(December 8, 2003)
Prayer of a Substitute Teacher
I have been substitute teaching since May of this year. What a challenge! But also what
Having never taught before, I didn't limit myself on what ages I would teach (though I
thought certainly I would be best suited for high school students). I get calls for all
ages and all schools. Mostly, I serve at Middle Schools, because, as I found out, they can
be the most challenging, and many substitutes won't teach at Middle School. After all, at
that age they are just hormones with feet.
Much to my surprise, I found out that I most enjoy the elementary school children. But,
I also found I was very good with the challenging Middle Schoolers. I can keep discipline
in a classroom ... usually.
As I said, Middle School is tough to teach in, let alone substitute in. One day when I
was teaching at Bxxxxxx Middle School (no real name necessary to this story), I was in a
room adjacent to another substitute. Toward the end of the day, she came into my room with
tears streaming down her face and said, "I need a disciplinarian in there, and I need
one now, or I am going to kill a child." And then she broke down in more tears.
I hugged her and said we'll get someone in there, and it would be all right, and prayed
a thank you to the Lord that I was strong enough not to break down in tears at school.
As it turned out, that prayer was premature. A few months later, the week of
Thanksgiving, I was again back at Bxxxxxx Middle School, this time hired for a two-day job
for 7th grade Social Studies. It should have been simple, all I had to do was show a
The details aren't important, but toward fourth hour, after the disciplinarian had been
there once, and the vice principal, and then the disciplinarian again, I went into the
adjoining room with tears streaming down my own face and telling the teacher there,
"Someone needs to go into there right now, because I'm not going back in there."
And I broke down in tears.
I couldn't believe it! I let them get to me. And they got to me good.
I finished out the day, but told them I would not be returning tomorrow and arranged
for sub-central to send someone else in my place.
I figured I wouldn't be called back to that school again.
Again, my predictions were wrong. The first sub assignment I had after Thanksgiving was
back at Bxxxxxxx Middle, this time 6th grade CCC lab -- kids who are usually a discipline
I was tempted to turn down the assignment. But, well, I need the work, and also, I had
been praying to God to lead me where he wants me, and I would put my faith in Him and be
open to Him. I felt I couldn't turn down employment opportunity put before me.
But I was terrified to go back to that same school. If wasn't up to the job the last
time I was there, how could I be up to it this time? I was so scared. I prayed. And on the
drive there I prayed without ceasing. "Lord, please help me. I am so, so, so afraid.
Lead me, give me your wisdom, give me your strength. Lord, you have placed these young
children in my care, please let me be worthy. I put my trust in you, Lord, but, oh my dear
Savior, I am so desperately afraid --"
And two words jumped into my mind, loud and undeniable, "FEAR NOT!"
I almost drove the car off the side of the road!
I have never had an experience like that, a "moment closest" to God such as
on that drive.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
The day was a challenge. The kids tried to test me --- several had heard that I was the
one that broke down in tears and they tried to get to me. It took a lot of love and
patience and stubborness to get through the day.
But I was not afraid.
Thank you, Jesus!