When I signed up for Teach for America in 2012, I never thought I would end up teaching for an additional four years beyond my two-year commitment. I loved working with kids and had been doing so since my collegiate years, but being a teacher was never my plan.
As my final year in TFA flew by and I received my lime green “TB2” shirt, signifying that I had made a commitment to teach beyond two years, I couldn’t help but wonder, how long I would actually remain stuck in the classroom.
Stuck. It makes other teachers, who love their jobs and intentionally chose this path, cringe. But to be honest, that is exactly how I felt. STUCK. Stuck because of the need and the security. The children needed me. I had a steady job and secure form of income. Breaking away from that and stepping out into my true path and purpose meant stepping out of my comfort zone. I was comfortable in the classroom and I sincerely loved my kids. Even after getting married and settling back in my home state, I still found myself seeking the secure stability of a classroom. It was my safe haven.
“I couldn’t help but wonder, how long I would actually remain stuck in the classroom.”
One thing I’ve learned on my spiritual journey is that God doesn’t move in safe spaces, where we feel comfortable. He had given me ample opportunities to make the necessary shift toward walking in my purpose…and make no mistake, it was still working with children… just not in the capacity of a “classroom teacher.” My gifts expand far beyond what I was able and expected to do within the confinements of a classroom. That’s no shade to the educators who give their all as mediators, confidants, nurses and more on a daily basis, but my desire to reach youth at their core has continued to push me out of this makeshift safety net that teaching had provided me.
Earlier this summer, God opened the door for me to become unstuck and, with the support of my husband, I took it. It was probably the most liberating, yet frightening decision I could have ever experienced. Even months later, as I still find my place in what God has called me to be and do, I don’t regret it. I will always be an educator, but my calling has positioned me to reach youth beyond what I could have ever done in the classroom. While you may find me in a school or learning center, it won’t be as a classroom teacher. I commend and support every teacher that passionately educates children and for those who take on the additional the risk of focusing on more than reading, writing and ‘rithmetic…you all are the real MVPs.
“God doesn’t move in safe spaces.”
For anyone who is struggling or feeling stuck in your current position, I encourage you to step out on faith and see what God can really do with your talents and gifts. Don’t wait until you’re forced to make that move…start planning your end goal now, because your end goal is really just the start to what God truly has for you.