Knock Knock.

That's the sound of opportunity. But is it the right one?

Dear Natalie,
I just had a meeting with Susana Ghio, Recruiting Specialist for Salem-Keizer. She let me know that on 1/31/09 they will be hiring bilingual teachers on site, meaning that you would be interviewed that very day and receive a letter of intent. (You wouldn’t have to accept the job, but you would have their promise of an offer.)

Mucha suerte,
Karie Mize (Bilingual Program Coordinator)

You're probably wondering: "What is this?" So am I. I had to re-read it several times just to make sure I was reading it correctly. Here's the gist: I will be graduating in June with my teaching license and a bilingual endorsement that allows me to teach English Language Learners. Basically, I'm going to be a hot commodity. The schools are so desperate for teachers with these qualifications, they are doing everything they can to get us to work for them. Including, apparently, hiring us MONTHS before we even have our official license. Of course I would not start teaching until the following year, but I would be guaranteed a position.

To sum it up: I'd be graduating with a job already lined up. No, not a job. A career.

I should be ecstatic, right? Isn't this the very position so many college graduates wish they were in? So why am I feeling so panicked?

I've marinated on these questions for awhile and have come to the following conclusion:

I'm not ready to grow up.

I want to, no, I NEED to travel. And not just vacation-type-traveling. Real-life-experience-traveling. I need to see what is going on in the world RIGHT NOW. What are people doing? How are they living their lives? And in what kinds of conditions? I need to be connected. I need to be a part of it. I need to be in the MIDDLE of it. I just need to.

I've felt called to missions since I was 11 years old and attending my very first Mexico Mission Trip with Judson Baptist Church (side note: wow, was I really just 11 years old?!??!). I have a heart for human injustices and I can't just passively send my support. I need to be RIGHT THERE, doing something, helping people, LOVING people. And if I start teaching, I'm afraid my traveling needs (yes, they are needs, not wants) will be put on a back burner where they will eventually fizzle out and die... only to resurface again once I'm too consumed with grown-up life to take off and meet them.

Okay so, I've got it all figured out then, right? I'll just travel for a while and then come back and settle into my career. WRONG. No matter how hard I try, I just can't mute the blaring sounds of the $30,000+ in debt I've accumulated while earning said college-degree-that-will-make-me-exactly-the-kind-of-hot-commodity-most-people-wish-they-could-be-but-I'm-no- sure-I'm-ready-for. Oh, God will provide, you say? Well yes, I trust in Him. But I'm also fairly certain He calls us to be responsible and not test Him. And running away from my debt, though for honorable reasons, still seems a bit too much like testing Him for my liking.

So what do I do? (besides pray like it's going out of style?) Any suggestions? Insights? ANSWERS?!


Kendra said…
How exciting!!
If the job doesn't start until the following school year, and you graduate in June, couldn't you travel this summer?????
Kendra said…
hey, this is david. i have only one thing to say. while i'm sure you want to get out there and see the world and the conditions people are living in and start helping them, as you say "right there" -- that is exactly what bilingual educators are doing. need i remind you that we are teaching to a very marginalized population. the measure that was just defeated, you might notice, still had plenty of supporters who would turn their backs on these children to save some tax dollars. i understand the want to travel, but the need to help can be satisfied right here, right now. you need go no farther than a street corner to find how people are living right now and to be "right there". don't be discouraged. the lord knows your heart for travel and opportunities will arise just like this one has. this is the start of a career that may have many phases. a few of those phases may allow time for travel (and work, maybe?). be patient. pray for wisdom. grow where you are planted. be wise with your responsibilities and your debts. the lord blesses those who live in such ways.
Amanda said…

You and I have already talked about this. You know how I feel. I think it would be very wise of you to take a teaching position now and start establishing yourself with a job history and have a way to pay off your student loans. You have mentioned that if you commit to a certain number of years of teaching at a low income school, they will pay a portion of your loans for you. A win win. Like Kendra said, you can always travel during the summer. Most people start their careers with a measly one week paid vacation a year. As a teacher, you'll have many weeks of vacation time to go explore and be a part of new cultures. And like David said, while you are teaching, you'll be providing a vital service and helping out at the same time in your chosen field. That's incredible! Most people work just because they have to and don't get to do what they really love. But ultimately, if you really truly just feel that you have to travel, consider taking a year off and making that happen.
Karie said…
You have some sound friends giving you advice, Natalie. I traveled the summer before I started teaching and the summer after I started teaching. But I also took some time before I went for my teaching license. Anything you choose will be amazing. You have lots of options. Enjoy them ;-)
Vanessa's Dad said…

It's a nice problem to have... these job choices questions. I don't think there's a wrong answer. Think, pray, pray some more. If you seek God's will, He will bless that. Rest in that...

Can't you do both? Are there mobile teaching jobs that will pay you to travel & teach?

I know a few mobile nurses that make serious bank by traveling and nursing.
Samantha said…
your dad is so cute. But really, what he said is true! What a nice problem to have! :) What an awesome job opportunity! If you want to travel and that has been on your mind for a long time, then do it. You can always teach, although I guess you can always travel too..... I'm sure job opportunities will arise again if you didn't accept this one.. if you want to travel first, then start your career path. Good luck in making your decision! When do you have to let them know by?
David Brown said…
Hi Natalie,

I think you are asking grown up questions and expressing grown up perspectives and the mixed feelings, like anxiety and concern that you might miss Gods best for you and mess something up--welcome, fellow adult traveler. The very ability to admit to these feelings is quite mature. I've admired you for a long time now, actually. Uncle David