January 22, 2019
Prayer: Lord be with our fellow teachers who have a difficult student this year and for the student.
Scripture: Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
Eccl. 11:4 NIV
I’m ashamed to admit that I mentally called him “Street”, this student of mine that could reduce a fellow student to tears with just a few words. Though he read haltingly and struggled over the simplest of class work assignments, he had an uncanny ability to zero in on the individual flaws of others. After highlighting the pimple on someone’s nose, the imperfections in a boy’s haircut, or the sneakers a student wore, he’d single them out and tease them without mercy, causing others to laugh.
Though he himself stuttered, few teased him because he stood a head taller than most of the other students and had a temper. “Street’s” record indicated that he had no fear of being sent to the principal’s office; in fact, prior to being assigned to my class, he had been suspended several times. No wonder his fifth grade teacher had encouraged him to sleep during class!
That year I considered “Street” as my assignment from God. I often called his name in prayer. Strangely enough, he was just my kind of student. I liked Street, and he knew it. Liking him did not mean I’d allow him to tease or belittle his classmates. Rather, it meant I would not let him get by with conduct that would distract him or others. It meant I expected him to work hard and not use his reading disability as an excuse for not turning in his homework since after school help was available to him.
As the school year progressed, his classmates and I were amazed at his progress. Even “Street” was surprised at his performance. His suspensions became a thing of the past. His grateful parents sent a note to me at the end of the year thanking me for working with their son. Occasionally, I still refer back to the note when I come across a child that is difficult to teach, touch, or love.
Do you have a troubled child in your class who comes to you with a reputation? One who appears unteachable and bound for trouble? Perhaps that student is your assignment. God, your Creator, knows that something in you (despite the grumbling and denials) will serve as an impetus for growth in someone else. How wonderful that He gives us the opportunity to grow as we represent Him in the workplace. For that, we are grateful.
Copyright Clara Ruffin. Email email@example.com