I handed in a resume to two school boards today, with a little breathless hesitancy, covered over by my best attempt at a calm and friendly smile. I think one of the most helpful and underrated teaching techniques I’ve come by is pretending to be confident and relaxed even when you aren’t. That way at least somebody feels like you know what you’re doing.
It’s strange to be reaching the end of a chapter of my life that I’ve been in for what feels like forever, and yet also seems to have gone by so fast. After being in college and university for the past five years, the thought of finding a full time job, getting married, wading through Canada-US immigration, moving into a new place and beginning life as a couple is all a little frightening. I have nightmares of being a stay-at-home job seeker, trying desperately to get some work as a substitute teacher while Michelle and I both struggle and learn through all the things that come with life on our own. I don’t actually have nightmares — they’re more like flashes of panic in the middle of an English class or on a bus ride — the kind that I imagine might flash through the mind of someone about to jump out of the open door on their first attempt at skydiving. It’s this feeling of, “ohmygoodnessidontactuallyknowificanmakeit!”
But I can make it. The panic subsides. I reason with myself and look at all the years I’ve spent preparing to be a teacher and tell myself that I’m equipped and able to live through my first year of teaching students. I can do it. Or I think back on my first field experience of student teaching and think of how I felt after the initial newness of it all had faded — how comfortable and familiar I began to feel with the kids. I can calm myself by looking at school board websites and budgeting tools, estimating how Michelle and I will be able to make it through our first year financially. It all helps.
But ultimately I find myself looking back over the past few years. I think of all the unknowns that have now become landmarks behind me, and all the questions I once had that have since fallen into place. I think of all the desperate prayers I’ve voiced, and how they’ve been answered, in some way or another, just as the Lord desired. I think of Michelle, and the fact that, though I feel pretty unprepared to care for her and provide for us as a couple, I’ve seen the way God has cared and provided for us along the way, with each of our faltering steps. I remind myself that “thus far the Lord has helped us,” (1 Sam. 7:12) and we can know that He will continue to do so.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about all the things that have to come together —all the details that need to be sorted out, and and all the changes that need to be adjusted to. But I know that we haven’t been alone. And I know that He who has brought us this far will lead us where we need to go, and provide for us in the moments of uncertainty and craziness. It’s exciting, exhilarating, stretching and fun, and I’m so glad I’m not alone in this journey into the unknown.