God's Plans by Maria Theresa

God's PLANS.

by: Maria Theresa Alvarez-Jackson


These thoughts capture my 3-year journey.

My first J1 program was way back in 2011 as a university fellow at Clemson University in South Carolina.

After that program, I was idealistic and passionate about sharing what I learned. Then, many things happened at the school in the Philippines where I served as a teacher and mid-level admin for 21 years. I became burned out and I needed an entirely new working environment. It may be difficult to believe, but this was my ultimate reason why I decided to apply for a teaching job via TeachUSA.

I’ve had several interviews - 10-12 perhaps from March 2019 to May 2019 - but I just noticed these interviews were from just one or two districts in New Mexico. I never got an interview from the other districts. My savings was running out and my bills were piling up.

Usually, I got the one and only job offer after 4 months of waiting. Unfortunately, that NM school informed me that they decided to hire another applicant. This was after my previous principal submitted the required recommendation form that the NM school’s HR sent as part of the hiring process.

I thought that maybe it’s a coincidence. I’ll just continue to pray and trust the Lord for I know His timing is always the right time.

Towards end of June 2019, I got two interviews from two different schools in Arizona. I received two job offers immediately.

Maybe the district was desperate or maybe they don’t have an online platform where my previous supervisors could turn-in an evaluation or recommendation about my credentials. Hahaha.

This was an answered prayer and boost to my morale. For the previous 4-5 months, I had been stressing out thinking that there is something wrong with my credentials or I wasn’t good enough. But this opportunity that the district gave me was God’s other way of preparing me for what would lay ahead.

For 3 years, I worked for that district: first as a Math 7 and then as a Science 7 teacher. This was a big adjustment because the district is on a Native American reservation. It was not like anything that I was initially exposed to in 2011 and then in 2017 when I attended a conference in Yale.

My first year in Arizona was really a mental health struggle.

Furthermore, I experienced the feeling of isolation even among fellow Filipinos. I don’t engage much in small talk; I’m not interested in parties; and I take my work seriously.

So most of the time I was an odd-ball. There were a few times that fellow Filipinos would talk behind my back.

What they didn’t know is that somebody else would always tell me everything. But I kept quiet.

It is always better to treat others with kindness and respect. I told myself I will go home at the end of the program. I had managed to pay my house mortgage in full and I had enough in my savings.

Then in May 2020, I met my first ever date, boyfriend and now husband. It was like a very unusual blessing. He would drive 5.5 hours just for one trip to visit me at the reservation area.

To make a long story short, I got married last October 2021. Instead of going back to the Philippines, I am now home in a more urban area in Southern Arizona.

Although it was a challenge to be 200 plus miles away during the first seven months of our marriage, we agreed that it was better to finish the school year in order to keep my professional integrity.

We are all aware that there was a change regarding the J-1 waiver so you might be wondering how am I able to stay in the US when I didn’t have the 2-year extension.

Well, now I understood why God never allowed me to work in NM. He wants me to have a fresh start in AZ.

On May 2, 2022, I was interviewed at ABC High School. After 2 hours, the principal called me to offer me the job as a Biology Teacher. My American supervisors indeed gave me excellent recommendations.

God has been preparing a better route to continue my journey.

Miracle of all miracles: the USCIS gave me a 2-year work permit and a Travel Parole.

I say that this is a miracle because I have not yet received the decision on my waiver and appointment for the green card interview.

Nevertheless, I think God blessed me with my dream job: to be a Biology teacher in a consistently graded “A” high school.

God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? You’ll never know how He will surprise you.


  1. Amen! All things work together for good! God is good all the time...and all the time God is good๐Ÿ’–

  2. Indeed, He makes all things beautiful in His time.

  3. I do believe in miracles...He has a better plan for us in every difficulties that we encountered

  4. Amen๐Ÿ™. Agree. Beautiful story, very inspiring. It's true, "In God's time" ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’–

  5. Woohoo! You got it, coursemate!

  6. Amazing story of yours, Ms. Gemma! Indeed, better things come to those who wait patiently on the right time. God’s mysterious ways are really surprising even to the last minute or second and nothing really happens by chance, it’s always for a good reason.

    This story inspires me more to pursue my dream job in my dream land. Thank you!

    1. God is good to Maria Theresa - her kindness and patience paid off!

  7. Hi Ate Techie YES! I agree to that God really work's very mysterious He has full of surprises. He bless and paid your hard work you really deserved what you have right now

  8. God works in a mysterious way that soon you'll be surprised.God is good all the time.

  9. This story is very inspiring for teachers like me who wants to teach in USA.God will make a way when there seems to be no way.I hope and pray that my American Dream will soon be a reality.


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