It’s hard to believe that it’s back to school time again. This has been a wonderful summer and I do hope that all school communities feel a sense of being refreshed after their long summer break. I’m very conscious, that this year in particular, back to school, puts enormous pressures regarding its cost on families, who are hugely burdened by the cost-of-living crisis. There is no such thing as free education. The voluntary contribution expected of parents is but one of many examples that creates huge burden particularly for families, who struggle to pay for the basic material commodities. I’m very aware this week that many students, following their leaving certificate results, are under serious pressure, to find affordable rental accommodation, close to their college campus.
We all know in our adult lives that really, we never stopped going to school. The environment may change but experience teaches us. Life is our greatest teacher. School for young people is a very important place. A place where their gifts and talents must be nurtured and cultivated to achieve their best potential in life. We are blessed with wonderful schools, teachers, staff who give fulsomely in their important task as educators. I pray as the new school year commences it will be a healthy and happy one for all involved. I love the following reflection, it is rich in affirmation and it’s very true.
“On the 6th day, God created men and women. On the 7th day, he rested. Not so much to recuperate, but rather to prepare himself for the work he was going to do on the next day. For it was on that day, the 8th day, that God created the FIRST TEACHER. This teacher, though taken from among men and women, had several significant modifications. In general, God made the teacher more durable than other men and women.
The teacher was made to arise at a very early hour and to go to bed no earlier than 11:30pm with no rest in between. The teacher had to be able to withstand being locked up in an air-tight classroom for six hours with thirty-five “monsters” on a rainy Monday. And the teacher had to be fit to correct 103 term papers over Easter vacation. Yes, God made the teacher tough…but gentle too.
The teacher was equipped with soft hands to wipe away the tears of the neglected and lonely student…of those of the sixteen year old girl who was not asked to the prom. And into the teacher God poured a generous amount of patience. Patience when a student asks to repeat the directions the teacher has just repeated for someone else. Patience when the kids forget their lunch money for the fourth day in a row. Patience when one-third of the class fails the test. Patience when the text books haven’t arrived yet, and the semester starts tomorrow.
And God gave the teacher a heart slightly bigger than the average human heart. For the teacher’s heart had to be big enough to love the kid who screams, “I hate this class-it’s boring!” and to love the kid who runs out of the classroom at the end of the period without so much as a “goodbye”, let alone a “thank you”. And lastly, God gave the teacher an abundant supply of Hope. For God knew that the teacher would always be hoping. Hoping that the kids would someday learn how to spell… hoping not to have lunchroom duty… hoping that Friday would come… hoping for a free day…. hoping for deliverance.
When God finished creating the teacher, he stepped back and admired the work of his hands. And God saw that the teacher was good. Very Good! And God smiled, for when he looked at the teacher, he saw into the future. He knew that the future is in the hands of the teachers.
And because God loves teachers so much, on the 9th day God created “Snow Days.” ”