Tiffany is being forced to transfer to a different school. Why? According to the district, records show “insufficient certification in the field of early childhood,” which means she’s certified to teach elementary grades, but not kindergarten. Are they providing a teacher to replace her? Nope. Do her kids have anywhere to go? Nope. Are they worried about this? Nope.
Didn’t they tell you? No teacher at all is better than a teacher who is certified in the wrong grade. Duh.
This means by the end of the week, Tiffany’s 23 kids will be split up into the remaining kindergarten classrooms. The district expects our principal to dig around and find someone else. There’s just one problem. There are no more kindergarten teachers in our district. Zero. Nada. Zip. They don’t exist. The current plan is to stuff each classroom with 30-plus kids until next semester, when a new wave of early graduates will hopefully hit the market. If we’re lucky, we might snag a new teacher. If we’re lucky.
Months before I decided to join Teach for America, I had a dream that I will never forget. I saw the frozen bodies of children in a darkened school room, and when I reached out my hand to touch them, they came to life. At the time, I was so buried in applications for jobs in journalism that the dream was inconsequential. But it was so vivid and terrifying that I wrote it down in my journal. It stuck. When, through the most unlikely of scenarios, I was accepted into Teach for America, I remembered.
Does God still speak to us through dreams? I really don’t know. But I do know this. I’ve never been so certain about something before in my life. Many have suggested that I quit. On numerous occasions. I don’t have to put myself through this. I can go back home and find a better job where I can get more than 3 minutes a day to scoff down a sandwich and don’t feel stretched to the breaking point every single week.
But I can’t. I can’t quit. The idea is so utterly foreign to me that it takes effort to even conceive the possibility. God is with me. I know it. I’m being asked to do the impossible, but it doesn’t matter. When I try to think of other options, I can’t. There’s nothing else I can imagine myself doing right now. This is it. This is right. This is my job. It needs to be done. This is my path. I must walk it.
I used to find those people frustrating. You know… those people who insist, “You just know,” as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. How do you choose the right school, the right spouse or career? How do you make the right decision when all decisions seem equal? “You just know.” – How do you know? – “You just know that you know.”
Utterly unhelpful. But I find myself in the same place. I just know. I know that I know.
The thought is at once liberating and terrifying, comforting yet awful. When we walk in the will of God, we know we can accomplish whatever he sets before us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But it doesn’t make it easy. In fact, I’m terrified. If the rest of the year is like this, I truly don’t know how I’ll survive. I know that I will survive. I just don’t know how.
Lord, silence the voice of fear in my life and fan into flame the gifts that you have given me by the power of your Holy Spirit to accomplish the task that you have set before me. Other teachers are saying it’s impossible. So many kids in a single classroom? Impossible to teach. Impossible. And it is. But your grace is sufficient. Your grace is enough. Make your strength perfect in my weakness. Show the world that you and you alone are God.