Search for the LORD and His strength; continually seek His face. Psalm 105:4
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me Your peace.
So yesterday I popped back into my room between library sort-of-research moments, for instance really a bunch of refugee girls jumped on the table and bumped like Everette when I turned my back for just an instant. And another kid whipped books at a kid’s head because he crumpled his paper. And every class period students demonstrated that the book detector would beep and flash bright lights if they walked through it with an unchecked out book. But some of the teams were actually researching how to start an after-school soccer league and how to order frogs to dissect to make science class exciting and how to apply for grants for school technology. Really.
The first thing I noticed was that someone(s) had shoved all of the books and papers and tape dispenser and sharpened pencils and little box of paper clips off of my desk. As I knelt down to pick up the ream of project packets one of the kiddos gasped, “Miss!”
My board was covered. In big capital letters in the middle it read BITCH. And all around the edges were variations on the theme: Fuck you Mrs. Voelkel. At least it was spelled correctly. And some equally vivid illustrations.
So as I erased it all before the next class shoveled in, they were already lining up outside, I wondered whose toes I had stepped on that day and smooshed, unaware. And I know it’s not about me, but I want to be a healer and not a smoosher.
We met with a mother the day before yesterday during planning period. Her son is incorrigible. I just pretty much send him straight to the little desk with side panels as soon as he walks in the door just to keep him from tormenting the other kids.
And his momma tries really hard. His momma with five piercings through her lip and huge bright pink plastic flowers in her hair and a bunch of hearts tattooed up her neck. And she’s missing most of her teeth and it looks like someone bonked her pretty hard on her cheek.
The backside of the story. And last year was pretty rough. Three people in their family died in one week. And she pretty much fell apart. She said. And things aren’t so good with the kid’s father.
And can I say the math teacher with a slight but ever-so-gentle Southern lilt was the kindest thing ever. She has been calling her all the time and sending extra homework sheets. And the guy working on his PhD in Lit who skateboards with the kids during break when he isn’t sitting under the mesquite tree playing his guitar put together a tidy little to do list for her like one hour of homework from seven to eight and don’t let him go in his room and shut the door to do it. And she doesn’t write so good, so I wrote it down for her. And the rather gruff social studies teacher told her the magic trick was to follow her son around through all of his classes. She did that once with her eighth grade daughter and never had any problems after that. And it turns out last year that he missed a lot of school when his momma wasn’t doing so good so the school he went to failed him. They flunked him. Which really wasn’t what he needed. And he kinda curled up and died inside.
So yesterday momma was in my classroom, marveling at the vibrating madness. And her kid was docile and sort of attentive and he asked for make-up work. And when I hugged her good-bye she wept and clung to me a little and said thank you a lot.
And Ms. Morales the principal met with one of my research teams yesterday to be interviewed how we can get rid of bad language on campus. And they were proud as little peacocks with their hall passes and their Rice Krispy treats that she gave them afterwards. And she and Mike Birrer are meeting with two more teams next Wednesday at 9:00 AM to plan a campus cleanup. And Rebecca from Tucson Clean and Beautiful is meeting with an entire class in two weeks.
And yesterday my little lunch bunch who come in and straighten up chairs and tidy up my drawers every single day–I have the tidiest drawers ever–and sharpen pencils told me some stuff like, "Miss, do you know that my family ruled the Sudan for thirteen generations?" And it is a little cluttered because some kids came in yesterday to play Battleship and one of the groups was in the back, really intent about figuring out how to build more little solar-powered cars like the one I found crushed in some drawer and The Solar Store guy gave them a bunch of little panels Thursday when they went in to do their expert interview because he was so excited that they were so excited.
And yesterday I missed the musical presentation in the auditorium that all of the Language Learners performed, but Nicole took her Leadership class and stood on the chair and cheered. Because they were so very proud and so very happy. And she introduced her Language Arts classes to the wonders of Salad Bowl Charades yesterday, instead of a vocabulary quiz and her little bad boys loved it and won and got their first A on a quiz and they were so very proud and so very happy.
And life is hard every day just down the street.
And our merciful God is at work. He who has taken away the sins of the world.