This post will probably make some people think that I must have been an awful teacher. All I can say is that I made some very unwise decisions as a new teacher. Luckily, nothing too horrible happened. To put this story in perspective you must know that I was wonderfully blessed with a gigantic music room (to give you an idea...about the size of four large classrooms put together with no walls in between). It is half of an addition across the street from the main high school and is one of the biggest music rooms I've seen, especially for a 1A high school in Oklahoma. We owe the spacious music room accommodations to efforts of Ralph Pantalone who, as the Mooreland band directer, built and sustained a premier music program for more than 30 years beginning in 1953. During his time at Mooreland, the band qualified for state competition 30 out of 31 years, and won the Enid, Oklahoma Tri-State Music Festival Sweepstakes Trophy 15 times!
During my high school choir classes, the end of the class time was usually reserved for work on solo's and ensembles. Therefore, while working with small groups of students the rest of the class were free to work on homework, visit quietly, etc... As I already mentioned our music room is gigantic. On the day in question, the band chairs were all stacked up and put away so there was much more room than normal. Several of the boys on the high school football team were in my choir class and asked if they could throw the football around outside. I said no. Then they asked if they could throw the football around in the open space on the band side of the room. I said sure, just be careful. Yeah...
I should mention that there was a large full-length mirror on the band side of the room, to help students get their uniforms on correctly. I'm sure you can already guess what transpired. At some point the innocent game of catch morphed closer into a tag football game, and all of the sudden the football boys had the whole room's attention when we all heard a loud shattering noise followed by "oohs, ahhs, and oh man!" Apparently, our quarterback ran headlong into the mirror while evading an opponent. By the grace of God,
only the mirror was broken, and not the quarterback! After making sure the boys were okay, I had them clean everything up and made a mental note: no more ball throwing in the music room. We didn't bring this event to the attention of my superiors, although I'm sure the whole student body knew about it by the end of the day. Since I officially don't work there anymore, I suppose it's safe to put this out here now!
So what's the moral of this story? Maybe just that the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and protection of God can cover even the most stupid decisions. A student or students could have been seriously injured in my care because of a lame decision that I made. That's quite a sobering thought. I was overwhelmed my first few years of teaching, like most new teachers. One thing that helped me prepare for the day was to pray, not only for me to be a good teacher, but for my students. I prayed for them to learn how to make music, to have fun doing it, and to be safe and know that God loves them. I think the reason why a lot of my inexperienced decisions ended up not having worse consequences is because of those prayers - not because I'm so awesome and I prayed, but because God is so awesome and he always answers sincere prayers.
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask
anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears
us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have
asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15