The metaphor of darkness and light has always been a powerful one for me. The whole idea that darkness seems all encompassing. Like it is suffocating. Like you can’t escape it or that it’s weighing heavy. But then, with even the tiniest spark or flame, darkness runs. It clears the way. It doesn’t take a lot, it doesn’t take huge effort.
I think about that and tie it in with our jobs as teachers. There can be a lot of darkness in our profession. Looming deadlines, overwhelming work loads and expectations, upset parents, disobedient kids, difficult co-workers, and so much more. And sometimes that darkness feels overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like it’s suffocating us.
But in those moments when darkness surrounds us, we have to choose to be the light. We have to choose to strike the match or be the spark that sends darkness away. We have to find that hope we can cling to, those people who will surround us with their own flames. Darkness will overtake us if we let it…..or we can choose to be the light, not only for ourselves but for someone else as well.
One important way I see us being the light is by what we share online. A family member came up to me a few weeks ago to vent about “all you people in education”. She told me that “I can’t stand when I see a teacher complaining about something on Facebook. They choose that career, they work with KIDS for goodness sake. If I were to complain about something with my job, my boss would call me and write me up or fire me, but I see it from teachers all the time.”
That really hit me. Even this week I saw teachers from all over the country who were complaining about things from their job on Facebook. “The kids were crazy today”….”I felt so disrespected at work”……”I hate all this paperwork I have to do as a teacher, why can’t I just teach??”…..and you know what? Those are REAL and VALID complaints! They are! But think of the message we’re sending to the world at large when we get on social media and complain about a job where we impact lives. What kind of message are we sending? How would you feel, as a parent, if you saw your child’s caretakers complaining about all they have to do to take care of your child?