In the name of Allah…
This is not for me! Gotta make a change. My thoughts several months ago.
My background is education. Before a bit of a break, I’d taught middle school math for 10 years. And yes, I’m aware that middle schoolers can be a bit…let’s just say challenging. But the desire to teach those challenging little people is what God has placed in my heart to do.
This short break has been one school year to be exact. The decision to call it “quits” at the time was due in large part to the educational system that has ALOT of challenges, and my brain needed a time out – longer than the 2 month summer that comes each year.
My husband, however had mentioned about midway through the 2017-18 school year that I should consider being done with teaching and helping him with his construction business. I must admit, at first, this was not an idea I favored when he first mentioned it. It was due in large part that I’d gone to school, earned my bachelor’s and my master’s to teach, and you want me to give that all up just like that?!
Well, as the year continued on, the idea of leaving teaching kept coming back to mind. That school year, I’d said my Shahada or testimony of faith and embraced Islam. I was learning a great deal about Islam, submitting to Allah’s way and the importance of the many roles we play. A role that is most important to me is being a mommy to my four kids. And not just any kinda mommy; the one as God would say I should be.
I’d finally made the decision to resign and not return to teaching the following school year. As co-workers began finding out, no one seemed surprised or confused by my decision. Many even congratulated me.
Let’s fast forward to now. It’s the summer before the start of the 2019-20 school year, and I’ve decided to return to teaching. Yeah, I’m going back.
Being home for a year has come with a great deal of blessings – my relationship with my children has never been better, as I’ve been able to teach them about Islam not only by my words, but by my actions. I’ve been able to attend Jummah or Friday congregational prayers more regularly, and I’ve been an asset to my husband’s business.
But I’ve also had an internal battle that I’ve been tested with. The desire to return to work was there. But what about the craziness of a broken school system? What about my own children? Our relationship? As this new way of life is showing me, I’m to seek God’s guidance in all that I do BEFORE making decisions.
I prayed the Istikharah prayer or the prayer seeking good and that which is good – the prayer Muslims make to seek God’s guidance and wisdom before we make a decision. This is an action I’ve been trying to practice. Before Islam, I had the habit of making decisions on my own just because I felt like it, which all too many times had backfired and produced outcomes that were not all that great – to say the least. I wanted to know if returning back to work was good and better for me.
However, just making the prayer isn’t enough. My understanding is that we also have to do our part and prepare for what we want that outcome to be. For me, I wanted to – no, I felt like I NEEDED to go back to work. But I knew that if going back to work was better for me, God would make it so.
The area where I live, the school district’s job fair was coming up. Oh, forgot to mention I had very specific conditions if I were to return to work (I’m mentioning this for a reason):
- I wanted to teach in the same school district my children were attending (due to my kids extra curricular activities, all praise and thanks to God, logistically this was needed to maintain my sanity!),
- I wanted to teach at a school that was as close to my house as possible, and
- I only wanted to teach 6th grade math.
Subhanallah or Allah is perfect!
The night before the job fair, I’d researched the schools I was most interested in and spent hours adjusting my resume and cover letter (yes, this should have been done days or weeks before – I know, but as my mother would say, my middle name is procrastinate).
The morning of the job fair, I’d made more adjustments to my resume, started to print and of course my printer was out of black ink…yeah 😒. What did I do? I walked right in that fair with 10 copies of resumes all printed… in navy blue ink.
Me and my navy blue resumes 🤭 are at the fair. Although a bit nervous, I was feeling good and confident. In my heart I knew that the outcome of the day would be what God intended.
Each school had their own table with lines of patiently waiting job seekers. After getting an idea of where my researched schools were, I went and got in the shortest line. And of course, I got SUPER nervous when I was up next.
After I gave my resume and spill to the the campus’ math specialist, I was told that they “may” have a math position available and that she wanted me to come in for an interview – Alhamdililah or all praise and thanks to God. We scheduled it for a later date, and I was on my way to the next shortest line.
I gave my resume and spill again, and this time, though, the principal of this particular campus was excited and asked if I had time for an interview – like right then and there! Uh…yes, please!
We made our way down the hall to the designated classrooms for interviews, and it went well – Alhamdililah!
So, I’d made my way back to the area where all the schools were, and the first campus I’d spoken to, the math specialist was walking my way. And this time she had the school’s principal with her. I think she’d seen me either going to the interview area with the previous school or heading out.
After exchanging hellos, I was asked if I had time for yet another interview right then. And again – uh, yes…please! It too went really well. Afterwards I was introduced to the assistant principal and a few days later I would do a campus visit.
After two on-the-spot job interviews, most probably would have been satisfied with that and called it a day. But there was one more school I wanted to provide my resume to, and it had only one other person in their line waiting. What’s key here is that my youngest two are on track to attend this school once they are in 6th grade and this campus is about 12 minutes from my home. Remember my specific conditions I’d listed earlier…
I provided my resume along with my teaching qualifications and why I’d be a good fit for the campus. And the administrator was just writing away, taking notes as fast as she could. She tells me that they don’t have a “posted” position just yet but she knows of one that may be coming up. However, she tells me to email my resume to both her and the principal of the school.
Alhamdililah, the job fair, in my book, was a success.
The school where I had the second interview with, after the campus visit, I’d received a phone call from the assistant principal asking for updated information on one of my references, and spoke highly of the campus, my interview and campus visit. After the call, I felt like I pretty much had the job…
Remember the very last school I’d met with before leaving the fair, the one that’s 12 min from my house? I’d emailed the administrator and principal for a 2nd time letting them know I was VERY interested in working there, but received a reply that the math position was not available at that time…😕
A week or so go by and I still have yet to hear back from the assistant principal. This was odd because I just KNEW I had the job. So I emailed all three who I’d met with – the principal, assistant principal, and the Math specialist and no response. I’d also called, and no one was available. I finally decided to go up to the campus and find out what was going on.
I get there and neither the principal or assistant principal were available, but the math specialist was. When she came from around the corner to meet me at the front office, the look in her eyes and the energy I felt from her was all so different than the first time we’d met. We go into the hallway and she basically said they decided to go with someone from within the campus – I didn’t get the job. I walked out feeling and looking like I’d been defeated, and when I got to my car, I cried like I was, too…Subhanallah (All is perfect).
In the weeks that went by, I had to practice positive self talk alot, reminding myself that all that had happened was according to God’s plan, and this all was a test – I had to trust in Allah.
I did just that…
I recently had an interview with the administrators of the school that’s 12 minutes away from my house – which is the closest campus to my home, that’s in the same school district my children attend, that has a 6th grade math position available…where I’m now that 6th grade math teacher!
Trusting in Allah is a great deal easier said than done. But think about all the blessings and great things that have come from waiting and trusting Him. Now think about those times when you didn’t and you acted on your own accord. For me, I caused more harm than good.
What helps you trust in God? What has come from you doing so?