Early Monday morning, and I’m tired from a long weekend, and busy getting materials ready for the day. I have a meeting during my planning time and another one after school, plus a field trip in a few days. I still need to collect last minute forms and money.
So I barely notice Blake. All I see is a last-minute anchor chart for today’s lesson that I’m halfway through when he asks, “Dr. Hamby, can I talk to you for minute?”
A few years ago, I would have told him politely, “I’m not available.” I limit interaction in the mornings to be sure students are focusing on their day. Such rules are an essential part of being a teacher. But as Teacher Appreciation Week beings, I’m reflecting on the art of teaching.
Teaching is a calling on a grander scale than any other profession. We are honored to be the caregivers and gardeners of young minds. Children with hearts open, curiosity ready, and eyes wide follow us on a learning path. We teachers clear the trails, climb mountains, and slay bears along the way.
Every day in the classroom begins with soulful eyes and eager smiles. Full of curiosity, wonder, and expectancy, these eyes can dull over time if I don’t do my job well. This job, my calling, is to keep that spark alive.
The spark of the soul is there in all of my students’ eyes. Look closely. You’ll see the clarity of their spirit. They are truly, as Native Americans say, sacred beings.
Charles Dickens wrote, “It is no small thing that they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” As a teacher, what does that mean to you? Take a minute to think about it.
Could our charges, our students, be sacred beings “fresh from God”? Or have they become merely your charges to be shaped into test scores?
On this Monday morning, right now, this sacred being needs to speak to me. I put my marker down, and say, “Absolutely.” Blake becomes my entire focus as this strong boy confides in me of his parents’ divorce and the struggles he feels from it. Moments like these occur everyday in the sacred art of teaching.
Enjoy the lotions, chocolate, and extra supplies from Teacher Appreciation Week. But also take time to appreciate the sacred art of teaching. If we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear, we’ll see the sacredness of our work and the holiness of our children.