What is your next step in your vocation?
Editor's Note: The Journey believes our vocation is very much part of our discipleship and how we live out our days in the kingdom of God. So what we do and how we do it in love and honoring God is very important. So I asked my daughter, Ashley Taylor, to describe her experience of choosing a new career path where she could do what she enjoys that serves others and honors God in her life.
What am I going to do after I graduate from college?
I’ve never been that person that knows exactly what they want to do since they were young. So many people I know were set on a certain major/career and they stuck with it! But I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do even after I graduated from college.
Then I graduated with an English degree, and a lot of people say, “What can you do with that degree?” Honestly, I thought the same thing after graduation. I felt sad, wondering if I would never figure out what I really wanted to do. I prayed God would help me understand what I should do in the future.
I worked several jobs: Jamba Juice, Iguana Island Treats, and Wolf Creek Elementary from February 2017-August 2018. I even got to work as a children's ministry intern for The Journey. I worked alongside Bartola Kuruvilla, and I learned a lot from her wisdom, honesty, and love for children.
Would I pass the test?
Meanwhile, I was constantly trying to figure out my life, my next steps. Teaching has always been in the back of my mind. I always thought that I wouldn’t be a good teacher because I’ve always hated giving presentations or anything that would put me in front of people to speak. But I love kids, and I love English and literature. So, I thought those "qualifications" were enough to try to become a teacher! I decided to take the two teaching certification tests that are required in Oklahoma. I was nervous going into these tests. Would I pass?
Later when the results came back, I passed with flying colors! Just kidding, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but I did pass! But that same day I got my test scores and realized I could be a teacher, I started bawling because it felt like I finally had a definitive career path.
I started to lose hope
So I applied to a bunch of schools and didn’t hear anything back. I was very discouraged. I tried to be hopeful, but as the summer went on, I started losing hope.
Then, one day in June, I got a call from the principal at Oneta Ridge Middle School. "We have an opening for an 8th grade English teacher," the principal said. They wanted to interview me! I was ecstatic.
Going into the interview, however, I was incredibly nervous, but the principal and assistant principal were incredibly kind and welcoming. I got a call the next day, and they offered me the job! I couldn’t believe I had gotten a job as a teacher. I was on cloud nine for the next few days.
The nerves didn’t really start kicking in until a few days before school started, and I thought, “What if the kids don’t like me?” and “What exactly am I even supposed to teach?”
God has sent people to help me along the way
Thankfully, I got a lot of help from the other 8th grade English teacher and she gave me an outline for what we would be teaching throughout the year. She is awesome, and I really appreciate her! On the first day of school, new students walked in my classroom, and I was overcome with more nerves than I’ve ever had. I know these kids are only 13 and 14, but I felt intimidated. I wanted to be the perfect teacher: a mix between strict and kind, so that they don’t walk all over me, but also so that they would like me.
We played get to know you icebreaker games the first two days of school, and I felt like I started getting into the groove of things. I started giving assignments and teaching the second week, and I love teaching! I love being on the other side and watching these students learn new concepts and ask questions.
Loving my new job is not to say that there aren’t new challenges to go along with what I enjoy about teaching. A couple of my classes have a lot of kids that are all close friends, and they seem to think they can yell across the classroom or just get up and walk over to see their friends. I shut that down really quickly, though, and I think that made them realize that I am not a pushover.
Despite the challenges, I really do love teaching so far. I love reading my students’ writing and learning more about them. As the weeks go on, I hope to get better at teaching and to try to learn from my students!
This year, my students will learn about grammar and poetry, write argumentative essays, narrative essays and a research paper, and read four books. We will be reading The Diary of Anne Frank, The Westing Game, The Giver, and A Christmas Carol. I love all of these books, and I’m excited to read them with my students!
Ashley Taylor is an 8th grade English teacher at Oneta Ridge Middle School. She lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and she is a member of The Journey. Her favorite things are her dog Hershey, pizza, hanging out with family and friends, documentaries, traveling, and coffee!