On Monday, after a summer of immense shifting and re-organizing (they closed twenty-six schools over the summer), the Kansas City school district kicked off the new school year. And with that, I started my job with the after-school program again.
Work actually began for me about a week end a half before that, with meetings, training, enrolling students, setting up classrooms, and planning lessons. At the beginning of the week, I seriously wondered if we were going to make it, if we were going to be able to pull the program together before school started. Most of our staff weren’t even hired until the end of the week and so didn’t have time for training or lesson planning, and even on Monday none of us had been assigned to a specific age group yet. It was hectic, to say the least.
When I started, I had mixed feelings about working this job again. On one hand, I was excited to be back at the school, back working with the kids, but on the other hand, last spring was littered with frustrations with my boss because of her lack of organization, lack of honesty, and lack of respect for the staff, among other things. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about working under her again.
Sure enough, my frustration kicked in right away when my boss arrived forty-five minutes late for our meetings the first two days. I could feel my negativity building already.
But then God began transforming my heart. At the beginning of the week, I prayed that God would show me how to glorify Him in this job. He reminded me to reflect His heart and character, to walk in honesty, faithfulness, humility, and honor, striving for excellence and integrity in everything I do.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
Suddenly I found my heart blossoming with a desire to serve my boss. It wasn’t a political attitude of trying to say the right things to the right people to gain favor, but a genuine desire to take my gifts, strengths, and time, and use them to serve her, my co-worker, and the kids I’ll be working with this year. Whoa, that was a change. It felt like a huge shift in my attitude towards my job, a change of perspective that could only come from God. And as I began offering my strengths, my organization, my attention to detail, my faithfulness, I slipped right into a role that felt incredibly natural and was surprised by a sudden sense of peace about the job.
Of course, that was followed by a somewhat hectic week of welcoming new kids, chasing a few down hallways (most of whom were old enough to know better), setting limits, learning names, confiscating plastic teeth, getting to know new staff (we lost a couple during the course of the week – and then gained a couple more), and learning by trial and error what works and what doesn’t. But it feels good to be back and the kids are already working their way into my heart.
AND today starts a three-day weekend, complete with glorious, seventy-five-degree-and-sunny weather!