As I continue to dive into this new school year, I’m realizing just how much was not visible to me. I did not foresee receiving so many special needs students with such diverse educational needs. I did not foresee so many of my students having such difficulty with basic academic tasks and with staying focused to the point that the majority my day is spent giving constant redirection. I did not foresee the mountain of tracking forms and checklists I would have to complete weekly to satisfy the Individual Educational Plans for each of my students. I did not see how much of my personal time would be consumed with creating “rubrics and scales” to satisfy the Common Core curriculum requirements. I did not foresee the added pressure of agreeing to be grade chair for my team of teachers. I certainly did not see how discouraged, at times, I would feel about a profession I had such a passion for over ten years ago when I began.
With a heavy heart and mind, I forced myself to try to change my thinking as this past week began. I tried hard to be positive and to trust that everything happens for a reason. Being a type A personality, I have always been a “doer” and someone that can “fix things”. I reminded myself how I had been able to change circumstances in the past. I immediately felt a sense of relief and comfort as I began to feel in control again. I started to plan and reason in my my mind about how I would conquer all these challenges and make it work. As the week progressed, I saw that none of it was working. Once again, I was back to place of feeling helpless, alone and discouraged.
The next day as I entered my classroom, I received a call from the front office letting me know that one of my students came into the building crying and emotionally distraught. I was informed that her house caught on fire that morning and to help buffer her from the danger, a neighbor brought her to school while her parents dealt with the onslaught of first responders. I immediately greeted her at the door and tried to calm her down. My heart felt her emotions. She was scared, helpless and feeling things were out of control. As she calmed down, she told me she was concerned the most for her grandmother who was in a wheelchair. She was afraid she did not make it out of the house. As the rest of the class started to make their way into the classroom I had to shift focus from counselor to teacher. Surprisingly the class immediately starting their morning work without any redirection. (I know they sensed something was wrong and responded so sensitively.) I called the front office and asked for our School Resource Officer who was immediately able to get word from the first responders that everything was okay and that her grandmother did make it out of the house. The good news helped calm her. As the day progressed, she got right back into the routine of the school day and by recess was laughing and joking with her friends. As I stood there and observed her, I felt a peacefulness in my heart that everything was somehow going to work out. I know God once again used one of my students to get His message to me. I was reminded that “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29) and He is able to melt any iceberg no matter how large or unexpected that comes into my path.
LIFE LESSON: Whether it is becoming a parent, starting a new job or business, meeting someone new, getting married or beginning a new school year, we only have a limited view of each life event. We don’t truly know what lies beneath each surface. As the unseen in our lives begins to take its shape, we may encounter times of discouragement, fear, loneliness and helplessness and feel like we are underwater all the time. We may feel like giving up or doubt our ability to face it. We may even foolishly think we have the power to handle it in our own strength and control it. We have to trust that nothing can stand against God’s power to care for every unexpected or unseen circumstance that comes into our lives if we will just trust His promises.
“Listen to me…I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior.” Isaiah 46: 3-4