There’s a sign on our LIFE Education Language School faculty lounge door (yes, the dream came true – we actually have one – a lounge, not the door, but it does have a door, the lounge – sorry, as a language teacher, I just couldn’t resist that sentence!)
But what does it say?? Let’s take a closer look.
Aha! ‘We turn coffee into education’.
I’m sure there’ll be a resounding ‘Yes!’ from most teachers I know. If not coffee, then certainly it’s that cup of chai that picks you up when you’re flagging between classes. What would we do without our faithful Kheem, who brings in those hot cups with his inimitable smile? Kheem, the person wielding the most power in our institute. When he’s not around, deprived of their cups that cheer, teachers are reduced to abject wrecks, feebly picking their way through the afternoon.
It’s 1:20 am and I’ve just finished helping Hannah pack for her first school camp. She’s going to be up in a couple of hours to get ready and reach school by 6 am. At 11 pm I had been starting to feel as if my brain was incapable of thought. A long day meeting parents of children studying in Bridges Academy, our ‘sister’ institute for Afghan kids, catching up with our teachers, fairly unsuccessfully trying to deal with a rude and unreasonable client, coming home and spending some time with Dad who doesn’t want to wear his hearing aid, but who wants to talk, getting his evening meal of blended fruit and curd together, making sure he’s taken his tonic and other medicines, catching up on correspondence while waiting for Lydia and Hannah to come back home after shopping for the camp, and all the while knowing that the packing for camp still remained, along with undone lesson prep for tomorrow. Lydia, already exhausted with the multiple trips to buy things for the camp, is catching some sleep before she wakes up at, probably, 4 am to get things ready to go. And at close to midnight, I give in and have a cup of coffee. And the brain gets going. And things get done. And Hannah is finally in bed.
It really seems sometimes, that what fuels teachers is the caffeine through the oftentimes very tiring day. But then I thought about it, and decided that what I would like to read in that cup on the sign is ‘We turn grace into learning’. There is story upon story that we can all share of the grace of our loving God that carries us through the day, and sometimes the night. In the midst of the irritations and chafing situations, Jesus’ words come back again, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
I sit here now, writing this, conscious of God’s presence and grace, the sweet comfort that He more than understands; that He shares the nights of labour as well as the days of toil, and this is worth it, very worth it, immeasurably worth it to have the God of the Universe alongside us in labour, sharing the sweat, the tears, the joys and the pains, as He works in us and through us to do His will. It was worth it to have the cup of coffee that ruined my night’s sleep, but that woke me up enough to spend this very early morning with the God who has saved me, forgiven my sins and gives me more than enough grace to live each day. I pray asking Him to take the burden of tiredness and the dread of an unprepped class away from me, and to change me through this.
Teachers all, may we always experience this amazing grace of God in our work and in our lives, as we give each day into His hands.