Hitting 68 With 8th!

Yes, on May 5th I hit a 6 followed by an 8. 68, sixty-eight, seis-ocho (My high school Spanish wasn’t bueno!)

I spent most of the day with about 90 eighth-graders, none of them aware of it being my birthday…which I was happy to keep secret. If they would have found out I would have had to endure hearing a number of high shrilly voices tramatizing my hearing.

I was ending a long-term substitute teaching assignment for a great teacher who had gone on maternity leave back in mid-February. She returns next Monday! Thank you, Lord! It’s has been an enjoyable experience. I love spending time with the same students each day, coaching a group of students for a season, and deepening those relationships that are so precious and important.

Reaching 68, however, makes a person think long and hard about what is and what is yet to be. It’s where I am in my journey. Back at the end of 2015 I retired after 36 years as a church pastor. I didn’t need to, but I knew it was time. Substitute teaching became a transitional point for me and I found out the kids usually smiled when they realized I was their sub.

And then last year (August 2020) Timberview Middle School needed help. There wasn’t a teacher for 7th grade language arts to start the year. Would I begin the year until they could find the year? Sure! And then they never found anyone to take the class, so my first two weeks became ten, and then twenty, and finally, it just went for the whole year. Loved it!

And then the 8th grade language arts teacher called me last summer to ask if I would fill in for her when she had her first baby in February. Sure! And then the school called to see if I would begin the year teaching the same 7th grade language arts class until they could find someone. Sure!

And now I’m 68 and pondering if it is time to consider stepping to the side. Being a person of faith, I seek guidance from the One I anchor my life to. “Lord, is this where you want me to continue serving, or is there something else you are transitioning me to?”

Sometimes we get into “the comfort zone” of living and become blind to new possibilities. I love working with young people, and always will, but I’m a dinosaur in a Marvel Comic heroes time period. Just call me Dagwood…or maybe Jughead!

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2 Comments on “Hitting 68 With 8th!”

  1. mbmankin Says:

    Bill, in today’s world, 68 is not “old,” if you still love what you’re doing. Teachers are so needed today! Unless you hear God calling you specifically to something else, or you’re being beat down by the work, just celebrate the number of candles on your cake and that you still have energy to make a difference in young people’s lives!! I thank God for your dedication.

  2. wordsfromww Says:

    I appreciate the encouragement, MB! The maternity leave teacher came back last Monday, and I didn’t sub all week. I recognized how much I missed it! I’m in for two days this coming week as our school year winds down. I enjoy the kids and several of them, when they saw me stop by this past week, without coercion, said they missed me!

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