1st Friday in Advent
Psalm 16:6, RSV
TGIF—Thank God It’s Friday. Workers all over the world—especially teachers, it seems—like to chant that mantra on the last day of the workweek.
Teaching is hard work, and the pay hardly compensates for the demands of the profession. Yet, instead of saying TGIF, I say that I’m thankful that I have a job at all during these latter days of the Great Recession. For that reason, if for no other, the lines have indeed fallen for me in pleasant places.
No, not everything about the life of a classroom teacher is pleasant. I sometimes feel as though I am being carried away by a tsunami of paperwork. In fact, paperwork annoys me so much that it’s always last on my list of things to do—which, of course, makes the tsunami worse! l weary of having to discipline the same kids over and over again. And I find most staff meetings to be an utter waste of time. (My ideal school would have staff meetings no more than four times a year, certainly not every Friday.)
Still, the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. What other job would allow me to work with children, helping to sharpen their minds and shape their character? What other job would challenge me to learn something new every day? What other job has built-in breaks throughout the year? I’m so grateful that I can travel at Christmas and spring break and in the summer to reconnect with friends and family and see new places. (I’m looking forward to being in Guadalajara for Christmas.)
Yes, like many other teachers on this Friday evening, I’m tired. It has been another difficult week. But despite my weariness, I know that teaching is a privilege and a high calling, and if I were to turn my back on it, I would be rejecting my “goodly heritage.”
During the remainder of this Advent season, and beyond, I plan to accentuate the positive, and downplay the negative, aspects of the work I do. Instead of muttering, “TGIF,” when the end of the workweek rolls around, I’m going to be saying, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”
Because they have.