we started our annual kumon awards ceremony with this song.
we have, as at any kumon center, our share of students who hate it, students who struggle, students who won’t do what we tell them regardless of what we do or say. and sometimes i think i’ll just try to survive, just keep my head down, just grade, speak when spoken to, and generally stay out of everyone’s way.
our center’s director, my boss, played that video, then gave a speech. these kids, these broken, hurting, cheerful, bright-eyed, kids, can change the world.
“i bet you don’t think about that when you’re doing your worksheets,” she said with a smile.
i bet i don’t think about that either, when i’m grading those same worksheets.
instead i think about how we haven’t had good pens to grade with for months, how i can’t stand when parents grade their kids’ work for us (because they do it wrong, and i have to do it over, and at least half the time i have to find a differently colored pen), and how if i have to mark one more improperly capitalized letter on work turned in by students who have known about capitalization for years, i might lose my mind.
i don’t think about making the world turn, one red circle, one blue slash at a time.
sometimes, i don’t want to grade. sometimes, i don’t want to invent a new way to teach a kid how to spell drift
because how hard is that to spell? sometimes, i don’t want to be a teacher and i don’t want to work with kids.
sometimes, i’m jonah fleeing to tarshish.
a whale spat me up this weekend, spat me up and reminded me that every day, there is more to what i do than marking this wrong and marking that correct and testing another kid on oral spelling to make sure they know it this time.
there is serving as His hands and feet as He pens the stories of three hundred kids in west michigan. and that doesn’t include the ones who’ve stopped coming in the past year or the ones who will start to come as soon as this week – that’s just the ones i’ve seen in the past few days, just the ones i saw this weekend in a church for a recognition ceremony.
sometimes, we walk repetitive days and we walk them so far, we walk them straight to tarshish. and if you are jonah, doing that, can i be the whale? can this post be the swallowing, the three days, the spitting up on a beach just down the road from the work to which the Lord has called you?
because nineveh’s waiting, and today i’ll grade with a little more purpose, knowing however far off it may be, one day i’ll see all these paltry efforts come to fruition.