Those of you who know me well can attest to this fact: when sleep presents itself as even the remotest possibility, my body willingly accepts the offer. Usually this manifests itself by causing me to fall into slumber a mere seconds after my head hits the pillow at night, but the situations are eclectic: on a plane, in a car, head down on a desk, watching a movie, slumped awkwardly in a chair. True, it's technically inaccurate to say I'm a narcoleptic, but the fact remains that my biggest issue with sleep is wishing it would back off sometimes and keep me from missing so darn much of life.
So what does it take, you ask, to cause me to lie awake at night without the slightest hint of drowsiness as thoughts run wildly through my agitated mind? Namely this: having the sudden realization that I live in another country, the next day is my first official teacher work day, I will be in the classroom teaching students (um, what?) in exactly 8 days, and I haven't created a single lesson plan. Oh, and they just gave me a new subject to teach. Yep...that's what does it. Who knew?
I've been planning on teaching 7th-12th grade health class, which remains the case, but a few days ago I was asked if I would be willing to teach a bible class. Sure, I said, I'm open to that. Yesterday the verdict was official: 7th grade bible tacked on. I am fortunate enough that out of sheer intuition I decided to cram some of my undergrad bible textbooks into my carry-on, but still. It was unexpected. Though truth be told, would I have actually done any planning if I had known? Probably not. Had I done any health planning? Nope.
So it came to be that last night (or more specifically, around 1 am this morning), I decided it would be a good time to start thinking about how I was going to teach.
Now, I would say up to this point I have about 4.5 hours of actual teaching experience...and most of that was instructing my college peers in a mild presentational format with Powerpoint at the ready and the gracious tutelage of the esteemed Dr. Elaine Phillips as my guide. Decidedly not middle school and high school kids from a different culture who, if the stories are correct, are not exactly the most compliant or motivated students one could encounter.
...In other words, I was experiencing a mild amount of anxiety.
All of a sudden, however, something dawned on me. My goodness, I thought, I am completely ready for this. For 7 years now I've been a registered EMT and thereby have some pretty extensive knowledge in health-related matters. In addition, I started my college career as a Kinesiology major and took several more human-body classes. I later changed majors; but to what? Biblical Studies. Of all the things they could have asked me to teach, these classes were, as they say, right up my alley. I was probably the most prepared un-prepared person there could be.
At this point there came a new thought: earlier in the evening, the principal's wife had talked to me about being a key member in the coffee shop/hangout center they want to open for the kids. She had heard from Barrett that I was a former barista at Starbucks. Would I be willing to train everyone on the new espresso-maker when it arrived? Definitely; sounds like fun.
It then occurred to me, not without a tremendous amount of gratitude, that the Lord had been using all of these things in my life to prepare me for this moment, right here. A most remarkable sense of peace settled over me, and this verse popped into my head: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I grinned. "Ok, Lord," I thought. "If you've been so obviously and intimately involved in the details of my life up to this point, there's no way this isn't going to be ok. In fact, I bet it's going to be awesome." Still smiling, I turned over and fell asleep.
And today I started planning lessons.