Why Bother To Anticipate?
None of us can predict our futures. And though we anticipate good things ahead for our lives, sometimes we are taken aback by how long we have to wait for those good plans to come to fruition. Our delayed ambitions are not easy to live with. They make us restless and hopeful, impatient and patient, all at the same time. To anticipate the future and wait for it at the same time is to live in a healthy tension, one that keeps us alert, attentive and ready, all at the same time.
Growing up, I did not have any specific career plans, but once I was an adult, I fell in love and married. Parenting became my full-time job until my sons were grown and on their own, then I knew it was time for me to step into the workforce. With my limited work experience, and a husband who supported my ideas even when they seemed only half baked, I decided finishing my education to be the first step of business. Returning to school as an older student had its benefits; I was not easily distracted. My focus was to complete my bachelor’s as quickly as possible. The two years were well spent and I crossed the stage with the rest of my classmates to recieve my diploma. With a four year degree under my belt, job opportunities were a little more abundant. I interviewed with the school district and became a paraprofessional, otherwise known as a teacher’s aid, at the junior high.
Though I have friends who find great satisfaction as parapros, I knew after a short amount of time that I would not find contentment in the work. Working one-on-one or with small groups of students was not challenging enough for me and I found it boring. I knew I needed to be in charge of a classroom if I wanted to be happy in the workforce. So, I returned once again to school and two years later, walked across the stage, this time to receive my teaching certificate.
Paraprofessional jobs were easier to find than teaching positions and for another year I remained a teacher’s aide and substitute, sometimes even doubting my choice to become a teacher. At my age, I wondered if I even had a chance at a teaching job. Finally though, I got a call for an interview. It was not in my district, but I was willing to travel if it meant having my own classroom.
For four years, I commuted out of district to a rural middle school and taught 6th grade English Language Arts. Those four years of traveling sixty miles a day were a practice in waiting. Every year, I applied for jobs in my district, and waited with patience. Though I enjoyed my job and my own classroom, I knew I did not want to make the commute for the rest of my career. Then finally, after my fourth year of teaching out of district, I had an interview with a rural school in my district and landed the job.
I had anticipated working in my district someday and that day finally arrived. Having the new job ended my sixty miles a day commute. Having the job I’d always anticipated ended my period of waiting.
Why bother to anticipate? It is worth it to anticipate what it is we are waiting for. Though we do not know how long our wait will be, our patience has the opportunity to grow in the interim.