One Morning in a Teacher’s Life

Last Tuesday morning:

7:30—Sunrise is still quite recent, but it is time to be at school for staff devotions. I am still in catch-up mode from being away over the weekend and having a substitute teach for me on Friday. It is my turn to lead devotions (fortunately I remembered). I read from “The Weight of Glory,” in which C.S. Lewis calls us to see beyond the present and to realize the future glory of God’s children.

7:50—Staff devotions is over, and I recall what I discovered in the bathroom just as I was getting ready to leave the evening before: a plugged and overflowing toilet. Somehow at that point it had seemed like a good idea to leave it and deal with it in the morning. I head for the bathroom and grimly wield the plunger and clean up the floor. I hurry back to the classroom to complete preparations for the day.

8:30—Classes begin. It is a gray, drizzly day. We will probably have to play inside at recess. The low-hanging fluorescent lighting in my basement classroom is garish on any day, but especially so on cloudy days when little natural light finds its way inside.

10:00—Student says she is not feeling well and asks to go to the bathroom. She returns a little later, pale-faced, and informs me that she threw up in the bathroom and that “some of it went on the floor.” I send her to the office to the secretary, who serves wonderful double duty as a nurse. I hastily finish spelling class, dismiss my students for break, and hurry to the bathroom to survey the damages. I clean up the floor, spray Lysol everywhere, and run to the office to make sure that my student is cared for and that the secretary has called the child’s mom to come pick her up.

10:20—Is break time over already? My students come trooping into the classroom at the sound of the bell. I take a deep breath and dive into reading class.

11:30—It’s lunchtime, and today is a hot lunch day. Hot lunches are great, but they also tend to be messier than packed lunches. It’s a law of nature that wherever there are children eating, there will be food on the floor. But my children are happy, and they engage in lively and amusing conversation all during lunchtime.

12:00—I escort my students to the music room for their music class and return to my classroom. Ahhhh—I get a break. Well, sort of anyway. I pick up crumbs and empty the trashcan that is overflowing from discarded plastic cups and styrofoam lunch trays. Determined to annihilate the fly population, I march around the room with a fly swatter.

12:45—It’s recess time, and my students are dancing all over the playground in a lively game of ball tag, while singing snatches of “Magnificat” that they just learned in music class. The sun has come out, turning the gray morning into a lovely autumn day. I revel in wind, sunshine, singing, and the laughter of happy children. I chuckle over the messiness of the morning and join the children in running around the playground to elude the “It” people. Of course it’s more fun to chase the teacher than anyone else, so I get my workout for the day.

And I think about “The Weight of Glory.” Glory is often difficult to glimpse in the messiness of everyday reality, but it is there.