The Words of My Mouth and the Meditations of My Heart

Mary Boerman Lagerway, an English and Bible Teacher at Illiana Christian High School in Lansing, Illinois, agreed to start us off with this examination of thoughts, actions, and spoken words that thread through her day—Eds.

What time is it? 7:13 already? I’m later than usual, but I don’t even know why. My usual morning routine seemed usual. . . . Don’t forget that container of soup for my colleague. Her mom is in the hospital and she hasn’t had much time to think of herself. And don’t leave the German potato salad for my daughter’s German class celebration on the counter. In the midst of remembering to bring all that other food with me to school, how ironic would it be if I forgot my own lunch?

Drive to school. Park in my reserved faculty spot. Make copies for the day. Head up to my room. Opening devotions.

“Anyone know why Aaron isn’t here? Any prayer requests this morning?”

Aaron’s grandpa had been in the ICU for weeks; we prayed for him often. And now the funeral is today. I really should send his family a card. Katie won’t bring up the concern that I know is always on her mind: her friend is thinking of getting an abortion. Katie feels helpless and I don’t feel like my listening has done much good either. I’m taking prayer requests; should I also be noticing that dress code violation in the far row by the windows? Sigh. I’ll try to remember to talk to her after class.

First period: English class. “Upon Plymouth Plantation.” Good stuff—but not easy.
“What does this show about how the Puritans viewed God? Do you agree with that perspective on life—even when times are hard?”
Was Kendall tardy? I should have marked attendance right away, but they say the first two minutes of class are the most important, and so I hate to spend them behind my desk. Caroline left her coffee cup here under her desk. She was in the room before anyone else, but had no one to talk to so she took out her phone and pretended to be looking at something very important. Is Peter the one with the severe peanut allergy? Or is it Simon? And is his allergy so bad that the fact that I put my peanut butter filled pretzels on that desk will cause a reaction? Here comes the next class: I know Jordan is happy today because he made the varsity team. But he’s also really worried about college applications. How is he supposed to fill them out when he has two hours of practice every afternoon and then homework at night? When is that recommendation I promised to write due?

Second period: Bible class. Today’s topic: Islam.

“What do you think: Should we offer to play a basketball game against the girls’ team from the Muslim school that’s in our area?”
Today’s topics to avoid: the student who got suspended, the contentious elections, any reference to the upcoming SAT. Or are those supposed to be my teaching moments? The guidance counselor just told me about Carrie’s difficult living situation: It’s not just that her parents are separated. It’s their ongoing custody disagreements and the fact that both of them are already involved in new relationships. And the economics of it all aren’t helping pay Carrie’s tuition. I’m sorry, Alex, your being on crutches can’t be easy. Our school’s long hallways must seem even longer to you. Why is Stephanie so tired today? Did she stay up too late watching Netflix or was she trying to counsel her anxious and depressed best friend? I’m pretty sure that four AP classes are what’s making Brad yawn; at least I give him credit for trying to stay with the discussion.

“Remember tomorrow’s assignment about the hajj and read about halal food by Friday. Both articles are posted on google classroom.”

At least I think they are. I sure hope they are. I think I did that yesterday. Better check before the next class starts. [This is only part of the article. Want to read more? Subscribe to the website by choosing "Register" from the menu above. It's free!]

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