Saturday, August 18, 2007

A job title does not make a saint

At his site Brainwaves, Jim draws a fine picture of the time consuming aspects of being a special education teacher. As someone who hates paper work I sure made a mistake, but it was more stumbling into a job than a thought out life plan.

I could easily have an ego problem from the list of positive attributes that folk assume I have when I tell them I am a teacher of those with special needs. On more than one occasion I have been called saintly. My wife has a thing or two to say if she is in the room, as do I.

Thursday night was a rough examen of the day. Not acknowledging the anger of finding out that parents night is on the "wrong" date this fall, anxious to get away for a luncheon, overwhelmed by the largest class I have all week, and embarrassed by a phone call telling me one of my students had been using a photocopier in a building where special needs students shall not stray; all led to a less than perfect conversation. Fifteen minutes later I was sitting in the room the student had fled to and now I was listening. This time I was more mindful. I asked some right questions and then I heard the word trust in my head. I did not stop to rationalize that this student had no reason to trust me at that moment, but I went for it anyway. I asked him to trust that I did not want to see him so upset. I asked him to trust that my anger had subsided and that I would not bring the incident up again in the future. I told him that I trusted him to use the photocopier across the hall in the future. I asked him to trust me.

On Friday I saw him and called him over because this story was not over and I wanted him to make lavender fudge. Yes, one of the beginnings of this story was me handing out samples of lavender fudge made by my cooking club and his request to photocopy the recipe.

I said, "Stop by later because if you want to use that recipe you will need some dried lavender."

When he got back from his field trip, he did. Thursday night I was full of self-condemnation for being less than perfect, but still recognizing something had happened that was positive. Friday, I was just happy that the young man trusted me enough to get some lavender.

If being a saint means being perfect, then I have failed yet again and all those Catholic parents hoping for a Saint Wayne to name their children after, will have to look elsewhere. For me this is a reminder of the trust we can have in a loving God, even when things are not perfect in our world.


  1. What a great post, Wayne! In my neck of the ecclesiastical woods, there are those who equate "holy" with a condition believers achieve for themselves via a number of avenues. I have always held that the only thing "holy" about me is He Who abides within; and only if that Reality is somehow manifested is holy-"ness" known on this side of heaven. He may have taken up residence in us, but we didn't go anywhere. Life remains a stumble, and we grow as we humble ourself before both Him and others.....

  2. Jim- thanks. It was a hard one to write.

  3. I echo Jim's words - great post.


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