Doorkeepers and Teachers

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10, RSV

Doorkeepers don’t seem like very important people. They open and close doors all day long as a convenience for people going in and out of buildings. They earn a living, but they’re certainly not getting rich at it.

If a doorkeeper is lucky, one or two of the hundreds of people who pass by him daily know him and call him by name. (Most doorkeepers seem to be men.) Otherwise, the doorkeeper is just one more nameless face among millions. Yet, the person who wrote Psalm 84 says that he’d rather be a doorkeeper than anything else—presumably, even if some other job were more lucrative and even everyone knew his name like they know the names of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs.

Sometimes as a teacher, I feel like a doorkeeper. Nobody notices what I do, except when an administrator comes into my classroom once or twice a year to make a formal evaluation of my job performance. Even though my principal is not God, and my school isn’t the house of God, I’m pretty content where I am, although moving day could come at any time. (Because ours is an under-performing school, half of the teachers may be fired at the end of the year.)

Several years ago when I was moving from one state to another, I had to divest myself of a number of possessions. I just didn’t have room to take them along to my new home. I contacted a local auctioneer, who specialized in helping people get rid of things quickly. The auctioneer was an old man and I asked how long he had been in the business. Several decades, he said, and then added, “That man is truly blessed who can do what he loves for a living.”

That seems to be the attitude of the person who wrote Psalm 84: I’m doing what I love, and I am truly blessed.

Just before I left work one afternoon, I stopped by the office and saw our youngest teacher trying to find her way through a maze of bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, I had some of the information she needed and she was able to make substantial progress toward extricating herself from the maze. Several other staff members were also in the office, and one of them said something that made us all erupt in laughter. It was a good way to end a grueling week.

There are probably many other schools where I could earn more money, but I doubt there are many other schools where the staff is so supportive of each other. I may be underappreciated by students and underpaid by the district, but I’m doing what I love among people who love and respect me. I am truly blessed.

Thought for the Day:
Every job has blessings. The person with open eyes will see them.

Posted on September 12, 2010, in blessings, teaching, work. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post. You ARE blessed and a blessing on those you come across at work. 😉


  2. You have the best attitude. You truly are blessed.

  3. I know why I was attracted to your blog years ago. We ahve similar feelings about this profession of ours.

  4. I love this post. I was wondering if you would be writing anything about school this year. I taught in a school where the staff was a tremendous support to one another, particularly those of us who had been there a long time.

    I had two boys in my class in Haiti who were just the opposites of each other. They were both quite enterprising, but in different ways. When they were in lower grades, the teacher was getting after one of them saying that one day one of them would be president and he would be shining his shoes. (He loved to shine shoes.) His response to the teacher, “Miss L., I’d be proud.” They both are doing servant work in missions now.

  5. An excellent post. You capture very well my own belief that I am “paid” in ways for the work that I do that has nothing to do with money.

  6. Thanks for being a blessing in our lives.

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