Work: When Teaching is a Gift

An FMF Prompt

Work can be grueling and it can be a gift

Today’s prompt is: WORK


I received a gift at work today.

My award-winning day did not start when I forgot to grab my school keys off my dresser as I headed out on my 45 minute drive to teach 7th and 8th graders.

It wasn’t the  middle-schoolers’ insatiable desire to learn that was wrapped in a bow.

Nor was it the several visits from my principal to deal with…well…you know (did I mention I teach 7th and 8th grade?).

No surprising tray of culinary delights awaited my lunch-duty supervision while 7th grade boys waited impatiently for a turn at basketball.

The decision of some boys to bring two weeks of smoldering resentment to a full-roiling boil today was definitely no reward (yeah…that 7th and 8th grade thing again).

The gift did not involve the surprising and first-time-ever visit of the Educational Superintendent in the midst of a catch-up period (all those 7th and 8th graders behind on work take a few moments to try to catch up while others gleefully punch at the keyboard on websites that practice memorizing states or spelling words).

There was no present of free-time – instead my long day involved the extra bonus of sponsoring year-book after school for a couple of hours.

While commiserating with my co-workers was nice, it did not feel like enough of a bonus to offset the sweltering heat of the gym, nor the smoke-filled skies.

Some moments are painful and grueling, others are beautiful and wrapped with a bow!

My gift came as a complete surprise, wrapped up in the maturity of the high-school class I teach.

It came because I had to step out to deal with a…you know…7th and 8th grade issue…right then.

I stood outside the doorway,  just seconds after the bell rang, taking a few deep breaths, preparing to give these ancient and wise 9th and 10th graders a list of directions they could follow while the school secretary supervised them.

Hearing noises, I pasted on a smile and pulled open the door.  I stopped and beheld the best gift a middle/high school teacher can receive.  My whole class was gathered together – one student at the board taking lead, while others threw out ideas and brainstormed.  This is our fourth week of school and every Thursday we do the same thing.

My gift.

They not only knew what to do, but they DID it.  They not only were completing the task, they were smiling, and happy, and in control and focused.

I stood there watching for a moment, while tears gathered in my eyes.   See, this group, not so long ago, were middle-school kids – crazy and wild and out-of-control.  They were fun, noisy, creative and gossipy.  Childish and adultish by turns, along with kind and rude: singing songs and making farting noises (or the real thing) at will.

This class used to be that way.  But today, they knew what to do.  They took control.  Cooperatively they set out to do what they knew was expected – and what was expected is for them to plan and set up the chapel/assembly/worship  program for tomorrow.  Today, children became leaders.

This was my gift today – and THIS is why I teach.

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Wow, Carol, that IS a gift. If any of the college classes I taught had done what your high-schoolers did, I think I would have fainted.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    • Right? If a classroom full of teachers would just do that! lol

  • Lisa Streno Wenninger

    Bless you! Your work is appreciated and so important.

  • Cathy S

    What a wonderful gift…to see evidence they are growing up and that you do make a difference. May God continue to bless you as you teach.

    • Ya know, you have those days where you wonder if you ARE making a difference. I have to keep telling myself that God is making a difference, even when I’m not! 🙂

  • Carol, this had to be such a gift to you! May God bless you as you continue to work and teach.

    • Thank you! He definitely provides me with abundant blessings!

  • Tara L Ulrich

    What a beautiful gift! 7th and 8th graders can be so hard…so much drama etc. Its a beautiful thing when you experience a moment like you did. I’m in the 33 spot this week.

    • Yes – it can be hard, anywhere in middle school. But it IS fun to see them grow and mature! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Oh, I adore it when kids do what we trained to them to do! I get all giddy when my kids finish an assignment and quietly take out a book and start reading! (They’ve come a long way, my kids!)