Sunday, April 24, 2011

So What Should I Do About It? (Part 2)

I was ten years out of college when I figured out I might like to be a teacher after all--so what was I going to do about it?

The first step was to find out what it would take to get an Illinois teachers certificate at that point. I rounded up my Wheaton transcripts and the ones from the two courses in Michigan and sent them off to the state of Illinois. I don’t remember why I decided to go straight to the state instead of back to Wheaton with the question, but God was in it because I found out later that Wheaton would have required thirty more credit hours from me to get a certificate.

The state sent me back a list of just thirteen hours total.

Those six hours of educational courses from Michigan turned out worth their weight in credits even though I don’t remember anything I learned, and the state must definitely have counted those Christian Education courses I took. The thirteen hours included requirements for two specific two-hour education courses (one was Philosophy of Education) plus a course in modern math. And would you believe . . . the thirteen hours included five hours of practice teaching?

I soon had a plan. I would substitute teach all that coming school year. LynĂ©e was in kindergarten half days, and Grandma would be available for her and Don if I was called to sub. We brought my teenage cousin Joy from Indiana to watch the children while I took one of the education courses through Wheaton’s summer fast-track, Intersession—two hour credits in one week (or was it two?). The other ed course I would take at night.

At the end of the year of subbing I decided that, of all the classes I’d taught, I liked kindergarten best. I had even survived the day I was called to teach three sessions of it—ninety students—in one day. I patted myself on the back for having learned all their names by the end of each session. (Of course I didn’t remember them three days later—I didn’t need to.) So the following year I earned my last two credits taking a course in kindergarten teaching from the Northern Illinois University (NIU) a few miles west of us.

One day as I worked in my kitchen in August of 1968, the phone rang. A school five miles up the road from our suburb needed a kindergarten teacher—half days only. The opportunity was irresistible. Don Paul would go to “nursery school” three days a week and to Grandma’s the other two days, and I would have a chance to confirm if kindergarten was what I really wanted to teach.

Just like with the six hours’ credit God had orchestrated for me that year in Michigan because He had a plan for them years in the future, I had not the slightest inking that this was another link in the chain of a huge plan He was putting together for my life, a plan that would touch many other lives in the years that lay ahead.

To Be Concluded

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