I'm a bit confined to my desk today, because I am suddenly overcome with dizziness and altered vision. I was trying to read a portion from a book and found that I had little spots before my eyes like you get when you are out too long in the sun on a white, snowy day. Those of you who have been to my office know that it is not brightly lit, so this phenomenon confused me, and when the dizziness began, nausea was right on its heels. I went to the GGCA prayer room and lay down for a while and felt a mild headache build behind my right eye. I feel as though I have a migraine headache without the pain. Whatever it is, I am taking it easy here in my office and taking some time to write to you.
The weather has been unseasonably warm for December, but that has not stopped the younger students from asking almost daily, "Is it Christmas yet?" and singing songs like Jingle Bells as they trail along in their teacher's wake each morning from the Family Center to their classroom. The lower elementary child's sense of time is not highly developed. In their minds, December equals Christmas, and the idea of the holiday arriving nearly three weeks from now can mean anything from very soon to eons from now. As a boy growing up in Maine, December and June seemed liked the months with the longest days, for Christmas never seemed to draw any closer no matter how many days I crossed off the calendar, and the end of school and summer vacation were elusive dreams that wishing and hoping could not bring into my grasp.
As someone who works in a school, it can still feel that way at times. The students' longing infects us adults too, and we find ourselves steeling our hearts against the fervent desire for school to end and vacation to begin, because we have jobs and responsibilities as educators, and we're not kids, for crying out loud! As a parent, you see your children grow up and outgrow some of the seasonal antsy-ness that come with Christmas, but as a teacher, especially an elementary teacher, every year you see the same excitement and anticipation, because you are always teaching students that are 5 or 6 or 10; the names and faces change, but the childlike thrill of the approaching holiday remains the same. It is one of the blessings of being a teacher.
Teaching is a hard job. If you are not called to do it, it can be an almost impossible job. It requires so much energy and creativity and enthusiasm to do it well, and love is a big part of it. You have to love middle schoolers to deal with all of their changes and moods and aromas, day after day after day as you try to help them learn to do math, understand science, appreciate history, and love literature and writing. You have to love first graders to help them learn to read as they learn the art of being good citizens and classmates and to not push and to share and play together nicely. Teaching can be so, so, so draining, but when you are a teacher, you can hardly imagine doing anything else for work, because there is such joy in the annual journey, shepherding students from September through June as they grow and become.
I could go on, but I have to weave my way down to the staff meeting now. I hope my dizziness doesn't send me lurching into a wall! By God's grace, all will be well. Until next times, God bless you.