An eerie silence enveloped me. Closing the door to my car, I stood in the quiet and looked out over the fields, Usually full of laughing children and visiting parents, there was no sign of life.
The wind clanged the chains as the swings made a squeak-squeak rocking invisible air.
The padlock was locked fast to the playground gate.
My heart sank as I climbed the steps through the back door to my classroom. The sight inside was equally as haunting.
Where desks meant to be full of laughing children sat, there were empty places and chairs. Everything that had been on the floor had been laid on the back tables. The quiet tic-toc of the clock was annoying in this new silence.
I stood at my desk and looked out over this small space. This had been home to families for the past six months. A safe place to leave kids at the door and be able to go about the things you have been called to each day.
A place for me to fill out my own calling as a teacher and to share Christ while teaching others how to experience the joy of learning.
God is the only one who knows how this will turn out.
There is a sadness in the hearts of educators everywhere these days. In some cases, such as mine, the very things we have built our lives around–be it for a few years or many–has been taken from us literally overnight.
There has been a sense of shock, but more honestly, there has been grief.
March is the time of year that you start to really know the student’s God has placed into your path. Your experiences have shaped your relationships and you have built camaraderie with colleagues and parents.
In my husband’s case, he was about to begin teaching his favorite term of the year. Students were looking forward to his classes and he was gearing up with excitement.
As the events of the past thirty-plus days have unfolded, there have been deep questions that haunted my heart as a teacher. Teacher or not, maybe these have crossed your mind as well.
IS GOD AWARE?
Concern has been my biggest heartache in this unfolding drama. I am not naive enough to think that every single child who has lost their teacher is counting it a huge loss. Sometimes relationships just don’t click.
But I am confident that somewhere in this setting, students had a sense of belonging and fulfillment. They had some friends or some teachers who looked over them and were developing a trust.
Parents, especially at the younger levels, had a place to bring them. In many cases feed them and instill confidence in them. This has, for the most part, stopped nationally.
This is hard to wrap my head around as an educator. Why would basic physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual benefits be taken from kids and families?
My answers are not certain, but God says Psalm 78 that future generations will be able to “..set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
(vs. 6, 7)
The Israelite mothers who were enslaved in Egypt most likely struggled with similar questions. Why is this happening and how long will this last?
God was faithful to those generations then and He will be again.
WHAT IS MY PART NOW?
Distance learning, elearning, video teaching are all new terms for teachers. Teachers are built on relationship. We spend thousands of dollars learning how to relate to other people from an academic and social standpoint.
The Ultimate teacher touched and taught. Laughed and listened. Planned and observed. He interacted and completed what He was called to do.
The suddenness of this new normal has left many of us reeling. We are struggling to find our footing and feel inadequate. We desire to have some sense of order and want to show others we are confident.
This uncertainty has left me dependent on the strength of the Lord as never before. There is a passage in Luke just before Jesus is to headed to the cross. I was reminded of the beauty of this recently.
(Jesus) knelt down and prayed, saying. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43)
Christ was confident in knowing that His Father’s will was the most important.
This surrender is one I want my own heart’s posture to have. I can trust in the one who went to the cross on my behalf.
He will give strength.
HOW WILL THIS END?
My final question has been one that many others have had. We don’t know what “normal” will look like in a month or even this fall.
For a teacher, who plans lessons by weeks and months, this is has been difficult. There are lessons we desire to do with our students and places we hope to take them that have had to be canceled.
Field trips and family fun nights have been deleted from calendars. New ways of assessment are being discussed. Parents are trying to juggle so many things.
Teaching has never been vaguer and yet I cling to the truth that God still holds us in His hands.
This morning, in my search for answers surrounded by that eerie silence, these words from Psalm 66 bring peace to my heart.
“For you O Lord have tested us, you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet you have brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:10-12).
God’s way is perfect. We can trust Him. We will see abundance again.