Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at www.ChristiThomas.com to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Big Changes: Praise the Lord

BGSU! BGSYOU? BGSME!!! I'm the luckiest gal in the world!! What I failed to mention in my blog post about returning to BGSU (where I'm an alum!) to teach and to present my research to faculty was that it was all part of a job interview for a full time (tenure-track) professor position (beginning in late August). I applied for it in January......my dream job - Middle Childhood Reading & Literacy Education.

While my Superintendent and both Principals knew of all of this (and were very sweet and supportive) I didn't want any other pressure on me so I kept it "under wraps". I also didn't want to worry Shayla as she knew if I got the job she would have to switch to a different school in a different school district. In addition to teaching and presenting, I had many interviews (large and small group and one-on-one with many different people. I also went to lunch and dinner; it was so much fun). I felt really good about it all, but I put it in God's hands and tried to block it out of my mind.

I was told that they would select one of the candidates and that person would be notified before Easter. I was also told that if I didn't hear by the end of next week (now), not to worry because the search committee would give the name to the Director of the School of Teaching and Learning and then it would go to the Dean and if she approved it would go to the University Provost to approve and then back to the Dean who would call the candidate and offer the position. Driving home from school Thursday afternoon my phone rang. When I glanced down I saw it was a "372" number - BOWLING GREEN, ON CAMPUS! Therefore, I answered it. It was the Dean who asked if I could talk. I knew it had to be good news and that I'd want to write things down so I asked if I could call her back in about five minutes when I got home and I did. What a blessing!!

Approximately 50% of responsibilities will include teaching undergraduate and graduate level reading and literacy courses. The remaining 50% is to be split pursing my research interests and providing service. I knew I didn't want to be at a Research I institution because I want to teach, but I also want to pursue my scholarly work so I think BG will be an ideal fit, allowing me to do both. BGSU, home to more than 20,000 students, is one of the country's largest producers of teachers with over 4,000 students in the educator preparation programs. I will be one of the 100 tenure-track faculty members in the College of Education. And another great thing....I don't have to drive past the cemetery to get to work! That always makes me sad and brings me down. Thank you, Lord! You think of everything!

When I interviewed with the Dean last week she asked me what would the hardest thing if I got the position. I told her two things. One, leaving my students because my school has the greatest kids and I've been able to have many of them multiple years - as a kindergarten teacher and as a jr. high school teacher. And two, knowing it would mean my daughter would have to go to a different school district because we open enroll her to where I teach, as a convenience for child care, but it's located 12 miles in the opposite direction of BGSU. I also told her that if offered the position, I would not accept it until I read the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) report. I thought things might be heading my way on Tuesday because I received their NCATE report electronically and that is a confidential document. (The report is glowing too; I understand why there are soooooo proud of their unit! I am very honored and humbled to be joining their esteemed faculty!) Regardless, I was still pleasantly surprised when the phone rang with "372" today because just getting the NCATE report did not mean I was going to get a job offer!

Shayla, Shayla, Shayla.......She knew if I got the job it would mean a change of schools for her. I've been reading her "sent mail" in her email box and she's been quite worried. "If mom gets the job, what will happen to me?" I know God's hand has been in all of this, ever since I saw the job posted Thanksgiving weekend on my laptop when I sat on the couch and screamed, "Oh! Shayne! This is my dream job! This job description has my name written all over it!" (And when he didn't come running into the living room, I hustled out with my laptop to the kitchen to show him!)

I can't believe God's hand won't continue to guide us and to help her adjust to her new school. It's the Tiffin bus that drives by our house each day. Even though I won't have to go to campus five days a week and my academic year is shorter than hers, I cannot drive her 12 miles in the opposite direction and pick her up too. It simply will not work. Thursday afternoon she sat on the couch and cried for 30 minutes only saying one thing to me, "Mom, you don't understand. The kids are all mean to the new girl, even before she shows up for the first day." I could only hold her tight and cry with her. I am not worried, but I do feel bad for her, terrible actually. I know God is with us, but my heart breaks for her. She loves her school, friends and teachers and EVERYONE knows Shayla Thomas. What a traumatic change this will be for her. As Shayne said to me last night after he arrived back home from Houston, "Right after Christi died, it was important for us to keep Shayla in a stable environment, but in the fall it will be three years." We do believe Shayla will have a lot more opportunities being at a larger school, (and getting free tuition at BGSU if she decides to go to college there) but for right now - our hearts are heavy for what I'm doing to her.

