When I first graduated college back in 1998, I reported straight to the classroom. My degree was in secondary education, and I had landed a job teaching 7th grade English. I was an idiot. I know it sounds harsh, but there is really no other way to describe a guy who tossed scissors into the drop ceiling tiles and piled desks against the wall so that kids could sit on the floor. I taped carpet that I had rescued from dumpsters onto the floor and moved the room around weekly. Never did I take a whole lot of care to make sure things were safe for the kids. At one point, a movie screen that I had attached to the wall using a bent fork, fell into the face of a rambunctious kid... he ended up getting five stitches... he deserved it.
Somehow, I kept my job that year and was even asked by the principal to stay when I decided to leave teaching to pursue an internship with Young Life. I guess I was a pretty good teacher, just too young to know how stupid I was.
After three years of youth ministry, I returned to the classroom only this time to work in the 9th grade. I was still kind of an idiot, but the last three years spent taking kids on trips around the country and the world had helped me to take a bit more care. Again, I thrived and had great success, achieving student favorite as well as earning the respect of my peers through collaborative efforts in curriculum writing and the development of student reward systems. As such, I did what any normal person would do when things were going well; I left teaching again.
We moved to Colorado and I took a position as the Director of Senior High Ministries at a large church. I was in charge of a high school youth group that had about three hundred on the roll and a little over one hundred and fifty kids who attended every Sunday. It was an amazing amount of work, but most of the time, it was a ridiculous amount of fun.
After two years of that, my father got ill and we moved back East to North Carolina where I worked in college admissions, and then for another church as the Creative Director and Student Pastor... that was when the impossible happened. They fired me. After many years of tempering and becoming a "non-idiot" this church decided that I was not the right "fit". Never mind that my family and I had attended the church since almost the beginning when there were only about fifteen people in attendance. Never mind that the church had grown by almost fifty percent in the three years since I had come on staff (one of two full time staff people), never mind that many of the members said that one of the main reasons they came was because of the music (of which I was in charge), never mind that many said that they loved attending small groups and discussions that I facilitated because they felt I was genuine. The head pastor decided that I wasn't a fit, so he convinced the leadership team that this was true, and canned me without warning.
So now I have come full circle. After a short stint working for a company that treated me more poorly than a discarded kleenex, I took an interim position at a middle school teaching 8th grade English.
Now, after ten years out of the classroom, I am back in the saddle, and enjoying it more than ever before. This Monday I will interview for my job a second time as the teacher that I was an interim for has decided to move to Florida (probably to work at the first middle school I worked at). Like I said, "full circle", and did I mention that the church that we now attend is asking me to consider raising support and coming on staff?