Miracles can happen anywhere and at anytime. Recognizing them can be a different story. I have been fortunate to teach in one of our many inner city high schools for the past 30 years. It is a choice that I made and never regretted. Last week I brought a small group of juniors and sophomores to Northeastern Illinois University for wall climbing. With the exception of one student, they had no idea what kind of experience they were in for.
The next morning in class, one of my students asked me if I believed in miracles. I said “Yes, I do.” He asked me if I thought that the figure of the Madonna under the bridge on Fullerton Avenue was a miracle. (This young man attended the field trip the day before.) I said that, for me, a miracle was something that was a life-changing experience. “Watching you and the other 24 students climb the wall yesterday, as afraid as you all were, was a miracle. The energy in the room, the way that every student encouraged and supported each other to climb was amazing and very moving.” We continued to tell the students from the class who had not attended what had happened. They all agreed that it was an experience of accomplishment over fear that was shared by all and that it was certainly life changing.
Every student climbed that wall. Most were not even considered to be athletic. One boy left with the nickname Spidey, the fact of which he is very proud to share. Many of these students speak English as their second language. Yet the bond that was created that day crossed culture, gender and age. We were all there for the same purpose and we made sure that everyone succeeded.
We can call this one of those “teacher moments” or we can call it a miracle. For me it was both…
This is why we become teachers.