Thursday I went to the cemetery, on my way to a teachers' meeting and visited with Christi. Strangely enough, I actually forgot about my dad buried right beside her as I was having an intense "conversation" with Christi about my new job. For whatever reason I glanced over and I had a very strong image of my dad sitting on his cemetery plaque with a HUGE grin saying one thing, "I'm so proud of you Ang!" (It wasn't like an image I'd ever had before. I actually jumped because it was like he was there in person, wearing his jeans, boots and a plaid shirt. I cannot even explain how odd it was, eerie actually.) That was all it took, tears gushed out of me as I thought, "I bet he really is proud." I miss him so much too! Why can't he be here in person so I could take him to campus and show him my very first office?!! I then prayed, walked to my van and called Mom and Joe. (And to my sweet friends who texted me back, 'Are you out celebrating?' they'd be laughing to know I went to a teachers' meeting....some things never change, hee hee!) Gooooooooo, Falcons! Thank you, God!

34 Comments:

At 3/4/09 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woohoo Angela! Congrats on the new job! I've been a lurker lately and haven't posted, but I couldn't pass this one up.

Don't worry about Shayla, she will be just fine. Remind her that it's going to be an adjustment for you too. It's always hard for kids to adjust to a new school, but she will be doing the same when she goes to college. This time next year you will be bragging how busy and happy she is. She's young, she will adjust (smile).

Wendy Landers
Georgia

 
At 3/4/09 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A BIG Congratulations to you. Just a suggestion could Shayla maybe visit her new school for a few days before the end of the school year this year? That really makes it a lot easier on the first day of school for the next school year. I did this when I was a child and we had moved and it really really helped me! Good Luck and God Bless you all. I know Christi is just beaming with pride for her Momma!

 
At 3/4/09 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That is amazing! I know (first-hand!) how hard it is to get an academic job that fits exactly what you want to do so it's a wonderful opportunity.

Poor Shayla. She is wrong on one front - everyone does want to talk to the new girl - remind her perhaps of how Christi made those bracelets for the new kids? She will have the advantage of being 'exotic' for the first few weeks and then things will settle down. Dare I say also tht it could be a great opportunity for everyone to get to know Shayla not just as Christi's sister and as your daughter - but on her own right? Exciting! And she will takke to a larger school like a duck to water. I can understand why she cries though - it's tough to rationalise such a big change for her.

In time to come I'm sure she will appreciate it.

Well done - hope you're celebrating!

Irene

 
At 3/4/09 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANGELA!!!!! THAT'S SO FANTASTIC!!!!! Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you!

All the best from rainy Jersey.

 
At 3/4/09 7:50 AM, Blogger Leah Omar said...

What awesome news! Congrats! :-D

 
At 3/4/09 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Angela. That's so very exciting. This opens such a world of opportunity for you. BGSU sounds like a wonderful place (although a research University is too....I work at one).

Shayla seems like the type of child who'll make friends easily and will adapt very quickly. It is hard but she'll be ok.

GO PROFESSOR THOMAS!!

Tracey (from Canada)

 
At 3/4/09 7:57 AM, Anonymous Joyce said...

HURRAH!! That's AWESOME news.

And moving, well it is hard on kids adjusting to a new school, but with Ms. Shayla, I can only imagine a smooth transition. She seems to make friends everywhere she goes (the cruise, school, etc). I will keep her in my thoughts though!
CONGRATULATIONS!!

 
At 3/4/09 8:10 AM, Blogger HeatherB said...

