My Story:  What Brought Me to Liberal, KS

A lot of people ask me what brought me to Liberal, KS.   And a lot of people ask me what keeps me here in Liberal, KS. The answer to both those questions is God. So I’m going to make this a two-part blog:  what brought me here and why I’ve stayed here.  Let’s start with the prior. 

It was May of 2010 and I had just graduated college with a Bachelors in Secondary Education.  I applied at so many different schools and had nine interviews within about a two month window. All of the places I applied at were high schools. I was determined to teach the “older” kids.  I was also determined to stay in Iowa and teach. That’s where I went to college. And I loved it up there. Another reason I was determined to stay there was because the person I thought I was “in love” with, was there.  (Even though we had broken up.). I was so fixated on staying in Iowa so that’s where the majority of my applications went and 7 of my nine interviews!   

Well I wasn’t having any luck. None of the schools extended an offer to me so I went back to Independence, MO with my family and started working at a financial company in downtown Kansas City.  While in Missouri, I had one interview in the area for teaching, but low-and-behold, was not given an offer. 

One day I came home after my training from the company and I was so miserable.  I did not just spend four years and thousands of dollars in tuition to sit in a cubicle doing something that didn’t even require my degree.  And on top of that, having a desk job just wasn’t in my personality.  So I went to my room and did what anyone would’ve done… Searched Google!

I typed in “secondary English jobs in Kansas”.  I realized I hadn’t applied anywhere in Kansas. It brought me to CareerBuilder.com where it showed a posting for a 7th grade Langauge Arts position at South Middle School in this town called Liberal, Kansas. I’d never heard of it before. So I found the school website and was browsing around, there honestly wasn’t much on it, I actually thought it was a fake website!  Well, I went back to CareerBuilder and submitted my resume.  That was the only middle school I applied at, because remember… I was determined to teach high school. 

The next day I got a phone call from the principal, Mr. Rito. I was surprised and thought Oh it really IS a school. Haha. He wanted to schedule a phone interview and I agreed to it. He said he would call the next day at 9:45.  The next morning rolled around and it was about 9:30.  This was a Thursday. It was the last week of July so I knew schools were trying to find teachers. But I sat there in my room and debated on whether or not I should even answer the phone for the interview.  I told myself I would just ignore the call because they probably wouldn’t want me anyways, none of the other schools did.  As the phone rang I decided to answer it, to work on my interview skills honestly lol.  It was about a 30 minute interview and at the end Mr. Rito wanted to continue the process with an in person interview.  I agreed and he said OK let’s schedule it for Friday. We set a time and then I hung up.  After awhile I started thinking and I wondered Wait, did he mean THIS Friday, as in tomorrow, or NEXT Friday?  So I called him back (haha) and he did mean the very next day.  Well I couldn’t make it because one, it was only a day’s notice and two, I still had to do training for my job. So we schedule it for Sunday.  (Random!)

My mom and I made the drive down to Liberal, KS; we ended up staying at a hotel in Guymon, OK on Saturday. Sunday we found South Middle School and I proceeded inside for my interview. He kept talking all this gibberish about how the school was under restructuring and all of this work they were having to do because of that and test scores and all of the work it would require and all this data and blah blah blah.  Honestly, it was intimidating and I didn’t want to be a part of it. I didn’t think I could handle it. But then he asked me if I could see myself there and I just said yes… Because I wanted to teach, even though secretly I was hoping I wouldn’t get the job and I would just start applying at schools again the next year, take a year off and work in a cubicle. 

About three days later he calledme and extended the offer to me.  He just needed one of my professors, a reference, to talk to.  Well she was out of the country on a missions trip I believe.  She got back in time.  Received his call, recommended me.  I got the call back from Gib (Mr. Rito) and was told I needed to be down there in two weeks for new teacher training stuff. So that weekend, drove back down to Liberal, found a last minute apartment, went back to KC, packed up a UHaul and moved out.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, agreeing to teach seventh graders.  I didn’t think I would ever have anything in common with this age group. 

Now… this is my fifth year here and I don’t ever want to teach high school.  I absolutely love my job.  And let me tell you just how good God is:

  • God got me away from that relationship and fixation from Iowa and helped me grow more independent. 
  • Out of all the places I applied at it was the only middle school, only place in Kansas, last place I applied, last interview I had, and best salary for starting pay. 
  • I’ve never considered teaching somewhere else or a different grade, I love this age so much. 
  • I get to teach 7th grade, coach 8th grade basketball, and then coach high school soccer. Every year.  So I’ve known a lot of these kids since they were 12 now!  I get the best of both worlds. 
  • My coworkers are AMAZING, I enjoy the people I work with!
  • If I weren’t in Liberal, KS I would’ve never went through a particular trial which skyrocketed my faith and walk with the Lord.  I haven’t been the same since. 
  • I go to an amazing church where my faith has had a chance to grow and I’ve made lifelong friends. 

God knew what He was doing. And still knows.  Coming to Liberal, Kansas has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.  I know that sounds crazy, because most people here are trying to get out, but it’s true. God is good, all the time.  All the time God is good.

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