You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: My Life as a Teacher, Summarized in fb Posts

As my time as an 8th grade Reading teacher on my current campus comes to a close, I find myself spending more and more time reflecting on the last four years. As our principal often quips, “It takes a special person to work at 32nd and P. This job isn’t just a job; it has to be a calling.” I perused my facebook history to see how my mindset and approach to teaching has changed over the last several years.

My experience as a public school teacher for the last four years, summarized by facebook posts:

 

15. “What a great time to be a Knight…here we go!! Have a great day!! We’re ALL IN!!”
–rose colored classes that is the usual attire for the beginning of every school year

 

14. “O.L. kids working hard the day before a holiday break. Makes this teacher-mama proud!”
students

— The “hey, I just might change the world!” optimism of the first holiday break

 

13. Student quote of the day: “oh, him? That’s just my cousin. On both sides. He be from my mom and dad’s family.”
I’m 99% sure she wasn’t kidding.
Happy Friday, family!

— She wasn’t.

 

12. “Taking Camden on a walk. Passed a pencil lying in the grass. Why is my first instinct to pick it up?” #teacherlife

 

11. 7. That’s how many of my 8th grade students were sent to the office today while I was home with a sick baby. Pray for their little souls tonight, because tomorrow is judgment day. “I’m comin’. And hell’s comin’ with me.”

— Affirmation for a job well done is making a 14-year-old boy tear up with remorse.

 

10. “Hey teachers….It’s a new day, new lesson….we got this!!! Have a great day!”

— The beauty of teaching is that there’s a fresh start every day.

 

9. “Forget jeans day on Friday– what I really get excited about is Tennis Shoe Friday!”

— My feet on Monday= Iron Man. My feet by Friday= a cranky toddler.

 

8. I love it when students urgently care about their grades the last week of the semester.
–Said No Teacher Ever

— Explains the onslaught of students begging for tutoring the last week of every grading period and semester

 

7. “Oh good gravy! I dropped this twice this week already, both times referring to my 8th grade students.” -with Allison, my (bail bond) buddy
jail time

 

6. {December 12, 2012. Trying to make sense of the Newton, CT tragedy} “Ran home for a sec during my conference period and my house is a wreck, littered with evidence of a rushed morning with my boys. But how dare I take one second or one mess for granted. At least mine are coming home tonight. As a parent, I can’t even comprehend. As an educator I’m enraged at the awesome responsibility we’ve come to obtain.”

 

5. “Today, school is optional on our campus. It’s a student holiday, but with STAAR tests the next couple of days, many students have chosen to come anyway to attend our STAAR Camp. My heart is SO HAPPY with the hard work that I’m seeing. I needed that– to see even some “hard” kids, wanting to learn. Good luck with testing this week & Go Knights!”

— Ahh, there it is. The reason I became a teacher in the first place.

 

4.

standardized test

 

3.

dos equis

 

2. “Today is National Nut Day, which should obviously be a national holiday for middle school teachers! These kids are NUTS!!!”

 

1. The most profound statement I’ve heard in a looooong while, and written by one of my 8th graders nonetheless: “Don’t let the weight on your shoulders keep you from getting up. Let the weight make your legs stronger so you can never get knocked down.” Awesome insight from a kid without parents, who’s covered in tattoos and shows the kind of maturity that comes from being forced to grow up too fast!

— … And the reason I am still teaching today.

 

And one story to grow on:

A few years back, one eighth grade boy was clearly having a bad day. A co-worker of mine pulled him aside and talked to him privately, hoping he would open up about what was so obviously bothering him. “Miss [the generic term for all female teachers, apparently in the entire universe], my girlfriend said she’s pregnant.” I’m sure a look of concern passed over my caring colleague’s face as she tried to figure out what to say next… but he spoke up before she could respond. “But she can’t be. I took one of those pregnancy tests– I peed on that little stick and it said ‘negative.'”
Oh, well, good. In that case, crisis averted.
You can’t make this stuff up.

The Care Package Is On Its Way

 

This morning I found myself in an interesting predicament during my drive to work.

Stopped at a red light, smack dab in the middle of a busy school zone don’t you know, I heard something on the radio that grabbed my attention so abruptly and with such raw honesty that a torrent of tears unlocked from some recess hidden deep within me. There I was one minute waiting nonchalantly for traffic to begin moving again, and the next thing I knew, I was swiping at my cheeks, trying fiercely to salvage the fresh mascara. There’s no telling what the poor high school kid stopped next to me at the light thought. I was caught up in this story playing over the air waves, and I hadn’t realized until that moment how desperately I needed to hear those particular words.

The message was clear: Remember that God often begins filling your needs long before you even know you have them.

A gentleman called into the Christian radio station I was listening to, and I would have immediately turned the channel had my hands not been preoccupied turning the corner. While I love the focus and encouragement I feel on my way to work listening to Christian-oriented stations, I find the banter between radio personalities hokey and the call-in stories feel too rehearsed. I hate the talk; I love the music. This morning though, I was grateful for the talk. The part of the story I clued into was a gentleman explaining how his son is in the military and currently stationed in Afghanistan. Apparently this soldier is well-known among his colleagues for being a Christian and a man who takes prayer seriously.

Recently, there was some kind of mix-up with the meal packs while the soldier’s troop was on a mission and he was forced to go two days without food. He reports that he prayed and asked for something to eat… crackers, anything. He showed trust that the Lord hadn’t brought him that far to let him starve in the middle of the desert. That same night, he received a care package from his church back home. In it was nothing but food! God answered his prayer right when he needed it, and he got to share his snacks with the other people in his company as they witnessed his miracle too.

care-package-for-solider

Here’s the kicker though: his church had mailed that care package two months before it arrived in his hands. Two months! Two months before he even felt the slightest pang of hunger, God was already at work pulling the pieces together to meet his need.

And that’s the part of the story that gripped me.

And I tried to act as normal as possible at the stoplight, screaming in my head for the green light that would move the cars around me again so I could react without disturbing those cute kids next to me, waiting to pull into their high school parking lot. “Dude! Did you see that lady? I think she was losing it.” Oh the stories people could tell if they watched me in my car!

My husband and I are in a peculiar, and admittedly trying, season of life. Many changes are coming around the corner. Some welcome, some our choosing. Some not. It sure is easy to feel scared and doubtful in times like this.

I am reminded that God is faithful. Surely He didn’t bring us to the middle of the desert just to have us starve to death, literally or metaphorically. We do live in West Texas after all… for now, anyway… . He knew exactly what we would be facing. He knew long ago what we would need now. He began fitting pieces together for us, for this time, long ago. I can’t necessarily see the whole picture at this time, but He can. And I am able to stand on His truth: that He has proven faithful in the past, so I know He will be faithful now.

Lord, I trust you.

The care package is on its way.