Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A New Chapter

In September all three of our biological kids (yes, that's how you talk when you have bio and foster kids) will be in school full time. I hadn't given it much thought as to what I would do work-wise once that happened and this spring I suddenly realized what was on the horizon. Knowing that our baby girl was likely transitioning home around the same time I needed to consider if we would continue fostering or if I could use this new-found freedom for something else.

Up until Kai was born I worked full-time as a science teacher. After the one year maternity leave I went back part-time and we started a photography business. One and a half years after that we welcomed Koen into our family and I got hit hard with Graves' Disease which meant I could not teach as I barely had enough energy to walk a block – it took 1.5 years to be fully healed.

Having a young family I needed to bring in about $1000/month to supplement Gary's income. We continued with our photography business and it was successful. We learned after booking 22 weddings in one year (along with family and newborn photography) that it would be better to raise our prices and just do 10 weddings per year. Our business lasted from 2009 until 2016 and we learned a lot both business-wise and photography-wise. I am so thankful for that opportunity in our life to meet so many incredible people and the ability to stay home with my kids and still bring in an income. It. Was. Busy. I would edit during nap time and each night after the kids went to bed until 11 PM. The shooting would happen on weekends. I shot three weddings when I was 8 months pregnant with Nya. I don' t think I could do that now. Actually, I know I couldn't.

In 2014 I went back to teaching as a substitute teacher. I worked only one day a week and it was a great way to see how I felt about teaching and parenting as well as getting out of the house. I'm a person who never imagined being home full-time so it felt good. We still continued with our photography business on the side.

In 2015 we started fostering. This means there were weeks when I missed subbing if I couldn't find childcare. We did not have a plan how long we would foster, we just thought we would take it child by child. In July it will be three years that we have fostered and five children that we have had the pleasure of loving and caring for. We photographed our last wedding in 2016 when we knew we wanted our weekends to be set aside as family time.

Here we are in the spring of 2018. Our baby girl will likely transitioning out of our home this fall and all of our kids will be in school full-time. There was a job posting at the school I substitute teach at for a part-time science position. I have said that I will never go back to full-time teaching. I know, I know, never say never, but I am pretty adamant about that. A part-time science position rarely comes up and very few people want a part-time job so after thinking and praying about it (and asking many people who know me well what to do), I decided to apply. I had to write my first resume and cover letter in years.

This was scary to me because with photography, fostering and subbing, I had some flexibility to my life. I could say "no" to certain dates and "yes" to others. A teaching position is going to mean I'll be working each and every day for about four hours. However, by taking a break from fostering we will have freedom in our weekends, evenings and holidays as our oldest can now babysit (he is not allowed to babysit a foster child) and we don't need to worry about visits and respite if we want to take a holiday.

I love teenagers and really enjoy teaching science. Subbing is flexible but I end up teaching all subjects and biology is my true love. I am ready to say "goodybe" to diapers, bottles, nap times, potty training, early bedtimes and all that jazz. Maybe just for a few months, maybe until I'm a grandma. I'm ready for change. I recently subbed a class where they were learning about DNA replication and protein synthesis and it just made me so excited. I. Love. Teaching. Biology.

I found out this week that I got the job! I will be teaching biology and science at 57% for a one year contract and I'm very excited about it. Will I be able to catch up on all the changes that have happened curriculum and teaching-wise over the past nine years? I'm pretty confident in it. I think figuring out meals, cleaning, laundry and appointments will be tricky but I'm hopeful that part-time allows me time to work out and take care of all that needs to be done. If baby is still with us, I do have daycare lined up for the hours that I will be working – I need to cover all my bases.

I look forward to "just" teaching part-time and not having any other roles/jobs. I really want to enjoy this stage of life with my kids and be there for them as much as I can. I'm excited that we'll be bringing in a bit more money (Hello, Hawaii?!) and for the fact that I'll get to speak into the lives of big kids!

So here we are, a new chapter on the horizon. I'm feeling excited, nervous and thankful. It's amazing all that can happen if you trust Him and take it day by day. I imagined I would have been teaching all along and instead I learned so much about photography, business, blogging and fostering. Look at all I did in the past nine years – pretty awesome to develop skills in all those areas and connect with many amazing people. I believe that the skills gained in other areas will be very applicable in the classroom; my heart has grown so much for the needs that each and every child has.

I'm not sure what will become of this space but please stick around! I still want to document our travels and life but I will likely be focusing most of my energy/time elsewhere in the fall. I'm so grateful for this community making me feel heard and supported over the years and I hope to stay connected.

If you've had to do a big transition like this I'd love to hear what your experience was. Now to work on building up my teaching voice again...


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