I Am a TEACHER
Dreams…what are they really? Sometimes they are stories with an entire plot and setting, sometimes they are scary, sometimes they are random thoughts, sometimes they express frustrations/joys/ emotions, and sometimes they are warnings, directions, or they can be a life changing moment.
For me, dreams have always been a direction of communication between Heavenly Father and myself. I know that I have received true direction through my dreams. When this happens I call them visions. Now that doesn’t mean that I have nightly “visions” of my life, family, and the future, but it does mean that when those “visions” occur, I stop, ponder, and write them down. This is one of those times.
A few nights following Christmas I had a dream about Spectrum Academy. The setting was an everyday school day: being a Special Educator to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. During my dream I was asked to see the principal.
While in the office, I received direction about a “special assignment”. The Principal explained to me that I would have 15 students in my classroom that needed me to reach them. These students needed not only the academic basics, but they needed to be emotionally healed, supported, and loved. She said, “As a teacher you are in the position to influence the life of a child for good or ill. These 15 students have been given to you because no one else can reach them, help them, or cares for them. The task before you will be filled with risk: you will work hard, put in extra time, thoughts, and probably prayers for them. They will take and take from you physically, emotionally, and spiritually…you have to be prepared for that.” I remember asking her, “Why were they assigned to me?” She looked at me directly and with a firm and strong voice she said, “Because…You ARE a TEACHER.”
As the dream continued, I saw myself teaching, disciplining, trying to figure out ways to break down tasks so that the students could better understand the material and so forth. I remember being so exhausted, but feeling like I was accomplishing this task set before me. Throughout the dream the thought that continued to echo was, “You ARE a TEACHER”.
Teachers have the pleasure and that hardship of being on the “frontlines”. We work with a range of students: from students who are fully supported and loved to students who are neglected and unsupported. My job is to work with all the students and find what their academic, social, and emotional needs are and for the 7 hours a day that I am with them help them feel safe, loved, and educated. The work, dedication, and HOURS after school ends never really end for a teacher. My income ends, but the worth of a child’s needs never does. A keynote speaker once said, “as a Teacher, your influence is powerful—and you never know when it is going to stick. So, treat each day and each student as if they were gold, and see what your return will be.”
I will never be paid what I worth. I know that I am looked down on by society as being “just a teacher”. I know that I will be pitied for “wasting my talents” (I’ve actually been told that). I know that will never be able to reach everyone academically that comes into my classroom, but I know that I am in the business of changing lives for good or ill based on the choices they make: the choices to work hard and and love the students every day. For some students I might be the only positive Adult model they have in their life. I am in the business of service. I am hired by parents to teach their precious children. They trust me to do this. They are counting on me to deliver the service of teaching to their children. They are giving me that responsibility. It is the most powerful job in the world (next to parenting), and I am blessed with the opportunity of changing children’s lives. Now think about it. Can you name me the teacher that impacted your life? I bet you can name the teachers that impacted you for good and unfortunately for ill. I know I can.
Anyway, the dream, the vision about me teaching these 15 students hit me again with soberness and truth. I am what I am. I’ve known it since I was 6 but I have not fully EMBRACED it until 30 years later. I am a teacher. I am needed in the classroom. I am needed because of the children.
My resolve to do all that I can is real. I am resolved to be a better mother, wife, and friend, better member of my community, and TEACHER because of this vision. I am given vision from time to time to help me stay on target. The Sweet Lord is willing to stick with me through my stubbornness and through my challenging “learning Zone” moments and help me to see the direction that my talents were meant to go…It is a humbling place to be in. I pray that I follow the Spirit and direction so that I can best help others, impact other, and direct others as they cross my path along their path of life.