Category Archives: decisions


“I’m desperate,” said the principal. “I don’t have anyone to teach seventh-grade language arts. Do you want the job?” Although I’m a special education teacher, I am also highly qualified to teach language arts in middle school.
“I need to think about it,” I said. “It’s important to me to keep working with the kids who have IEPs. Let me see if there’s a way to do both.”
“Let me know as soon as you can,” said the principal. “We’re already in the second week of school and I don’t have any prospects. “
“Are you crazy?” the school counselor asked, when I told her what I was contemplating. “Why would you want to try to do two jobs?”
Undeterred, I started to sketch out some possibilities.
Later in the day, I called a trusted friend and told her about the principal’s request. “What’s in it for you?” she asked.
“More work,” I admitted, “but no more pay. I’d have to figure out a way to balance my caseload and teach four classes a day.”
After I clicked off the phone, I asked myself, “Will doing this job help you or hinder you along your chosen path?” I started to entertain doubts.
I awoke in the middle of the night, unable to sleep as I weighed the pros and cons of accepting the principal’s request. I stumbled into the kitchen and turned on my laptop to listen to Pray-As-You-Go.
The Scripture for the day, from Judges, chapter 9, was a bizarre tale about talking trees. I couldn’t imagine why the producers of the podcast had chosen it, and I paid little attention.
But when the narrator read the story a second time, I heard clearly: “And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees?’”
Quickly I paraphrased that question and applied it to my own dilemma: “Shall I leave the sweet moments of special education just to prove that I’m a good language arts teacher as well?”
I had my answer for the principal.