It's quiet here.
Just as it takes some adjustment when the house fills for the summer, so it takes time for the dogs and me to settle into the silence once Beve starts leaving the house at 6 AM in the middle of August. There's a myth that teachers get summers off. But I'm here to crack open that myth. Beve worked until the last day of June, a couple of days in the middle of July (and often at home in-between, of course), and has been back in the office every day this week. Going full tilt. Sure, he's a counselor. Gets paid for it, don't you know? But I stopped by the high school yesterday and the faculty parking lot was full. Completely full. And ran into a whole lot of teachers wearing shorts and flip-flops in the hallways, carrying boxes, papers, notebooks, etc. They've been to conferences, meetings, classes all summer long. My younger brother, for one, who has five different classes to teach next year, spent about half his summer in classrooms, learning to be a better teacher. And still he's worried that he won't be good enough.
Beve's worried too. There's just so much to do, and so much counts on what these men and women do for these young people--from 5 to 20-whatever. I listen to him, listened to my friends last weekend at the lake who are also teachers, to my sister who works at the university level and am awed by what they carry. It's a load, a very heavy load. I know a whole lot of people who have home-schooled for a variety of reasons that make sense for them. Theirs is the same load, only more personal.
I realize a lot has been written in this country about the state of our educational system. But let's not throw all educators under the bus. The ones I know--and they are legion--are capable, compassionate, and give like they're called to it. Couldn't possibly get paid enough. I suppose unless you're a professional athlete or movie star, that's true about most professions, but it's always true for teachers. It makes me wonder what would happen if those of us who are NOT teachers began to take seriously what it costs to BE a teacher. And to honor them accordingly...what it costs and what's at stake.
So this is my soap box this morning because I live with an educator who cares so much and worries that he's getting too old to be effective as a counselor, but wants his door to always be open to whoever needs to come in, still wants walk around inside the shoes of kids with them, wants to be their advocate when no one else is. It's harder every year because he's older and there are more constraints on what is expected and allowed, but it's what his heart cries.
I've asked this other years around now, but I'm asking again. As this new school year begins, will you join me in praying for our educators? Kindergarten through college? Home, private, alternative and public? Will you join me in standing in the gap for those who stand on the front lines with our young? Those who hold minds and hearts and spirits in their grasps? They have burdens too heavy to bear alone. We can be their burden bearers today.