Do you like success stories? Cuz I got one for you.
Ever since I made the decision to work part time next year, I have been praying and hoping that a great opportunity would come up for Greg. Right now he works in the day with adults with special needs, and at night you can find him at one theater or another performing. A few months ago he was in The Foreigner. Now it's Peter Pan.
While both his "day job" and his "night job" pay, neither pay extremely well. And his night job is not exactly steady. He's usually in a show, but not always. Sometimes there is a lull for a few months. Sometimes he doesn't get cast. The money comes when it comes, but it is impossible to plan when his next paycheck will come or how much it will be.
Greg has always wanted two things in a career:
1) To do what he loves.
2) To be able to provide for a family.
Pretty basic, right? The problem is that what Greg loves is theater and doing theater and providing for a family almost seems to be a paradox. We have wondered countless times if it is really possible to do both. Last year around this time we nixed our decision to go to California and chase the big time acting dream. It didn't feel right at all, and only when we decided to stay here did we feel relief and peace that had been evading us for months.
So he found a daytime job and continued to build his resume with local plays and commercials.
With a baby on the way, our plans changed a bit. Our hope for next year was to try to find a theater teaching job for Greg. There were two big problems with our plan. Problem #1 is that Greg doesn't have a teaching license. So, he figured out the process to do an ARL (alternate route to licensure), which would allow him to start working full time and work on obtaining his teaching certificate at night. It's not an easy process, but it's doable.
Problem #2 is that there are very few theater jobs that open up each year. There is typically one theater teacher per school. These teachers usually stay decades at their schools- they build up an entire program. As teaching jobs have opened up this spring, Greg and I have looked anxiously for any theater teaching jobs. As of a few weeks ago there had been two positions that opened up- one full time position two hours north of where we live and one 2/3s position about half an hour south. It was a frustrating process.
In the middle of all of this, I decided to go part time next year. Naturally, there was a huge part of me that worried. Would we be able to make ends meet without my ultra steady paycheck coming in? Any time I felt this stress and nervousness, though, I remembered how I felt when I told my principal I wanted to go part time and how I felt when I decided to marry Greg. Both times I felt incredible peace and joy- signals to me that I was making the right choice.
So I have tried my best to not stress and to put it in Greg's hands and God's hands. The two of them could figure it out.
That's not to say there weren't stresses. The night of our anniversary, for example, when Greg was trying to attach his transcripts to a teaching application. Stress, tension and frustration was at an all time high. We were celebrating three years of marriage, and I was certain we would never see four.
A few weeks ago, I casually scrolled through the new jobs that the school district I work for had opened up for next fall. There, at the end of the list of job openings was a full time theater position. I clicked on the link to see where. My eyes about dang near popped out of my head to read that the position was at my very own school.
I thought for sure it was a mistake. This is the theater teacher's first year here. There was no way he would be leaving. He'd be here another 20 or 30 years for sure! As soon as lunch was over I hurried down to find my principal. He told me there was, indeed, an opening. I asked him if they had anyone in mind for the position already. He said no, the job was totally open. I told him my husband was interested. He said to make sure Greg did the screening interview with the district so that his name could be added to the pool of candidates. (In my school district all teaching candidates must complete a screening interview at the district before they can apply for individual jobs at the school.)
In the middle of all of this we were waiting for the state of Utah to send Greg his official letter of acceptance to do the alternate route to licensure. Without this letter the school district wouldn't even allow Greg to do the screening interview. Every day we checked the mail. It didn't come. It didn't come. It didn't come.
These were stressful days. Days of quiet panic. Every day that the letter wasn't in the mail was one more day that got away from us, lessening the likelihood that Greg would be able to apply for the job.
Finally, on a Friday, Greg got the letter. He scheduled his screening interview for the soonest possible time- the next Friday. The Wednesday before Greg's screening interview I looked at the job posting online again. My heart sunk to see that all names had already been sent to the principal for consideration and the open window to apply was closed.
I panicked. I hurried down to find my principal. It was almost 4:00. No one was in the office.
The next morning, Thursday, I rushed down as soon as I got to work. Principal wasn't in his office. "Where's the principal?" I asked anyone who would listen.
"He's out for the rest of the week." Someone answered.
I almost started crying. Right then and there at 7:20 in the morning in the middle of a busy high school office. Our chances were slipping right out of our fingers.
