Last fall I wrote that I was leaving my job, and didn’t know what was next. If you don’t know, allow me to fill you in.
For almost a year now I have been a substitute teacher in our school district. There are 50 schools in the district, but I only sub at the two my kids go to so that I can get to know the teachers and administrators there better, and quite honestly I believe it would be too lonely for this relational extrovert to hop all over the place never forming relationships.
When this all started last fall, Chad asked, “Are you sure?” And I didn’t know if I was. I’m not a teacher, I have zero interest in homeschooling, summer vacation at home nearly kills me…none of these would go on a resume. But somehow, for some reason, there I was at orientation.
What I’ve realized is that being a substitute teacher is THE most amazing ministry I’ve ever done. I’ve hugged kids who are crying from deep emotional pain. I’ve hugged kids who are crying from physical pain. I’ve hugged kids who are happy from a good grade. I’ve tried to talk to kids to get through the big emotional wall they’ve built. I set boundaries and reinforce them over and over. I teach them how to be good friends to each other. I don’t know their stories, but I don’t need to know their stories, I just love on them.
AND I’M ONLY A SUB. Teachers go so far beyond what’s in a book.
There are days that are SO hard. Days when I watch the clock and just want to leave. But on those days, I remember that I’m giving a teacher the day off. Sometimes that’s the only redeeming value of the day, but that’s still a pretty great reason to go.
People. Thank your teachers. Know that they are patient, and love your kids. Know that they want so badly for them to succeed. Know that they go early and stay late to be the best that they can be, to provide the best environment that they can. And when they do go home, they take work with them – either literal work or mental work, thinking about their kids.