CONGRATULATIONS sweet friend!! You ROCK! :) Lucky, lucky BGSU students to get YOU to teach them.

Love you a big bunch!!

Hugs,
Heather

 
At 3/4/09 8:15 AM, Blogger Olivia said...

I am so beyond thrilled for you, Angela!! This sounds like the perfect job for you. And I am not at all surprised that you got it!

Sending Shayla many, many, many hugs! Moving is hard but she's a trooper and as someone who has had to go to different schools a few times, I can assure her that you don't lose friends, you just gain more of them. I have no doubt it won't be long before even more people know the name Shayla Thomas.

Hugs,
Olivia

 
At 3/4/09 8:19 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Congratulations! What an amazing opportunity! Maybe Shayla can get involved in some sort of program/activity in her new school district over the summer so she can make some new friends before school starts? I understand her sadness, yet she has an opportunity to make so many new friends - while still keeping all of her old friends, as she will still live very close to them!

I wish your family all the best, and hope that there's smooth sailing during this transition.

Congratulations, again!

 
At 3/4/09 9:02 AM, Anonymous Susy M from Miami, FL said...

Congratulations! You have worked so hard - you deserve it. Shayla will be okay. With that bigger than life personality; she will fit right in from the beginning. Follow your dreams because as you all know; life is too short not to do that. God bless you all.

 
At 3/4/09 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hearty Congratulations, Professor Thomas! Wonderful, wonderful news! Christi must be flashing her fabulous smile down on you.

It must be tough being the new kid, but that label will only last a short while. With Shayla being such a fabulous kid, she'll be making friends in no time!

 
At 3/4/09 10:02 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

OH ANGELA! HOW EXCITING FOR YOU! CONGRATULATIONS DOESN'T BEGIN TO SAY ENOUGH!

Miss Shalya....please understand that you won't be "just the new girl". You will be "THE" NEW GIRL. There is a difference!

Hugs to everybody! The Adams'

 
At 3/4/09 10:10 AM, Blogger Marlo said...

Congratulations!!
Shayla will be wonderful at her new school. She just doesn't know it yet. I bet God has a new best friend who is just waiting for her to get there.

 
At 3/4/09 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angela,
I remember a sweet little story about Christ making keychains for the new girls in her fifth-grade class. I'm sure there will be wonderful kids who will reach out to "new girl" Shayla like that.
When I switched schools as a kid my parents acknowledged my worries, but also treated it like a really big ADVENTURE! With lots of play dates with her old friends, and consistency with her extracurriculars, Shayla will be just fine.

 
At 3/4/09 2:53 PM, Blogger Devan said...

Sooo Happy for YOU!!! I understand the fear that Shayla has, but she is young and will have plenty of time to make new friends! Just being involved in the musicals, etc., has to show her how easy that can and will be.

Best of Luck!!!

 
At 3/4/09 4:17 PM, Blogger JKPeterson said...

Congrats. You are are wonderful teacher, mother and wife.

I'm a stay at home mom with 2 boys, but I just love watching your success.

 
At 3/4/09 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats angela.. you truly are a inspiration.... I feel for Shayla, but she is so well rounded, I believe she will do just fine... =)

 
At 3/4/09 5:49 PM, Blogger Mama Bear said...

Congratulations on such a wonderful opportunity! I'll bet this will also be a wonderful opportunity for Shayla. Embrace change. Good things can happen only when change happens.

 
At 3/4/09 6:10 PM, Blogger Lisa D :) said...

Congratulations Angela! This is awesome news and a great opportunity for you! I am sure Shayla will be just FINE. With all she is involved in and her personality that just shines -- it'll be no time before EVERYONE at her NEW school knows Shayla Thomas too! Give her a great big hug from me and I look forward to hearing lots of glowing reports from both you and Shay in the Fall!

 
At 3/4/09 6:45 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

I'm overjoyed and delighted for you Angela. What a wonderful blessing to have a dream-come-true position. You'll be great!!! We'll be praying for Shayla's transition too...God cares deeply about every detail of the situation.

