One afternoon, a group of camp workers in training for the summer program were taken to the front lawn and confronted with a challenge. Across the lawn were strewn large puzzle pieces. They were to find the pieces and put the puzzle together. Sounds easy, until you hear some of the rules that limited the typical skills used to accomplish this. These brave people were given two limitations: they must remain blindfolded the entire time, and they could only ask questions or respond to questions. These limitations were designed to develop a certain set of skills in these young people.
When we signed the contract for the 2019-2020 school year, the limitations we face now as teachers were nowhere in sight. Working with these limitations has caused us to create a new style of education. Just as those summer camp youths had to call upon different skills, so we, our students, and parents are needing to use new skills.
I have noticed students’ growth in writing. One of my students declared they never worked so hard in school. They never had to write so much. The limitation that has been put on verbal communication has increased the need of writing for both me and my students. The increased writing is a challenge, but I can’t wait to see the payoff next year.
All of us are working hard, learning new skills, and serving the best we can. We teachers are amazed with some of the drawings, math skills, and writing pieces dropped off at our door. We brainstorm ways we can take some of the skills we see being developed at home now into the classroom next year. Growth is happening in areas we may not have expected.
But that doesn’t change the fact we miss our students. Our ability to love them well feels feeble. The depth of relationship we can have and amount of teaching we can do is limited.
I hold to the hope that one day I will celebrate with my crew in a cafeteria filled with chatter, laughter, and a spill or two if that must come with the package.
Our Master Teacher knows our feeling of limitations. He knows our longing to give more, but that circumstances prohibit it.
His ability to lavishly love us is limited while we are on earth. He knows His intangible presence in our life leaves us grasping for more, and He has to say, “Not yet, child.” I bet there are many times he longs to burst a huge piñata of blessings on us, yet He holds back and just gives us one chocolate.
If I long for that day to be with my students, how much more must Jesus be anticipating a celebration with us. The joy at that celebration will be immense!
CONTRIBUTOR: Darlene Diem