I have been substitute teaching lately. First of all, let's go ahead and clear up my motives for doing this job. I wanted to explore the option of going back to teaching after I ran screaming into motherhood ten years ago, grateful for a reason not to show up to work one August. That reason is Key, and his younger brother, Kelly, has started kindergarten. When I left teaching, I could not have been more relieved. My husband, Michael, was also relieved, being that I had a tendency to get a bit attached to certain oddballs and then foam at the mouth when their parents behaved badly. Michael was worried about our house being capable of sleeping enough people had I stayed with teaching. So, as is becoming a completely unintentional habit for me, I am going to school with my own kids under the guise of saving/ making money. (Subs get paid slave labor wages, just so you know. Seriously. $50 for 8 hours before taxes. Do the math.) I have a love/ hate relationship with the American educational system, but nonetheless, it is a magnet for me. We've explored homeschooling, private schooling, public schooling, and we have chosen charter schooling. We've actually chosen the poorest school in America to send our kids. Not that we realized we were choosing a school with that particular bragging right, but we did. And, truth be told, we like it.
So. All that to say I am working there. Part time. In the special education multi age self contained room. Got it? That means I have been with the kids that are struggling more than the others and have been pulled for targeted help and since the school has no money they decided to put the eight year olds with the fifteen year olds and the autistic child with the ADD absolutely no focus child and the sweetest kid in the entire universe that has down syndrome and a six pack set of abs because his mom is the pe teacher kid all together. Throw in the kid with extra growth hormone and the kid with cerebral palsy and the kid with no motivation and the kid with a killer jump shot and no clue how to read, add one or two adults, and you are starting to get the picture. Here's the toughest part. I am in love. And I challenge anyone to spend a week in that room and not have the same reaction. Another woman, also a substitute, that was helping me yesterday, said it perfectly.
"When I look at his eyes, I can't help but see Jesus."
That was about the autistic one with giant brown eyes and a smile I simply cannot describe. He attaches to certain teachers, and one day when this other substitute came to work in my place, he looked at her and said, "Get out crazy lady. Where Ms. Hatch? You not Ms. Hatch. Get out and get Ms. Hatch. You crazy."
I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but seriously.
The thing is, in the oddballs is where Jesus shines through. It is where no one is afraid to talk about Him and everything goes because there are no filters or concerns about fitting in with these kids. They fit here because they do not easily fit elsewhere, and so they are open and honest, and they all love Jesus.
And He shows up.
Because everyday the kiddos ask Him to.
(Makes going back to teaching a bit more enticing when Jesus keeps asking for me and calling everybody else crazy. I mean, wouldn't you at least give it a thought?)