It seems a lot of us are having an extremely tough year.
So before I say good night, and head to bed, I’d like to tell you about a teacher.
Sr. Kathleen was my first grade teacher. The year I had her was an extremely tough year, one of her friends had died (I learned this later on in life). Additionally she had been close with one of the three nuns who had been killed in El Savador in the 80’s (I remember this because she had the school do fund raising for El Savador the entire time I went there). I don’t know what teaching credentials Sr. Kathleen had, but I do know that she actually did attend clown college.
The year she had my class, must have been a tremendously difficult year for her. We were never known as a well-behaved bunch for the 9 years my class attended there. First grade was no different (we were the only class ever to be banned from field trips for 5 years).
She probably went home exhausted, and asking God why He had chosen to give her this class.
I don’t keep in close touch with the kids I went to grade school with. They were a mean bunch (I think brought on by the death of classmates). But when I do run into them, Sr. Kathleen comes up in conversation each and every time.
We remember the fish that had babies, the first time we saw a harpsichord, how when she made a classroom store to teach us about money we actually got to keep the stuff she sold us, the elves that brought us letters from Santa, her patience with us as we starting to get our reading legs, her descriptions of the “sneaky e” who made vowels scream their names, how she acted out the Gospel on stage in overalls, and how she loved unconditionally (oh, and how big of a Browns’ fan she was).
I think that there was a lot academically that we learned from Sr. Kathleen. So much so, that I use some of her teaching techniques in my classroom (because if I remember them over 20 years later, they must be good!). But, I think some of the life lessons — lessons on how to be a good citizen, how to forgive, how to let go of the small stuff, that took us all a lot longer. But she was the one who got the ball rolling for us. She was the one that made us start thinking outside of ourselves, and the needs of other people in our school community, local area, and other parts of the world.
So tomorrow, (religious/ spiritual or not) may you all channel Sr. Kathleen, and remember even if the life lessons you’re trying to get through to them don’t click today, your efforts are not wasted.