woke up psyched to finally find out.  I checked my mailbox: nothing.  I did, however, receive a second free birthday drink from Starbucks.  That was nice how a computer error or something gave me a second birthday this year.  I'm not complaining.

I walked over to the Office of Student Teaching and kindly gave them the "My landlord is asking where I'm going to live next year, and I need to give him an answer" line.  The lady took me to the back to "verify" my address.  Sure enough, they sent it to my folks' house in Coushatta, which is four hours away from me.  While she was "verifying" my address, she went ahead and showed me where I'd be:

Ponchatoula High School. 

This place is about ten miles away from where I live, and it's in the area where I deliver pizza for Domino's.  I could stay where I am and not be too bad off, or i could find a better place closer in and save even more on gas (especially since I'm doing this for zero dollars an hour). 

Then I noticed the name of the teacher.  A month or so back, Ponchy High hosted the Special Olympics, and the teacher to whom I have been assigned was in charge of the concessions stand.  I delivered the pizzas directly to her. 

Who knew that, while diligently working my job and doing quality work, I'd make a connection to the person who would be in charge of me?  Had I treated her like my boss was saying (there were some issues with the orders), I would've made a bad impression.  Apparently, she's as excited for this opportunity as I am.  Then I read the eighth verse of Revelation 3:

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (v. 8)

So look forward to more posts on Student Teaching between August and December.  I'm not sure whether I should clue her in on my blog or not.  Or whether she'll be resourceful enough to find it herself.  Hey, a Google search for my name ends up with my Blogger profile, so who knows!


  1. Nice how God works everything out sometimes, isn't it. I spent far too much time trying to get a degree that just wasn't for me as well, but in the end it all went as God planned anyway :)

  2. College is definitely one of those "journey > destination" events. I learned far more in college about the mindset of a writer than factual information about English literature.