Blessings! The Fall Family

 
At 3/4/09 7:27 PM, Blogger bearie1 said...

Congratulations!

 
At 3/4/09 7:31 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Yea for you Angela!!!! Congrats on your dream job. I am sure Shayla will do just fine. She is so super sweet, how could anyone be mean to her?

 
At 3/4/09 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS ANGELA!!!! I don't even (really) know you, & I'm SO proud of you.....I can't even begin to know what your family is feeling!
Christi is BEAMING down on you, and Shayla? She'll be just fine. It may be a little hard in the beginning, but she'd her parent's daughter, and she'll be just fine! :-)

Love & hugs from CA,
Pat

 
At 3/4/09 8:21 PM, Anonymous Erin N. (Glendale, CA) said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Angela! What fantastic news! I am starting a Master's in Education in the fall--now I wish it was at BGSU! I know that Shayla will be just fine at her new school. Being the amazing kid that she is, I'm sure it won't be long before everyone there knows Shayla Thomas, too!

 
At 3/4/09 9:16 PM, Blogger Jennifer Lehmann said...

Don't you mean B!G changes? :) I am so happy for you and proud of you! You've worked your butt off the past few years (and before that too!)...you are more than deserving of this dream position. I'll be praying that its everything you hoped it would be and that Shay adjusts well to her new school.

 
At 4/4/09 7:03 PM, Blogger Teresa Dunkin said...

My prayers are for sweet Shayla who has already been through so much in her young life. You're lucky to have such a supportive daughter, who is willing to go through so much so that you can live your dream.

 
At 5/4/09 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is really selfish to take shayla outta SE. Hasn't she suffered enough. Im really shocked by this.

 
At 5/4/09 9:02 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Congratulations, Professor Thomas!!

Welcome to academia--I know that you will be a thoughtful and inspiring professor. They are so lucky to have you.

I can appreciate Shayla's sadness and anxiety about being the "new kid", but she will fit in there in record time. Being in a new school will just double her already busy social life :) And she can still see her "old friends" too since she won't be moving away.

I don't comment here often, but readng this news filled me with such happiness that I just had to comment. Can't wait to hear about all of your new adventures at BGSU.

Thanks for sharing your news with us all...

Cassandra

 
At 5/4/09 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exciting! I know Shayla will adjust with time and she will be just fine! You deserve something wonderful and I think this fits the bill. I am so happy for you to have found your dream job. I have been a guest speaker in some early childhood classes with Kim Christensen in BG and I think they have an incredible program. Now go celebrate!! You deserve it!

Kim in Perrysburg

 
At 5/4/09 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulation Angela!!

Fantastic news. It is clear they chose the BEST candidate for the job! I hope you will love every minute of your new job and wish you every success in the world. It is nice that your journey to your new job will also be a little easier, without having to pass the cemetry.

I'm sure in time Shayla will love her new school too, even though it will be a big change for her. She is just so adorable, I'm sure the kids at her new school will take an instant shine to her!

Angela you are an inspiration, and Im so happy for your new job success!Well done and best wishes xxxx

 
At 5/4/09 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Congratualtions!! I wish you all the best. Everything WILL work out fine. :)

Michelle Stokes
nghs_teach@yahoo.com
Wylie, TX

 
At 6/4/09 6:06 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

Is 12 miles all that bad? It might add 30 mintues on your drive...are you going to have to move? good luck in what ever you do?

 
At 7/4/09 10:25 AM, Blogger queen bee tracy said...

Angela, Congratulations and God Bless You! This job sounds like it will be such a wonderful fit for you and all of the future teachers you will be guiding. While I only know through your writings here on the Blog, your kindness, love for children & their education, and general enthusiasm for life just shines through your words.

Shayla seems like such an amazing young lady as well and I know once she gets over the little initial bumps, she will thrive at her new school. How could the children there not love her?

I look forward to reading along and following your family as y'all embark on this new and exciting adventure!

 

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