April 26, 1970
Feeling intimidated and under-confident, I hoped my love for five-year-olds would shine through and that 3 years of teaching experience would be enough. I was thankful for Mr. Scarce’s positive evaluation, and just in case my interviewer hadn’t read that, I brought my copy.
After I was seated in front of my interviewer, the first thing he said was, “I see from your record here that you never did your student teaching. Is that correct?”
I felt like I might as well head for the door.
“That’s right,” I said. As he continued to shuffle papers in my thin file, I reminded him I’d first gotten into teaching by helping out in Chicago during the 1967 teacher shortage – thinking that might win a smidgen of approval. But it backfired.
“So,” he said, “you never really studied to be a teacher in college then?”
“Well, I wasn’t an education major, if that’s what you mean. But I’ve always loved children and have taught at summer camps and in Sunday schools.”
I saw him pick up Mr. Scarce’s evaluation sheet and study both sides. Before he could say anything I said, “I did take quite a few adult education classes in Chicago, all elementary ed courses, during the two years I taught there.”
When I had to say no, I figured my goose was cooked. It hadn’t been required when I first applied in Danville, but I probably should have continued taking classes on my own. Without a teaching credential, my job had always been in jeopardy, but after leaving Chicago, I was too busy planning our wedding to even think of it.
The interview continued for an hour as we covered my year of teaching 1st grade and why I wanted to leave McKinley School. When he stood to usher me out, I felt like a failure. I couldn’t think of a single reason why he would give me the job teaching kindergarten.
His last words sounded cold. “It’ll be a few weeks before you hear anything.”
By the time I arrived home I was near tears. Nate could tell by my face it hadn’t gone well and quickly folded me into his arms. I cried a little in that circle of safety, telling him I probably wouldn’t ever be able to teach again. And if I didn’t teach, what would I do? After applying for summer work all over Champaign, I’d still come up empty. Our university town was flooded with people my age looking for work, and good jobs were few.
The two of us sat together talking things through. Feeling dejected I said, “This is probably the kind of thing our 4 parents thought of when we pushed to get married so soon.” (Nate’s folks had hoped we’d wait till he had his law degree and could support a wife…. but we were impatient.)
“Don’t worry about any of this,” Nate said while stroking my cheek. “It’ll all work out somehow. Besides, you don’t know for sure they’ll give that job to someone else.”
His words were a big help, and I decided to believe him. After all, we had prayed about my interview ahead of time, and we both knew the Lord had heard us. If I didn’t get the job, God would surely give me something else to do.
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8)