On my way back to my room I saw my favorite vice principal in her office. I decided to see if she knew anything.
"When are you doing interviews for the theater teaching position?" I asked.
"We already have."
"Seriously?" There couldn't have been a worse answer
"Yes. Yesterday. We interviewed three people. Why?"
"My husband is trying to apply for that job! I told the principal about it! His screening interview is tomorrow!"
I think my vice principal could see my utter panic. That I was on the verge of some kind of awful pregnancy breakdown. She wrote down some notes, said she would call the principal to see if they had already chosen the new teacher, and get back to me. I tried my best to remain calm, but I was a hot mess. The window on our very best possibility for a job was slowly, but surely closing. Right in front of my very eyes.
She emailed me a few hours later, "Have Greg send me his resume and tell him to go ahead and do his screening interview on Friday." I didn't know what this meant, but I replied instantly. "Yes ma'am."
I called Greg and told him during his lunch break he was going to have to fly home and send a copy of his resume to the vice principal. He flew.
Greg called his top reference that afternoon to tell her she may be getting a call from a high school. She said they'd already called.
By that evening my vice principal called him and scheduled an interview for the next Monday.
On Friday, he nailed his screening interview.
The window was closing, but it wasn't closed. Not yet.
Sunday the nerves started kicking in for both of us. We told very few people about the interview. I told my mom, he told his parents, and other than that we were kind of just afraid to breathe. As if any slight breath would forever knock over our carefully stacked blocks.
Sunday night I asked Greg every question I can ever remember being asked in an interview, "How do you help your students who are failing?" "What are your best classroom management techniques?" "What do you do to engage your students who don't care?" "How do you use technology in the classroom?" "In what ways do you collaborate with your peers?" We went over questions until we both felt sick, and so we put it in God's hands and watched Netflix the rest of the night.
Monday I was a nervous wreck at school. His interview was at 2:30. I didn't breathe a word about it to anyone at school. I watched the clock. I tried to participate in the lunch conversation with my fellow teachers. I got totally lost in the book I am reading with my seniors to not over think the damn interview.
Greg popped in my class to say hi at about 2:10. That boy is always early for big events. He watched me teach for a few minutes and then snuck out to go to his interview.
When it was all said and done, about 3:00 he came back up to my room. By that point the last bell had rung and I was putting in grades. Greg looked beyond relieved. He told me that he felt he had done as well as he possibly could have- that if he didn't get a job it wasn't because he hadn't accurately presented himself. It was out of our hands now. Greg said he'd know by Wednesday at the earliest, Friday at the latest if he got the job or not.
And so the waiting commenced.
Tuesday I couldn't help it- I checked my phone every 20 minutes to see if Greg had called. I knew he would call me as soon as he heard anything. I also knew it was very unlikely that he would hear back today. No calls. No texts.
About 3:00 Greg called me on his way to his afternoon shift. Still no word yet, but that was to be expected.
At 3:20 I was driving home when Greg called again. He never calls 20 minutes apart unless there is a special reason.
"Greg?" I answered.
"I got the job!"
There was shock and excitement and relief but mostly immense gratitude. An overwhelming sense of gratitude. Mostly we can hardly believe it.
It is overwhelming for me to think about how everything came together so perfectly. It was the opposite of a perfect storm- everything came together just right to allow Greg the job. Had one element been missing, he wouldn't have gotten the position. The letter came in the nick of time. I happened to check the posting online the day it closed and talked to my vice principal before the job was filled. Greg's screening interview was already scheduled for that exact same week. Not to mention that my vice principal worked many years at the school that Greg graduated from... she worked closely with one of Greg's huge mentors and teachers- a mentor who certainly gave Greg a positive referral and had a huge hand in him getting the job.
And so, that is where you will find Greg and me next year. He'll be at one end of the high school every day of the week practicing monologues and putting on plays. Every other day I'll be at the other end, grading essays and analyzing The Scarlet Letter. On those days our baby girl will be downstairs in the daycare. We couldn't have asked for a better situation for our little growing family.
I don't know how long Greg will teach. He might love it and stay forever. Or in five years he might decide he wants to do grad school. Maybe we'll end up in California after all. The future is totally open. Above all we are beyond blessed and beyond grateful. God is certainly looking out for us.
Life is good!