I was taking part in my morning ritual of coffee and blogs when I came across Stacy's clever post entitled, Christmas in July. She asked if any of us are organized enough to shop for Christmas gifts year around, or if we tend to wait until the week of December 20th. This reminded me of the yahoo group to which I belonged, Christmas Notebook, where the 25th of every month was devoted to crafting for the holidays. This could be making decorations for the house, or creating personalized gifts for loved ones. I am never quite organized enough to keep up with Christmas throughout the year, but I do tend to start making lists in September and shopping in October, with the thought of completing most purchases on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving).
I fear that this Christmas, however, will probably be a bit sparse in the gift giving department. While Geoff and I are incredibly fortunate to have jobs, I anticipate a severe pay cut this semester. As many of you know, I am an English teacher in a very small private school. This school is rather unique in that it is a part of the Association of University Model Schools where students either take classes on Monday - Wednesday - Friday and/or Tuesday - Thursday. In addition to this rather unique schedule, enrollment is cafeteria style, meaning that students can take as few or as many courses as they desire. As a result, not only are teachers paid a small percentage of the typical public school salary (this is common for small private schools) BUT we are paid by the student. To put this in perspective, last year I had about 90 students enrolled in my 6 classes and made a little over $20,000.
On Wednesday I had a meeting at school and learned that so far this year my enrollment is less than half that number - about 40 students signed up for the 8 classes that I have consented to teach (I added two new classes, hoping to combat the anticipated lower enrollment figure). I do anticipate more families signing up as the August 23rd start date approaches, but I do not expect anywhere near the number from last year. If I didn't feel like this was truly a calling in my life, I would question my sanity.
So I find myself this week in a bit of an anxious state of mind. On the one hand, I truly do want to continue to pursue the goal of "enjoying the journey" and taking pleasure in all the little blessings of life. On the other hand, there are necessary expenses that must be met and I question whether I am doing the right thing by staying in a job that I love - but which does not compensate me well. While I know that money is not everything, I would be naive to believe that it is not something. So each morning I awake and give this problem over to the Lord --- and each evening I realize that I have taken it back again. He is in control - He knows my situation better than I know it myself - He is all powerful and resourceful. Why do I feel that He needs my help?!
A rather heavy post for a Sunday morning. I had intended this to be a rather light reflection on the upcoming holiday season. I suppose this is weighing on my mind more than I originally thought.
So I will try to end the post on a more optimistic note. My current calendar for the week shows NO scheduled appointments nor meetings nor chores nor errands. In fact, it is completely open until August 12th! While the weather in the Midwest continues to be too hot and humid to do much outdoor photography, I do hope to read some on the subject and begin to list possible subject matter for the August Break challenge. In addition, I have started reading the textbook for the new English Composition class I will be teaching this fall (the class with my largest enrollment), and I hope to continue to make headway into writing the syllabus (I actually love the part of the job --- it is the grading of all those essays that I do not look forward to).
I will probably not do much scrapbooking this week, but I do plan to scan all the photos for my daughter's album into the computer so that I have copies for myself. I will try to organize all the collected supplies (papers and stickers and die cuts) so that when the fall comes, I will be ready to create lovely pages from the start.
In short, I plan to make the best of the two weeks left of summer vacation 2010.