Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FINISH (05/26/16)
TITLE: A Casual Relief Teacher's Day
By Nicki Jeffery
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My iPhone belts out the latest Hillsong ring tone around 6:45. It is a work call. I hurry the boys along with their morning routines of breakfast eating and dressing and teeth brushing.
“You’ll be fine, honey.” Hubby says casually as he brushes his lips against mine and heads to his office for a day of virtual solitude.
My knuckles turn white as I clutch the steering wheel. ‘Just breathe.’ I tell myself, when I realise how uptight I am.
With one son happily at day-care and the other running to hang his backpack outside his classroom, I look around. Uh-oh. It’s windy.
I sign in and pick up my day sheet. Scanning for my playground duty, I sigh. Bus duty. Ugh.
In the classroom, I log on to the computer and check that the interactive whiteboard screen is working. Phew. One potential hurdle overcome. Next I look at the teacher’s lesson plans. Finding resources for multiple curriculum areas on the computer. Locating workbooks in tote trays or chair bags. Making sure I have a lead pencil to mark the class roll.
The bell sounds and I make my way to lines. Time for another pep talk, ‘You love teaching. You can do this.’
At recess time I rephrase, ‘You like teaching’ as the students push past me to exit. It’s been a trying morning.
“Mrs Wilson doesn’t do it like that.”
“No, we don’t do Mathematics until after Reading Groups.”
Not to mention the silly noises and snickering coming from pockets around the room.
I enter the staffroom with my brave face on. If only I drank coffee. I bite into my red, juicy apple and manage a smile as another teacher sits across from me.
“How is it going?” she asks.
I swallow my mouthful and nod. “Fine thanks.”
Ah, the dilemma. Tell the truth and risk not being phoned for work again. Or play it down and hope I seem in control.
“Send Dylan to me if he is mucking around. Windy days can set him off.” The Kindergarten teacher tilts her head to the side and winks.
Next session, I pull my prize bag out of my teaching basket. Bribes might do the trick. I walk around the classroom, monitoring noise levels and productiveness. I have learnt a few names of students that morning, so I use them. Then it happens.
Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse an eraser pelting past and hitting a student in the back. Sobbing follows. Dylan tries to hide.
“Dylan did it!” a girl yells.
The class enters a state of pandemonium.
Dylan now has the wooden metre ruler in his hand.
“Dylan, pass the ruler to me, please.” I try in a calm voice. ‘Why am I a teacher?’
He poises to strike. I send for the Kindergarten teacher.
Lunchtime is spent writing out incident reports. At the end of the day, the classroom looks like a bomb has hit. I run to bus duty and return to tidy up afterwards. My eldest son helps me begrudgingly. He hands me a drawing by one of my students with the words, ‘Thanks for teaching us today. You are very pretty.’
As we coast down the highway towards the day-care centre, I remember to take a deep breath. ‘It is finished.’
My thoughts remind me of my Saviour. He said the same thing as he hung on the cross. My crazy day has nothing on his busy life and agonizing death. He fulfilled his calling. He did what the Father sent him to do. He was obedient.
‘Am I obedient?’ I ponder ‘That’s what I desire from the children I teach, and from my own sons. But am I loving and tender hearted, patient and kind? Am I filled with hope or dread? If God made me to be a teacher and a mother, am I able to not only finish a day of casual relief teaching, but finish the race marked out for me?’
After the boys’ bedtime, I snuggle up to my husband.
“You did it, honey,” he says, massaging my head. “I sure couldn’t.”
‘Maybe I’ll do it again tomorrow.’
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