Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I registered for the fall semester today. I will be taking 6 classes and student-teaching 2 mornings per week. The following spring, I will student-teach full-time. I am still in shock that I am finally at this point in my school career. It seems as if I have been going to school forever, and I really have. Of course I was in school as a child, and even after I graduated high school and entered into the Air Force, I still continued to take classes whenever I had the opportunity. It took me 7 years to complete an Associates Degree, and when I graduate next May, it will have taken me an additional 5 years to complete my Bachelor's. Still, it will be worth the countless hours spent typing away at this computer, writing papers, preparing presentations, planning lessons, and soon, grading papers. I can't wait to put into practice next fall all that I have learned. I will actually be in a classroom with students with special needs, developing relationships with them, fully responsible for their learning success. This is what I have been working towards for the last 11 years.

Last week, my dream was almost put on hold for a year. I received an email from my advisor. She wanted to meet with me because she just found out I was pregnant. She didn't think I would able to complete the semester since I am due in the middle of it. My immediate reaction was panic- the university has the classes arranged at a certain time. If I don't take them this fall, I have to wait until next fall, postponing my plans for an entire year. I immediately phoned TJ to read him the email. He got angry, but he also reassured me that even if I wasn't able to take classes, life wouldn't be so bad. "Oh really," I asked him. "What would I do for a whole year?" His answer: just be a mom and relax! He knows I don't know how to just "be a mom" as I have been going to school since before having kids. The thought sounds wonderful, and I can't wait to do that, but I have been working so hard and for so long that I just want to finish school.

So this morning was my meeting with my advisor and the director of the field placements. I had to plead my case (I'm not a first-time mom; I've had other children while taking classes at XXX university; I've only missed 1 day for maternity leave; I'm a strong student; I can plan ahead to complete assignments on-time; as long as the professor is flexible and willing to work with me, I can do this!) I had to leave the room as they deliberated, and the jury came back with an "okay, but you have to keep us updated as far as health issues and if something comes up, you may have to postpone until next year. Plus, you need to notify your instructors before the beginning of the semester so they are aware of the situation and can make the necessary arrangements." I am fine with that, but at the same time, I don't want any special treatment.

Thankfully one of my professors from this semester will be my supervisor in the school and I'll have 2 of the 6 classes with her next fall. I just love her! She reminds me of one of TJ's stepsisters as far as looks goes, and at the beginning of the semester, I would just stare at her- they could be twins! Not only that, but she is originally from Long Island like they are, so they have a similar accent. When I told her what happened last week, she was appalled and wanted to come to the meeting with me today. I told her I would wait to see what happened before I had her get truly involved, and so as it is, it all worked out.

TJ is fighting mad about the whole situation. He doesn't believe the school personnel have any business doing what they did, but it all worked out so I am just going to drop it. I am upset, too, but only because of the way things were handled. TJ wants to go to HR and report them for discrimination. I just prayed about it over the last week and the Lord answered my prayer. I only have 3 weeks left in this semester, and then 8 weeks to enjoy the summer before hitting the books again. As in all things, "let God be God." It will all work out for the best, even if it's not exactly how I planned it.

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