Category Archives: teacher


“I’m desperate,” said the principal. “I don’t have anyone to teach seventh-grade language arts. Do you want the job?” Although I’m a special education teacher, I am also highly qualified to teach language arts in middle school.
“I need to think about it,” I said. “It’s important to me to keep working with the kids who have IEPs. Let me see if there’s a way to do both.”
“Let me know as soon as you can,” said the principal. “We’re already in the second week of school and I don’t have any prospects. “
“Are you crazy?” the school counselor asked, when I told her what I was contemplating. “Why would you want to try to do two jobs?”
Undeterred, I started to sketch out some possibilities.
Later in the day, I called a trusted friend and told her about the principal’s request. “What’s in it for you?” she asked.
“More work,” I admitted, “but no more pay. I’d have to figure out a way to balance my caseload and teach four classes a day.”
After I clicked off the phone, I asked myself, “Will doing this job help you or hinder you along your chosen path?” I started to entertain doubts.
I awoke in the middle of the night, unable to sleep as I weighed the pros and cons of accepting the principal’s request. I stumbled into the kitchen and turned on my laptop to listen to Pray-As-You-Go.
The Scripture for the day, from Judges, chapter 9, was a bizarre tale about talking trees. I couldn’t imagine why the producers of the podcast had chosen it, and I paid little attention.
But when the narrator read the story a second time, I heard clearly: “And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees?’”
Quickly I paraphrased that question and applied it to my own dilemma: “Shall I leave the sweet moments of special education just to prove that I’m a good language arts teacher as well?”
I had my answer for the principal.

Praying in My Classroom

Wordle 16

A pilgrim looking for miracles,
I move from desk to desk,
reading the notes my students scribble
in their composition books,
their tender words
crawling across the page like lizards seeking light.
One of them writes of how he swept the horse stalls
before filling them again with fresh straw.
One writes of cement gushing from the chute of a truck—
the foundation for the family’s new home;
another of an early morning walk with his flock of sheep
before the sun ignites Tsé Bit’ A’í and it becomes
a fiery winged creature rising from the desert floor;
another of the rusty nails that pierced both his heels
three summers ago
as he scampered across a pile of old lumber behind his hogan—
he says you can still see the scars;
still another of how she torments
her younger sister without mercy—
“There’s something cruel in me,” she writes,
“and it wants Kelsey to hurt, hurt, hurt.”
And I pray:
Dear God,
even the prophets were not blessed like this!
I am standing on holy ground.
Do not remove my feet from this place
now or ever.

© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

More Monday Poetry Train Revisited #133 here
More The Sunday Whirl #16 here
More The Poetry Pantry #61 here
More Postcards from Paradise

School Starts Monday


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