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Where Does Your Teacher Live?

November 12, 2015

By age seven, I think most children have realized that their teacher doesn’t live at school.  It comes as a shock.  Do you know what is more shocking than learning your teacher goes home at night?  Learning that your teacher will be coming home to your house.

That is exactly the shock young Charlie received in September when I told him the news: Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, Charlie’s new second grade teacher, and Elisabeth’s former first grade teacher, would be moving in with us. Not moving into our basement, but moving right into the bedroom down the hall. Charlie took the news in stride. He had just one question, “Will Mr. Watkins be  riding home from school in our van?”  When I told him he would not, Charlie became very flustered, “Then HOW will he get home?”

Another shock: teachers not only go home at night, they have their own cars, and drive them.

Well let me tell you it is handy to have your teacher right down the hall. If Charlie begins to panic because he is unsure about his homework, I just remind him he can ask his teacher who is pouring himself a cup of coffee just a few feet away. Handy!

The Watkins moved in rather suddenly, when they discovered mold in their apartment* and reported it to their landlord who very abruptly decided to terminate their lease rather than remediate the mold. We had only a week to convert the girls’s bedroom (a little suite really) to a mini-apartment of sorts for the Watkins, where they will live until next summer when they look forward to moving into a condo they are in the process of purchasing.

When I say we converted the room, I mean “we” in the loosest sense of the word. It was actually a rather large posse of Hope Academy teachers who moved all the girls belongings into Charlie’s room, then made the cutest tiny bedrooms for Elisabeth and Miss P each in their own walk-in closet, set Annie and Charlie up in bunk-beds, re-organized all the clothes, toys, furniture, books. Then, they stripped the carpet from the old room, painted the room, and meanwhile, babysat all four children for a whole weekend so I could preside over the process from a comfortable chair.

This is why I can never leave Hope Academy. Who would care for me in my hour of need? If I ever fall gravely ill, there is no doubt in my mind these people will have my back. I have seen it with my own eyes, as they have risen up to support Mr. Watkins with food, and prayers, and donated vacation time, as he supports Mrs. Watkins who is battling a terrible disease (with grace and courage).

Dan and I were reminiscing the other night about the many unusual people who have lived with us and started making a list of names which totaled exactly thirty. It has been so valuable for our children to grow up with such a diverse group of people to love them. But I think this may be the greatest privilege of all: to do life with someone who is living joyfully, without fear, in spite of great suffering and uncertainty. Those Watkins, they laugh in the face of danger.* And they live and believe, right in front of our children, that we already know the end of the story. “If the Resurrection is true…then everything sad is going to come untrue!” -quote from Tim Keller, who was quoting Lewis, who was quoting Tolkien.  What more could I want for my children?

*One symptom of her disease is respiratory distress which was exacerbated by mold in the old apartment.  Although Mrs. Watkins has confessed to me in confidence that shortness of breath may be due not to her lung disease but to the handsomeness of Mr. Watkins!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan Gloier permalink
    November 12, 2015 11:51 pm

    Very frustrating that landlord was willing to break lease rather than fix the toxic mold problem….by the way, most states including MN have strict laws against any living conditions that expose renters to mold. I suggest that the Hope Academy teachers and supporters go to local radio and TV stations and make this a local issue to get the attention of local politicians. In fact, I would do a big social media blitze and make the landlord’s life very uncomfortable. This is not the time to be nice. Isn’t your father a lawyer…..maybe he could help. In the meantime, the Watkins are safe, warm, comfortable and in cleaner air. Bless you. Sue G

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