When I first started teaching in the fall of 2007, I drove about 20 minutes to work. Every day I would play the same Nichole Nordeman song and pray. I was so young and scared. Really. Scared that I would royally screw up the impressionable twenty something eight year olds that looked at me every day. I was just 22. Scared that I had no idea where exactly my life was going to go. I moved back in with my parents after college and while I had a long time boyfriend, it didn't seem quite right, and I clung to the hope that I was going to change the world. Nothing else mattered if I could just make my mark on the world.
I quickly found that changing the world wasn't easy to do alone. I spent a lot of my waking hours at work. Even the weekends. And it really didn't matter how much time or how much of my money I put into the prep work of teaching, most of what mattered was with the words I used, the gas I used to haul children home (I was young and dumb), the snacks I kept in my desk drawer, and those unrelenting prayers. I had a desk thrown at me, I learned red high heels are just for Kelly Pickler and not for school teachers when I had to chase a kid clean across the playground, I tried to get kids who could barely read on a kindergarten level to pass an EOG, and I cried a whole lot.
I thought about those days recently. When I was moved down from fourth grade to first this year, I had the hardest start to the school year I've had since 2007. Not because the challenges were tougher, but simply because I had to start from scratch, and I felt like I wasn't doing my best job to leave the kind of legacy I wanted to. I downloaded the song onto my phone, and once again, I started listening to it like I did all of those years ago. This time a little voice in the back seat has started singing along and we pray together. We pray for the other teachers (her teachers too), we pray for the students (those excelling and those struggling to have their needs met), we pray that we both will be the light just where we are in kindergarten and first grade. And while my heart has been awfully stubborn about this move; I may have cried more the first week of school than I did my first year teaching, quickly I've realized what a difference just a little prayer can make.
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
Listen to the whole song here :)
We are just ten days into school, but I'm excited to grow some six year old babies this year! And if you had asked me about the school year nine days ago I probably would have burst into tears. It's not going to be perfect, but if I was perfect then I probably wouldn't be a school teacher. I am certain God has put me where I'm supposed to be and I'm going to do my hardest to leave my school babies with the best foundation possible and leave that kind of legacy.