Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Long Goodbye

Coach Crawford, quatro Champions, and Nick Reveiz
I knew going in that I was only going to stay for two years.  Addie starts middle school.  Two years is long enough to gain an understanding of what it's like to teach in an urban school.  Perhaps my experience will have an impact on test sc-sc-scores (that part kinda hangs in my throat).  Maybe I can make a difference in the lives of my students.

Let's just cut the crap.  The two years passed quickly (in hindsight).  The Champions made a HUGE difference in my life!  My fear now is that I will forget.  I'll walk right back into my "comfortable" life and forget that there are children 10 miles away with hearts as big as Texas, with enthusiasm that would shake Neyland Stadium, with eyes that light up when they "get it" for the first time, with hearts filled to overflowing with generosity to the point of sharing their last dollar to buy something for me, with no one to cheer them on in the game of life, with no bed, with no lunch money, with no one to applaud wildly when they receive a trophy for being a Champion for the first time in their lives.

Oh God, I pray for these children!!!  I pray for their parents.  God, help them see that their child needs them to support their efforts at school.  They need cheerleaders.  They need a soft shoulder to cry on, and a willing ear to listen to them.  I pray for their teachers, Lord.  Give them an abundance of patience!  Help them to understand that what they see may not be what they get; that the walls of defense and self-preservation are thick and often seemingly impenetrable. Give their teachers special insight into their future.  Help them to water the seed that lives dormant in each child, just waiting for a teacher who loves them to awaken the possibility that lies just below the surface!  I pray for YOU to set up divine appointments in their lives so that doors of opportunity will open for them that might otherwise remain closed.  Help others who meet them to notice the "Championship" potential in them.  Oh God, most of all, thank You for the privilege You have given me to play a small role in their lives. 

Thank goodness I've been busy.  If I had the time to fully process and THINK about the past week, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to function.  K. will not be at school tomorrow.  He hugged me so tightly today, it took my breath away.  He cried.  He smiled.  I'm changed for having known him.

J. will not be at school tomorrow.  Forever in his memory, I will be the teacher who sent him to another teacher's classroom for the last hour of the school day on his last day of school.  ...Ugh!  Failure!  He was fighting, being disruptive, saying hateful things to other students.  I wanted him to stay with us.  I gave him many chances.  He just couldn't handle it.  When he refused to come into the classroom after recess and instead chose to pout outside, I felt his behavior had to be addressed.  In hindsight, I see now that he was trying to process the changes that are to come.  No more Locker Room.  No more Coach Crawford.  No more... This child is nine years old and has already lost his daddy.  He was stabbed to death.  No more...  So many family members.   No more... God, I could have taken the time to introduce him to the One Father who will never die, never leave him, never fail him as I did today.

Tomorrow several of my Champions will arrive for the last half day of school.  There are no desks, posters, MVPs, Team Rosters, DOLs, or brightly colored student work displayed on the walls.  The Locker Room is bland and empty.  It's the Champions that give life to our Locker Room. Without the Champions, the Locker Room becomes a trailer.   It's the Champions that bring hope.   It's my goal now to keep "hope" alive....forever!


  1. You didn't fail J. He knew this was good bye, it is easier to get sent away that deal with the love he feels for his classmates, his teacher & the locker room. I am going to miss miss miss these kids, my heart hurts thinking about next year. When they come looking in my office and I am not there. :( I hate to think that they will believe I left them.

  2. Marjo, Your words are a huge encouragement to me. As you can probably tell, I use this blog to process the journey of life. Sometimes just typing it out helps me come to terms with the things I can change and the things I can't. You are a remarkable person who has done great things for many, many children!


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