It’s good to be back
A year has come and gone since I wrote my last column as a reporter for the Advance-Monticellonian. In the last 12 months, my life has changed in ways I never imagined.
On Aug. 1, 2016, I became a teacher. I walked into the first day of new teacher orientation for my school district and I quickly learned I was not ready for the task to teaching children English. It wasn’t long before I was overwhelmed. But, because God had sent me on this mission, He also sent me reinforcements. One of these reinforcements came through my teacher mentor. That first day of orientation I walked up to her and simply said, “I can’t do this.”
It was right then and there, that she replied “yes you can” followed by “It’s a lot but you can do it.” During the course of my first nine weeks as a teacher, she had to talk me off the proverbial ledge a number of different times.
My life has changed in the past year. Such as my routine. I get up at 5:30 a.m. every day and leave Monticello by 6:45 to make it to my classroom by 7:30. After teaching four blocks of classes, I would return to Monticello at 4:15 every afternoon. There has been comfort in knowing my schedule. There are days I stay late, but I plan them according to my children’s activities and needs. For the first time in many years, I am there completely for my family and that is a great feeling. There’s no rush to get a photo of breaking news or the wonder “will something newsworthy happen while I’m out of town.” I have found peace in knowing none of that matters in my life anymore.
In the last year, I have earned my master’s degree in teaching from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. I’m not going to lie, going to school while working as a first-year teacher was rough. Now, I am looking forward to full focus on my students at work and my family at home.
I graduated in May, and I have to say the day was bittersweet. I cried, even though it tried really hard not to do so. It wasn’t sentimental tears over “look what I’ve done.” Instead, my thoughts were “my mom would have loved to be here today” or “my mom would be so proud.” It’s been almost two years since she left this Earth bound for Heaven. I miss her every day, yet I know without her passing the positive changes that have taken place most likely would not have occurred.
God had a plan for me and her passing was the life event that screamed “It’s time for a change!” I accept that. I understand that. Her life had purpose in many ways for the good of God’s kingdom. Even in her passing, she was doing God’s work. Make no mistake, my becoming a teacher was not my idea. It was God who called me into teaching much like He calls men and women into the clergy.
It was also God’s quiet voice down deep in my heart that told me, “Melissa, it’s time to start writing your column again.” It happened on an ordinary Sunday. There I was in the back row at New Life Assemble of God, where my family and I have found a church home. Pastor Tim Parke was talking about how God’s people must lead people to God. I had this thought, I certainly talked about God enough in my column that surely someone’s life might have been touched.”
Somewhere down deep that little voice said “There’s no telling how many people who have never been to church read your column. You might have given them their first introduction to God.” That’s when I knew God was calling me back to this column. I knew there was purpose.
So … bing, bang, boom … here I am! I am back. I am so happy to be back sharing my thoughts and experiences with my readers, whom I love very much. When the Advance publisher said, “Let’s put it online.” I was thrilled. Why? Because putting this column online makes it accessible to all of my readers including those who live in Alabama and to my students who need to know Mrs. Cason has not walked away from her passion for writing. Instead, she embraces it, and shares it with them.
I am a writer. I will always be a writer. The only difference between now and 12 months ago is now I share my love with about 130 students every year. It’s good to be back.
Melissa Cason is a former journalist and is currently a high school English and journalism teacher. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.