Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: Every Potential Holds Me Captive
By Glenn A. Hascall
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Last year it was second graders. They thought everything I said was funny and treated me as if I actually had a brain.
Sixth graders? I wonder if they can see me sweat?
All they want to do is talk.
If I speak up will they even hear me?
Randy is taller than I am.
Do they have any idea how many hours I’ve spent trying to learn a whole new curriculum for a grade I thought was off limits to second grade teachers?
My upper lip is moist, but my throat can’t seem to find a drop of moisture for love or money.
One of the students just looked at me. I feel like I’m having a heart attack. Why did I ever agree to this position?
“Excuse me,” someone just spoke – the disembodied voice seems to be connected to the boy with his hand raised.
“Good morning, class,” the voice was mine and it sounded more assured than I felt. “Welcome to the 6th grade class.”
The day moves at pace that surpasses warp speed and somehow I find myself sitting in my favorite comfy chair at home wondering how I had survived the first day. The scenes replay in my brain in a way that seems to replay every event in a matter of thirty seconds.
I sit in the darkening house and tears flood my eyes. I’m not sure if it’s a response to the difficulties I have encountered in this change of life or possibly the fact that God brought me through the midst of my own Red Sea and I discovered I am a survivor.
I rarely arrive home before 7 PM and I arrive at work just after 7 AM. There are several hours spent each weekend getting things ready for the next week.
Forty students come through my class each day and I’m getting to know each of them.
If my students only knew that I am learning most of this material along with them they would probably stage a revolt, yet they come to class each day and expect to learn from me.
Most people have no idea the difficulties I face. Troubled students from broken homes, irate parents who can’t believe that their child may be less than perfect, hormones raging that cause these young people to respond in ways they didn’t even expect, and the time a teacher spends trying to come up with ways to help students succeed when odds indicate they won’t.
Today I embrace the toughest job I have ever had. Each child has a name, each name represents a life that I can never know fully, every life has potential, every potential holds me captive.
I must find a way to direct the potential – so, before I open my mouth today I will do what I have done for more than forty days and forty nights.
I’m way over my head here, but you brought me to this place and I came. I don’t know what You have in mind, but I’m here and I see lots of potential mixed with lots of trouble. I can provide some structure, Father, but only you can reach the heart. Reach out, Father. These kids need You – I need You.
I can’t do this alone.”
And He said, “You won’t have to.”
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