|Image source: http://goo.gl/CeK2S7|
I stumbled on Larry Ferlazzo’s EdWeek post, and had to respond after reading this:
This week’s question is a natural follow-up to last week’s topic (where we discussed why teachers leave high-needs schools):
Why do some teachers stay at difficult to staff schools? What are the rewards? What do these long term teachers learn about specific communities & learning that benefit their students?
When I was a young Catholic school educator, 20-21 years of age, I remember attending a session with a nun. Her mop of white-brown hair wrapped around her face like a cowl, her red cheeks a contrast to the yellow chalk dust that blended into her earth-colored blouse. Her words, blurred over time, also introduced me to the story of The King and his Hawk.
She tried to explain to us all how we start as people seeking to do right, but then, over time, end up as poverty-stricken, bereft as those we tried to serve. She drew a line, symbolizing a continuum on the chalkboard. My mind struggled with the concept. How could you help someone if you ended up just like them, shivering next to them and suffering, suffering with them?
Though I have forgotten her exact words, the vague image of her so earnestly explaining her suffering with, I am reminded of it when I see teachers laboring in obscurity, sometimes suffering the lash of incompetence, drowning in busywork, hoping, not to find a reward for themselves, but to help children experience a mother’s love, a willingness to suffer with.
Thank you for suffering with the children.