What a month August has been! I have had the humbling opportunity to quite literally meet with teachers, parents and administrators across the country! From a large district in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a private school is Washington, D.C., teachers and administrators have been busily preparing for a fresh year of learning. From a small adobe school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a school for unique learners in Tulsa, Oklahoma, bulletin boards are going up, pencils are being sharpened, and fresh books are being placed on desks in anticipation of students. From a district in Lexington, Kentucky, where teachers came during their own summer days to learn about children with learning challenges to a group of motivated and profoundly dedicated home school parents in Atlanta, Georgia, the 2015-2016 school year is underway.
When I travel like this and am accorded the privilege of meeting so many dedicated educators, the most overwhelming take-away is this:
OUR KIDS ARE IN GOOD HANDS!
My work affords me the unique ability to view education in every form in every state. It is a rare and sacred experience for someone like me, who has never dreamed of being anything other than a teacher.
What I know is this: Our kids are in good hands!
We may not agree with educational policies. We may not care for the policy makers. We may or may not view common core standards as good or evil. We see that what our public school teachers are expected to do on a daily basis is superhuman and close to impossible. Our media sources are infused with negativity about the state of the economy, the state of the modern family, the state of education. But amidst the chaos and nay-saying and excruciating budget cuts, what I know is this:
Our kids are in good hands!
I am blessed to spend my days with teachers: Classroom teachers, home school teachers, public school teachers and private school teachers. Teachers who wake up every morning, pushing through the fatigue and haze of sleepiness to quickly grab materials together to create the lesson that came to them in their sleep. Teachers who have gone out and developed schools to meet the needs of other children who have challenges similar to their child’s. Teachers who have given up their own careers or person goals to stay home and educate their own children, even though it means seldom having a break or a second for themselves.
Teachers are a forced with which to be reckoned!!!
Aside from a mother’s ferocious love for her children, I know of few other earthly forces as powerful as the Teaching Heart. Thousands upon thousands of men and women face every day, ready to love, nurture and educate our children. Against increasing and ceaseless odds, they demonstrate dedication, energy, creativity, passion, compassion, mastery and curiosity. They spend their own time, their own limited income, and their own emotional resources to keep children engaged, loved and moving forward. They teach our children how to read, how to add, and how to share. They teach that art is essential, music is magical, and who you are on the playground is as important as how you do in the classroom.
So let me share the good news: Our kids are in good hands!
Our diverse, expansive and often tumultuous nation is brimming over with people dedicated to the art of teaching. Nurture your child’s teachers. Be present. Be available. Ask them what they need, and then help out. Encourage and support them. When you see your child’s teacher dragging at the end of a long day, smile and say thank you. Take the time to ask you neighbor why she has chosen to home school her children, and watch as her eyes light up. Almost every teacher will tell you it’s never the children that cause them to leave the profession. It’s never their lack of love or dedication, but rather a sense of unsurmountable expectations that don’t seem to go noticed or appreciated. Show your support and appreciation. Let’s keep the good ones around.
There is life-changing power in the Teaching Heart. It is the power to move mountains, the power to love children, the power to change the world. Think about it. Pray about it. Then go nurture it.
Go hug a teacher.