A picture keeps popping up in my mind as we near the start of school. It’s a colorful image of my oldest son at five years old. He is standing tall in the flower section of the grocery store, holding tight to a bunch of roses and a big bag of cookies. It is the night before his last day of daycare and just a few days from his first day of Kindergarten.
The flowers and cookies are for his teacher. She was the first teacher he was absolutely, totally in love with. I’m sure the love stemmed from many tiny instances of care and compassion he experienced during that year in her classroom. There were small moments, like the daily hugs received as he entered and exited the room. And there were larger moments, like the first day he walked in with hearing aids, and the teacher welcomed him into the circle and invited his friends to see the new devices that were going to help him be a bigger part of the classroom. I’ll never forget seeing the children scoot up close to look at him, and, under her guidance, tell him how excited they were for his new “super-ears.”
Teachers, particularly ones that work with such a young age, can be seen as superheroes by their students. And this hero status is what leads to a tiny five-year-old standing tall in a flower section, holding tight to the most precious gift he can give. That teacher was my son’s hero, because she showed him that even in a challenging classroom environment, he was seen, and he mattered.
This month begins a transition into the most challenging experience teachers have ever faced. Even if they are seeing their students in person, they are seeing them behind masks and at arm’s length. I can imagine many teachers are longing to be able to reach out and hug their students on the first day of school and tell them everything is going to be alright.
But even when this is not possible, I have extraordinary faith in teachers to find a way to still show all students that they are seen and that they matter. After all, God has called teachers each to this vocation, and I believe God knows exactly what God is doing. So, let us pray for teachers as we begin this year, that God may grace them with the vision and the fortitude needed to navigate these ever-changing circumstances. And may God remind them daily that they have superhero status in the eyes of children—and in the eyes of the children’s parents as well.
Image by AliceKeyStudio from Pixabay.
Gretchen, Thanks. Indeed teachers keep shaping the future pillars of our Planet.
What a lovely reflection. God Bless all those who are helping to get everyone through this terrible time. Especially those who work with the children. Teaching profession has been in my family for several generations and I do believe it has to be like Nursing; a Vocation and not just a Job. God Bless and let us pray for all who are putting their lives at risk to help those in need. A.M.D.G.
The thought struck me as I read this, that it may be that we will discover students can become superheroes in this difficult unusual time. Maybe the masks will provide a small shyness barrier and allow students to participate more – or less! – and bring out the best in themselves and others!
May God bless all our school folk!
Our parish will start classes today. Praying for our teachers for protection, courage and grace. Thank you Gretchen for a beautiful reflection.
This is such a wonderful reflection. Brought tears of joy. My daughter teaches students with special needs in high school. They start back to school in Arizona next week. God protect her and all the wonderful teachers.
That was nice…is an eye opener…as I myself is teaching…and to be reminded the kids and parents really depend on you…and even the smallest thing you do matters..
Thanks Gretchen for this timely article.