2014 did not turn out the way I expected.
For example, Pyromancy was supposed to be a thing clear back in June, and obviously, it was not. The Book Formerly Known As Pyromancy is going to be a thing NEXT WEEK, which is awesome. Along the way, it morphed into two books, turning our unassuming little trilogy into a gargantuan sized series. It ate up so much of my head space that I didn’t get any alone writing done. The path of life has an unexpected way of twisting like that.
During the summer, my daughter Jessica’s best friend Hannah went to theater camp. At the end of the week, her mother drove Jessica and I down to watch the camp’s final performance. While we were driving, I happened to mention that I really needed a job, and wished I could get back into teaching, but that I wasn’t quite ready to give up writing while my kids were in school, or with being at home for them. I told her that a half-time teaching position would be perfect for me at this stage in my life, and that it was a shame those things didn’t seem to exist anymore.
It was only a day or two later that I got a phone call from her. A half time third grade teaching position had come open at the elementary school. It terrified me, but I decided to apply. I’ve taken an occasional odd job here and there in the past few years, but nothing like this. This was terribly real, and exciting and scary…but it felt good, and somehow, I knew that this was exactly what I was supposed to do next in my life.
So I got myself put together, figured out what I needed to do to get certified in Maine, and headed to the job interview. It never really occurred to me that the job wasn’t mine for the taking. But it wasn’t, and I didn’t get it. They asked me questions about teaching methods I’d never even heard of. Oh yeah…I got my bachelor’s degree in elementary education a whole millennium ago.
Oddly enough, the feeling that I was on exactly the right path didn’t go away. I needed to take the Praxis to be certified as a regular ed teacher, but I needed 8 more credits and to take a different Praxis test to be certified in special education (kind of odd, since my master’s degree is in Special Education, but it is what it is…) I decided to find a good review class for the Praxis so I could get my regular ed certification. I would still have time to write, but I would be taking steps toward a regular paycheck.
And then I got a phone call from the elementary school principal. Didn’t he remember from our interview that I had special education experience? Was I interested in being the long term sub for the math resource room teacher?
Um…yeah. I was interested. But I wasn’t certain I could do FULL TIME. I had a book to finish, and I’ve been having some health problems, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it physically. And that’s when I got mad at myself. For the past year or two, I’ve caved in to my health problems, and the foggy brain that accompanies them. What I needed was to fight back, and this was a golden opportunity. Plenty of people with health problem manage to work full time. So I took that full time but temporary teaching job, and this is what I discovered:
I am a special education teacher. Down straight to the core of me, it was what I was born to be. I loved nearly every minute of it (though definitely not EVERY minute). Although it could be exhausting, it was also exhilarating. For all you full time writers out there, in case you were wondering—writing is exactly the same amount of exhausting as being a special education teacher.
So here I am, at the start of 2015. I am still a writer, but I’m a teacher too, and I have at least 6 books left to write, and then…we’ll see.
My writing goals for 2015: Write and publish Lost Magic.
Co-write and publish Pyromancy.
My teacher goals for 2015:
Take the 8 credits I need for my special education certificate.
Pass both Praxis tests, and get my special ed certificate.
Watch for that perfect next step that might not be taking me where I think I’m going but will take me where I need to be.
My health goals for 2015:
Get fit enough for a family backpacking trip and to be a Ma on Trek this summer.
My parenting goals:
Holy moly, my oldest daughter is going to college this year. Let’s make some awesome family memories before she goes. And let’s not mess everything up this late in the parenting game. Hang on, Melanie. Hang on!
I fully expect 2015 to be a year full of twists and turns. When 2014 began I felt beaten down by life, and had very little faith that I would ever feel like a competent human being again. But here I am. I’m working full time through the end of January, I’m registered for college, I’m planning to go on Trek this summer. Sheena, Sabrina and I have a book coming out NEXT WEEK, and I’m making it through parenting challenges that felt impossible only a few months ago. I CAN DO HARD THINGS, and I’m going to be OK. I’m excited to see what 2015 will throw my way.