“And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
I did something today that I haven’t done in over a decade: I walked into a classroom and spent the whole day teaching sophomore English.
In light of the challenges I faced in the classroom a decade ago, I was understandably apprehensive about trying it again. But as a series of unlikely events unfolded — beginning with a strange intuition last September and continuing through all sorts of job changes, chance encounters, and offhand conversations — I started to catch on to the idea that the Father didn’t think I was quite finished with my teaching career, so I listened, obeyed, and stepped out onto a stormy sea with nothing but a few ideas about classroom management and a childlike certainty that God would not coax me out onto the water just to watch me drown.
That certainty was enough to get me to volunteer for a trip back into the classroom, but as we drove across the Oklahoma Panhandle yesterday on our way back from New Mexico, each passing mile brought me closer to a confrontation with the fears and uncertainties that had haunted me since I left the profession, and doubt started to creep into my thought. The restful sleep I’d looked forward to on our trip had eluded me as dreams — some of them nightmares — about teaching danced in my head every time I closed my eyes, and I began to second-guess myself.
Doubt has no place in a classroom. Kids are like dogs: They can smell fear, and it makes them very nervous when they sense weakness in someone who is supposed to be taking care of them, so I knew I had to get a handle on my concerns before class started this morning.
As I prayed for an idea that would carry me through the day, I remembered Mrs. Eddy’s words about praying “for that Mind to be in us that was also in Christ Jesus.”
Of course! I didn’t have to worry about what to say to my kids, or what to do if they acted up, or how to structure the class so they wouldn’t get bored or disorderly. I just had to remember that the Mind of Christ was right there with me, supplying a steady stream of ideas to carry me through the day.
The fear that had been following me around all weekend vanished, and an easy confidence took its place. I wasn’t perfect. There were things that could have gone better. But I kept my classes under control, had fun listening to the kids’ ideas about the short story we were reading, and ended the day feeling that I had finally become the teacher I’d intended to be 10 years ago.