MOBILITY MATTERS: STEPPING OUT IN FAITH
THE JOB OFFER
The speaker on the other end of the phone said, “Congratulations, Amy. The board of directors has approved you for the next academic year. You got the job!”
“Wow! Exciting news!”
I hung up the phone and did a happy dance. Life was just about to get better. A regular income and I could use my Spanish skills!
A few hours later, fright set in.
A barrage of thoughts attacked me. What do I know about teaching children? I haven’t taught that age level in years. Plus, I don’t have any of my own to give me experience. And high school students. Yikes! They’re rebellious. Spanish is my second language. When it comes down to it, I can’t even roll my r’s. How is my vision going to affect my teaching? I’m sure I have a hearing problem, too! How can you teach a foreign language when you can’t hear? What was I thinking when I signed that contract?
Life was just about to take a nosedive!
A few nights later, after the tenth time of plumping my pillow, I finally fell into a restless, uneasy sleep in which a dream unfolded. In it, the Colombian pre-school children I used to teach put in an appearance. I saw dark-haired Lina, Christina, Paulo, Carlitos and Javier–the biter. The kids were running wild in the small, open-air kiosko just built for them. Though they all behaved badly, it was the chubby-cheeked Christina who led them in the rebellion. Even at the tender age of three, the fair-skinned Christina, knew the power she wielded over them and shouted, “¡Venga! ¡Rápido!” They quickly followed her under the bleachers.
I crossed my arms, “Stop this right now.”
Christina peeked out and shook her finger at me. “Su clase es muy fea.” She had called my class ugly, translation: boring.
Changing tactics, I stood in the center of the room, pleading with them to come out and listen to the Spanish music. I switched on the tape recorder and started to clap in time to the music. “Come on kids, uno, dos, tres.”
When nobody came out, I headed for the bleachers and bent down to see if I could spot them. There, in the shadowy crawl space, I saw the two little girls stretched out on the floor, their heads pressed closely together as Christina whispered something in Lina’s ear. Christina tossed her head disdainfully in my direction. “¡No!” Their little shoulders jiggled and I heard laughter, as if this were the funniest thing ever. Javier was baring his teeth and pinching Carlitos. I searched the crouch space under the bleachers and finally found Paulo hanging onto a beam, watching.
“Niños!” I called to the children, “I know, lets—”
Suddenly I remembered I was supposed to teach the high school class. “Play with these balls for a little bit,” I squeaked, throwing them some large plastic balls.
As happens in dreams, I magically arrived at the school in Pennsylvania. Disoriented, I ran down a long, dark hallway, peeking into the classrooms—all in session. Where was my classroom? Where were my students?
Finally, at the end of the hallway, I saw a couple of teenage boys and several girls lounging against the door and surrounding walls. I knew it was my classroom.
“Sorry, I’m late!”
It was as if no one heard me. One of the high school boys pretended to be a car, rolling his r’s flatly, like me.
“No, no, not that way,” I said. “Doble rr, like this…R con R cigarro—”
A girl with long blond hair took a step away from the wall and interrupted my tongue twister. “I saw you trip over the desk and fall flat on your face. You’re drunk! I’m going to tell the principal.” The rest of the students laughed and gave each other high fives.
“No, wait, let me explain….”
Rrrrrinnng. It took me a minute to realize that I was sleeping and that sound was not the school bell but my alarm clock going off. My heart thumped in my chest. What a nightmare! God, this isn’t going to work. No way. I’m not going to take that job. Don’t try to change my mind either!
That afternoon, the principle called me. She told me that the former Spanish teacher wanted to share her lesson plans with me and show me the book. “Let’s schedule a time when you two can meet. She’s here now. I’ll put her on the phone.”
“Um, well, I…” This was the time to say, sorry, this job is not for me. I looked up as if would find God’s face on the ceiling. What are you trying to tell me?
The teacher’s voice interrupted the silence. “Amy, are you still there?”
“Yeah.” I took a deep breath. “Okay, hang on, let me get my appointment book.”
We arranged our meeting. “The kids will be in good hands with you,” the teacher said. “Looking forward to our time together.” Though I often strained to hear another person over the telephone, that day I heard and unmistakable welcome in her voice.
God, really? I guess You want me to stick with this job, huh?