Malloy turned off her alarm. It was 5:30 a.m. and she had much to do in a short amount of time. After her daily devotion, she dressed and prepared breakfast for her children. At that moment a flood of thoughts crowded her mind. “Do I have enough copies of that worksheet for every student? What time am I supposed to take my students to the auditorium this morning? When will I find time to call that parent back?”
Back to the task at hand, Malloy gathered her thoughts and awoke her own children to prepare them for school. Her chatty little girl began asking questions one after another as soon as her eyes opened. Her son, who was older, just grunted and lagged behind as the clock ticked.
Before she knew it, time had passed. Walking briskly through the house, Malloy rattled off things she needed to take to the car: “…lunch, laptop, revised lesson plans, textbook, school bag, purse…” Is that it? Mallory had hoped so as she would now just have enough time to drop her daughter off at daycare, her son off at school and get to her own school before the clock in time of 7:45 a.m.
Driving down the freeway, Malloy managed to answer her daughter’s continued barrage of questions, pull information from her son about the due date of his Science Fair Project, while at the same time entertaining more thoughts of the lesson she would teach to her students today. She would be introducing a new skill and wanted to make sure that all of her students grasped the concept.
After hugs and kisses to her children, a promise to take them out for pizza tonight, and a quick trip down the road, Malloy arrived at 7:44 a.m. Inside of her classroom, she had 30 minutes to prepare her room for her first period class. Closing her door and sitting her things down, Malloy started her routine. She sat at her desk and prayed silently for the success of the day. It was her honest intent that each child would learn something each day and that they would leave her classroom not having wasted a second of their time. Malloy valued the education of her students just as much as she did for her own children and held the same set of high expectations.
The day passed quickly as they always did. Malloy worked hard to be excellent at what she felt she was called to do. From the morning tardy bell, to lunch, to standing outside on duty as her students got on the bus, Malloy did not waver though tired as she was. Despite the obstacles, interruptions, and setbacks during the day, Malloy managed to get through much of her lesson and set the precedence for the following day.
Back in her classroom, Malloy sat in her chair, took a deep breath and reflected on her day. She had to admit that she became a bit frustrated as she worked to adapt to the unexpected changes in the school day.
- The announcements were late and interrupted her instruction, but witnessing the joy in the room when students heard their names called out for honor roll made it all worth it.
- While teaching, Malloy learned she was 10 copies short of a worksheet but used the opportunity for students to collaborate instead of work independently.
- The Drug Free Assembly ran longer than expected, but since the community surrounding the school has a known drug problem, it was necessary for the students to attend.
- Despite her efforts to incorporate additional activities, a few of Malloy’s students struggled with the lesson so she would have to go back to the drawing board as it was unacceptable for her to leave any student behind.
As long as she had been teaching, the plans she had worked so hard to create from week to week had always fizzled in some way, forcing her to regroup without so much as a blink. Perhaps that was one of the little known gifts of a teacher. Malloy had learned long ago that the ability to switch gears without missing a step is a characteristic that is as much a necessity as knowing the content which you teach.
All in all, this was one of her better days. As always, in spite of the challenges, Malloy’s heart was filled as she worked within her true passion of teaching. After attending a lesson planning meeting, reserving the computer lab for a future lesson, checking out a few books from the library, and conferencing with a parent, she returned to her room to prepare for the next day.
Malloy had just under 45 minutes before she needed to pick up her own children. As a result of her late hours at the school, Malloy decided to take them out for pizza to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with them. Together they would plan something special for the weekend. She never wanted her own children to feel neglected.
Soft music filled her classroom as she did the following to prepare for the next day:
- Placed materials on each desk which students would need the following day
- Erased her board and wrote the items that would guide the next day’s instruction
- Reviewed her lesson plans
- Brought out the manipulatives that she would use to help her struggling students grasp the concept
- Put together a task sheet for the teacher assistant that would be helping her the next day.
- Responded to a couple of emails from administration
- Signed up for a training session recommended by her department chair
- Posted student work samples in the hallway
Finally, after pilling all of her things in her teacher bag, Malloy stood at the door facing the 30 desks that filled her classroom. She would return again the next day to pour into the lives of her students. She knew it was not only her responsibility, but her sincere calling to help instill hope into their lives. Some students are hopeful for a successful future but not all students believe that they can accomplish anything and many feel that their options are few.
Malloy wiped away a tear that had fallen as she thought of the fragile lives that God had entrusted her with, if only for a school day. At that moment, regardless of the many daily challenges that she may face within the school building, she would not let frustration set in and destroy her passion for the profession. She resigned within herself that she would remain vigilant and continue the course, honoring her promise made long ago, to listen to her heart’s desire which had always been compelled to TEACH.