Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Class Nobody Wanted

"My dear sisters,
do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities,
but pray for abilities equal to your tasks.
Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle,
but you will be the miracle."
Thomas S. Monson

It has been quite an experience as I have tackled the task of being a "real" teacher.  A real teacher for the class nobody wanted.  I talked about my little 4th and 5th graders last month.  It was my first encounter with them and on that day as I evaluated the situation, I said a silent prayer, "Heavenly Father, if there is anything I can do here, then  PLEASE let me do it."  I had such a desire to help those kids. I wanted to be there teacher.

A week later I was back again for two days, but this time the principal met with me and asked me to take the class on a week to week basis. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I knew I had to do something to help and I knew I could at least be there on a consistent basis.  I had such a confirmation that taking this on was the right thing to do.  I needed to remember that feeling when things got hard.  It wasn't my usual subbing situation.  I'm usually a one day production and then I'm out.  But now to fulfill my responsibilities, I was coming in an hour early and leaving two hours late trying to keep up with all that I had to do.

Organizing the room was a necessity, so that was first on the agenda.  My class cleanup helped make things better, but it certainly wasn't the ideal setup.  I would have liked to have done more, but my hands were somewhat tied as a sub.  In many ways I was handicapped like my students.  I couldn't do everything I wanted.  I struggled  everyday putting together a program on a wing and a prayer. Thankfully I did have help from the school psychologist and my dear mentor teacher.  I also had four para-eductors in the classroom that I couldn't have done without.  We were a team.  I was so grateful for everyone's assistance.

I held parent-teacher conferences that first week.  It helped build confidence in the hearts of concerned parents.  The following week I participated in an IEP (Individual Education Program).  Happily it helped bring one student back into our classroom that had left because of not having a consistent teacher.  I also got scratched, bit, hit, and spit on.  That was all part of the learning curve.  There were also the comforting moments when I knew I was an influence in the life of a child.

I could have definitely been overwhelmed and let it cripple my ability to function, but one thing came to my mind that pushed me forward.  It's something I have recognized about myself over the years.  Time and time again throughout my life I have been put in situations - situations that need fixing.  I'm talking desperate situations where something is ready to fall apart.  For some reason I have been put in these positions and God helps me see what I need to do.  I know I can make a bad situation better. I use to think when I was younger, "Why do I have to do this?!"  Now, knowing full well that God will help me, I jump in and do my part.  Heavenly Father guides me and I can make decisions to put things back in order, back on track.  I've said at times, "I'm better than nothing."  But in these situations I'm definitely what the doctor ordered.  I can patch a situation up, put a band aid on it so to speak and start the healing process and begin the repair.  It seems like I'm there just for that and then someone else steps in and takes over.  My job is done and the once bad circumstance is turned around and on the mend.  The crisis is over and someone else takes over where I left off and begins to build.  It's been my lot to deal with such things.  I'm accepting of it now, but I use to be somewhat grudging of giving up my post.  I'd think, "Why can't I carry on and build on this better situation now?!"  Instead I'm off to the next disaster, like SUPER MARTHA, there to intervene momentarily and then I'm off again to where I'm needed.  I'm glad to say I'm happy to be of service and I'll serve where and while I can.

Well, I had the class nearly three weeks.  I was emotional in my departure, but I knew my lot from the beginning.  I was to try and stabilize and prepare the class for a permanent teacher.

"Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is."

I might have been the teacher, but I learned so much from the children and the other adults who helped me.

"I believe that every human soul
is teaching something to someone
nearly every minute here in mortality."

My one great advantage through it all is that I love these children, every single one of them.  My heart aches for them.  I wish they knew how much God loves them.  How special they are to Him.  It was a rough start having their teacher resign and then endure weeks of different substitutes. Again, it was the class nobody wanted.  School should be better for them.  School can be a happy place.  It would have been nice to have had more time, but we patched things up and moved forward and now they have a permanent teacher. (I HOPE!) I'm so grateful I had this opportunity. The Spirit whispered, "You'll be an influence."  And with God's help I was.

"When love and skill work together,
expect a masterpiece."


  1. There is no better title for you that SUPER MARTHA! I really appreciate your wisdom and strenth and how you can be so open and honest about yourself in these stressful and challenging circumstances. This is why you are a real super hero!

  2. What a blessing for them to feel your love for them!!! I wonder what Super Martha will be called to fix next? keep serving and smiling, and most of all loving!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing that Martha! I hope the new teacher stays with those kids. Consistency is so important. It is really good that they had someone who knows" who they really are" to be with them during that time. How sad if they would have had to have a different teacher every few days!