Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Yes, No, Maybe May 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 5:26 pm
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Over the past few years, I think I’ve become more decisive… well, maybe… actually, make that definitely- at least for small-scale situations (like deciding what food to order at a restaurant).  However, with the whole job search process, I’ve realized how the magnitude of the consequences of a decision (whether they be positive or negative or some combination) can lead to hesitancy and tends to prolong my decision making process.  Even if I’m pretty certain that the opportunity I’m presented with is good, there are situations where saying “yes” to one opportunity means saying “no” to others that may or may not exist at that moment.

But I’m convinced that in many situations there is not one right decision to be made.  Yes, the decision of what circumstances to put ourselves into is important.  What school do we attend?  What job offer do we accept?  What friends do we hang out with?  Where do we live?  The way we answer these questions will undeniably shape our lives.  But, I think the more important decision to make is what attitude I choose to put on no matter the circumstance.  What will my perspective be when my life is going well?  What about when life unravels?

In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul tells the people that “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who… made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… he humbled himself…”  If I had to use one word to describe the desired attitude it would be humility.  Looking at the prayer of King Solomon in 1 Kings 3, his words convey a posture of humility.  God has just told him to “ask for whatever you want me to give you” (v.5)  In response, Solomon acknowledges the Lord’s kindness and righteousness (v. 6) and admits his feelings of inadequacy for the job at hand, calling himself “a little child” (v.7).  Humbly recognizing God’s greatness and his own limitations, Solomon requests a discerning heart (v.9).  Solomon realizes that the only way he will be able to make good decisions in his position of leadership is if the Lord gives him discernment.

So, no matter my situation, I’m learning that a posture of humility will lead me to ask God for what I really need- wisdom and discernment.  This will lead me to make better decisions that glorify Him.  Also, in James 1:5, we read that “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all withour finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

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College count-up May 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 8:14 pm
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Since I like numbers, I thought I’d do a little college count-up to recap my past 4 years:

0 all-nighters

1 God who has been with me every step of the way

2 countries visited

2 broken bones

5 jobs

5 free tote bags

9 addresses

10 free T-shirts

14 states visited/driven through

15 hours of private bassoon lessons with one of the best bassoonists in the world

22 roommates

45 hours of late night Ultimate Frisbee

250 hours of teaching

300 hours of tutoring

380 dozen donuts made (200 glazed, 150 long johns, 30 raspberry filled)

400 pages written (yes, I added them all up)

All of these numbers remind me of Psalm 90:12 which says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  May that be true in my life! 🙂

 

Post graduation lessons (for Ed majors) May 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 6:57 pm
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Classes may be over and my diploma is probably in the mail, but I still have a lot to learn.  The job search process for education majors can be frustrating.  The well-intentioned “what are your plans now?” questions strike a nerve as we realize that for the first time in our life, we really don’t know. But even in the midst of discouragement and uncertainty, it’s important to keep moving forward with what we know we should be doing.  Here are a few things I’ve been learning in the job search process:

  • With applications almost entirely online, the process is quite impersonal.  So, if possible, do something to set yourself apart, like hand deliver your resume and cover letter to a district office and/or school you are interested in (even if an opening isn’t posted).  Maybe you’ll meet someone important!
  • Follow up calls- make them.  There’s really nothing to lose.  If there is an opening posted, I’d say call every 2 weeks or so to follow up.  You can just say that you wanted to make sure they have all the information they need from you at this time and ask when you may hear about the next steps in the employment process.  Sometimes a school may really forget to call you… you never know.
  • When scheduling an interview, ask how long interviews typically run.  This gives you an idea of the depth of the questions they may ask.
  • Research the district, and especially the school, before you interview.  What accomplishments and programs set this school apart and make you want to work there?
  • More than once I’ve been asked (with some skepticism) how the use of smart boards is different from a white board or overhead.  Be prepared to give example of an activity/lesson that requires the use of a smart board and could not be done without it (ideally something you have already done, not something you plan to do).
  • Emphasize unique experiences that you have had and what you have learned (especially anything related to tutoring or working with kids- even if it didn’t seem like a big time commitment to you).
  • Don’t bother making an elaborate portfolio.  From my experience, you don’t need an exhaustive portfolio.  I made a simple mini-portfolio with 5 documents and a table of contents.  It was small enough that they at least flipped through it.
  • Asking good questions gives you a chance to find out what it would be like to work at that school.  What things are most important to you for your first teaching job?  Write a few questions with that in mind.
  • Ask interviewers what they like most about working at that school/district.  I have found this to be a great way to hear about what they consider the school and district’s strengths.

More than anything, I have found great comfort in Proverbs 21:30-31, so I will close with those verses:

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.  The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”