Written by Frances Peacock
This post is inspired by Mother Angelica of EWTN, who said we all have the capability to be great saints, “Don’t miss the opportunity.”
A teacher’s job doesn’t come with a lot of fancy opportunities.
Do I get to drive my own company car? Only if it’s long, yellow, and seats 50.
Will I ever see my name on the front of the building? If so, it means somebody’s getting in trouble for graffiti.
Is a promotion in my future? Sure. As soon as Mrs. Jones retires, you can run the chess club.
All of this is fine with me. A teacher doesn’t become a teacher for the big opportunities, she does it for the small ones.
Opportunities. They roll around the classroom like loose crayons, and if I’m smart, I go after them.
Kindness. In a room full of children, the chances to show kindness are all around me. I place a bandage on a child’s thumb after he shuts his pencil box on it. I share my gloves with a child who forgot his. I give a fresh piece of construction paper to a frustrated artist.
Patience. In the classroom, the opportunities for patience abound. I can give a slow reader all the time in the world. I can smile and wait while a child pulls a mud-covered knot out of his double-tied shoelace.
Forgiveness. There are moments that are made for forgiveness alone, where nothing else will do. A rude word can be washed off a desk and forgotten. A hot-tempered girl can have one more chance to be sweet.
There are millions of teachers in America. Every day, we are all given the same wonderful gift – the opportunity to practice those virtues we’ve read about in the catechism books.
Thank goodness for teachers? I prefer to thank goodness for our students, our guides. Blest are we when we are shown the way to imitate Christ.
Our students take us by the hand, and lead us. They are the people who arrive late, with stomach growling, and we give them a granola bar to hold them together til lunch. They are the people who have no winter coat, and we buy them one at Wal-Mart. They are the runny-nosed, wiggling-toothed bunch who ask us for a Kleenex, or a piece of tape to repair their shabby folder, and make us holy.
Every morning, the big yellow buses pull up in front of school. The children hop off. They bring us their homework, their notes from home, and their needs.
It’s a lovely and important gift, to have the chance to serve a group of children. In the course of a school day, the moments come fast and swift.
Let’s hope we never miss the opportunity.