Prayers Unawares

The other day, as I was looking through my materials for teaching English Lit, I thought to myself, "Self, there was a little book you read in grad school, called The Elizabethan World Picture, by E.M.W. Tillyard. It's a classic volume, maybe 100 pages, and it gives clear, straightforward information about what Shakespeare's world was like. I sure would like to find a copy of that book."

Then, the very next day, I happened upon the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale at our local library. I'd forgotten all about The Elizabethan World Picture, but I ended up in the English Literature section of the sale anyway (funny how that happens). And what's the first book I lay eyes on? Yep. The Elizabethan World Picture. On sale for 50 cents.

Then, last night, as I was working on a syllabus for English I and feeling a little overwhelmed, I thought to myself, "Self, I sure wish you had a mentor: Someone who has taught English, who knows how to teach English, and could perhaps give you advice and answer your questions regarding the teaching of English in high school." See, we had mentors when I taught at LSU. Each graduate teaching assistant had someone, usually one of the many instructors who also taught freshman comp. I found the mentor arrangement extremely helpful, and longed for something like that now.

Then today at my coffee shop, a man came over to me and asked me what I was writing. (I get that a lot; people see me writing furiously every morning, and finally, one day, their curiosity overcomes them, and they have to ask what the heck I'm writing.) I told him, and then we chatted a bit ... then somewhere I mentioned that I'm going to be teaching English.

"Oh," he said. "My wife teaches AP English."

Long story short: Not only is his wife a seasoned English teacher, but she teaches teachers and has often served as a mentor for new teachers. Do you see the connection here? She is a mentor! I am a new teacher who needs a mentor! She was there at the coffee shop, and we only had a few minutes to talk, so she gave me a few suggestions and left her e-mail address with me so I could e-mail her and ask her stuff.

So there you have it. I didn't technically pray for these things, but I did wish for them. And God heard me, and next thing I know, the things I wished for are mine.

Unbelievable. Not really, but you know what I mean.


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