A WORD OF THANKS TO PUBLIC EDUCATORS
In John’s Gospel, it’s interesting that the first title Mary gives the risen Christ, upon recognizing him on Easter morning, is that of “Teacher.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”) (John 20.16).
To be honest, other titles might seem more exalted.
How about “Lord,” or “Son of God,” or “President and CEO of all Creation”™?
No. She calls him “Teacher.”
I’ve been pondering the value of that title recently as my daughter Lucy has been home from school due to the walkout over Oklahoma public education funding.
Lucy adores the teachers she has had so far (Mrs. Daniels for kindergarten, and Mrs. Hymel for first grade, along with others).
Like me at that age, she was so catatonically shy that she hardly spoke or made eye-contact for the first months of the semester.
But despite the herculean task of wrangling over twenty tiny-but-tornadic students, her public educators have taken a personal interest in her; they have loved her; and they have helped her to grow in confidence rather than just in “standardized test scores.”
So when Lucy mentions “Mrs. Daniels” and “Mrs. Hymel” her voice betrays a kind reverential awe that’s usually reserved (in our culture at least) for celebrities and star athletes.
(Though she doesn’t know that word, that I made up.)
A SACRED CALLING
Perhaps that’s one reason why Jesus was called teacher–and not just as “King of kings” or “Great Physician.”
Because teachers have enormous power.
Just before writing this, I stumbled upon a post by New York Times Best-selling Author, Jon Acuff.
I became a writer because in the third grade my teacher, Mrs. Harris, laminated some of my poetry and told me I was a good writer.
Teachers, the challenging thing about education is that you often don’t get to see the results. They don’t happen instantly but years and years later. Just know that you’re not teaching kids, you’re launching adults. And I for one am very grateful.
How many of us could tell similar stories? (without the NYT bestseller part…)
In the years to come, I hope we (in my home state especially) will come to see the honored nature of this title—and then put our money where our mouths are.
“Second Worst in the nation” is not something to be proud of when it comes to teacher pay and education funding.
In light of that, I’m grateful for the recent move to finally (though begrudgingly) bump funding in a positive direction—even though there remains much more to do.
And like many, I’ve come to see my own complicity within the crisis.
To be blunt, I’ve been part of the problem. Because like lots of folks, I haven’t paid much attention to the small, local races that actually have a major impact on our state. And I intend to change that.
So to Mrs. Daniels and Hymel—thank-you, and I’m sorry.
May you and thousands like you know how special it is to share a title borne by Christ: Rabboni.
Or maybe: “Rabbonista.”™