I should be sleeping, but I am too awake and have too much to say. Like many of you, I spent the day hot-mess home-schooling.
Maybe yours was Pinterest-worthy. Mine resembled more of a dumpster-fire.
And while I was “teaching” the little people in my home as if I never taught a day in my life, I was taking calls and problem solving and texting and answering parents’ questions and conference calling while hoping the chaos in my one-room schoolhouse wasn’t evident to those on the other end of the line.
I should be sleeping because last night I slept almost not at all. When I finally did fall asleep, I dreamed the same dream over and over. The topic you might ask? Work packets. Yes, indeed. Every dream was about student work packets. Funny, and a wee bit disturbing. We didn’t have enough. We didn’t know what to do with them. We didn’t know how to prepare them. We didn’t know how to distribute them. In every dream, I was solving problems pertaining to the work packets.
I should be sleeping, but I keep remembering how we talked just a few weeks ago that “perhaps we are created for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Long before we knew to add “COVID-19” to our list of expected educational topics to tackle. And now it is very clear to me why my heart would not let me save that thought for another day. I thought I was speaking to our current situations, not knowing that I was actually speaking to the unthinkable events yet to come.
I should be sleeping, but I can’t stop wondering how I can circumvent “social distancing” and peer into each of your faces to tell you that you were created for such a time as THIS too. The irony is all the challenges we discussed (exhaustion, data, over-commitment) do not really matter at all now. And I don’t think any of us are questioning the sacredness of our calling as we watch the world attempt to educate their children without us.
I should be sleeping, but instead, I want to ask you the same question that I previously asked ... Who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?
Perhaps you were created for such a time as this!
Not for Wally and Beaver Cleaver.
Not for Laura and Mary Ingalls.
Not for Opie Taylor.
Not for Anne Shirley.
Not for the children of your parents’ generation.
Not for the Freedom Writers or the Ron Clark Academy or the Breakfast Club or the children of Hope Valley or the Dead Poets Society.
At least not today.
You were born in the second half of the 20th century so that you would be alive for such a time as this.
Now it does not hurt my feelings if you believe that life is completely random and coincidental. I just happen to believe that life is purposeful and intentional. And I make no apologies for that. I have walked and continue to walk in some places that I hope you never travel And I fully believe that all of it has a purpose.
If you were created to teach the children in another place, time, or situation, then you would not have been born when and where you were.
Perhaps you were created to deal with the cell phones and benchmark testing and vapes and disrespect and TikTok and data analysis and profanity and Chromebooks and self-harm and Snapchat and high stakes testing and cyberbullying and foster children and IEPs and diagnoses and SacPacs … and the CORONAVIRUS ... And rooms full of faces for whom you are their best hope, yet you do not know exactly when you will see them again. Perhaps these are the children for whom you were created!
As we approach all of the unknowns of the final stretch of this school year with all of its Google Hangouts and Zoom and meal delivery and social distancing and canceled plans and refunded trips and virtual lessons and toilet paper stress and WORK PACKETS (bless), please tighten your grasp on your calling and remind yourself that you … were . created ... for ... this ... too.
For such a student as this.
For such a school as this.
For such a time as this.
Carissa Sapp, is a veteran educator at Lake Forest Middle School in Bradley County, Tennessee. Professional Educators of Tennessee is a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville.