A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear a sermon on community. It wasn’t one of those amazing sermons that leaves you with tear-stained cheeks and feeling like you are going to go out and take on the world. It was a thoughtful sermon, one that you simply listen to but whose meaning becomes more powerful over time.
The pastor started the sermon with a video clip of a soccer game. Well… actually, a “football” game. It was a Liverpool FC soccer game. The fans were singing “You’ll never walk alone”, a song from the 1945 musical Carousel and made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963. It’s a song all about walking on through bad times, and as you walk, “you will never walk alone.” The fans didn’t sing it with the ridiculousness that we sing “Sweet Caroline” to entertain ourselves at sporting events, but rather as a love song. They sang it as a reminder that they, the Liverpool FC community, love their team. They were singing it to tell the team that, through good and bad, the team will never walk alone, and that they stood by them, no matter what.
The next video was of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Most of us can remember where we were when it exploded 73 seconds into its flight on January 28th, 1986. It was a moment of total shock. There was so much hope for all the men and women going into space, but especially for Christie McAuliffe. She was a teacher who had been selected to go into space, endured the training, and was going to teach school children from space. I was watching that morning on a TV in my classroom. Many people had stopped on the side of the road to watch that day. They were all together when it blasted off. They were all together when, in horror, they watched it explode. They were all together when they each got back into their cars, turned on their headlights, and, in silence, drove away as a sign of respect in a moment of unspeakable pain. It was similar to something we see when a funeral passes us on the road. Not one of them had spoken to the other, yet they all acted as a community together, knowing they had witnessed something horrible and wanting to share in the pain.
As a science teacher, I often teach about communities in the form of ecosystems and habitats. I had the opportunity recently to travel to Jekyll Island, Georgia with our fifth grade students. We learned about all the ecosystems and habitats on a barrier island and how they support each other and interact. We became aware of how our community affects other communities, how every little action we take can have a positive or negative effect on these various communities. As I listened and interacted with these ecosystems, I thought about how this was directly related to a classroom environment and a school. This thought suddenly came to mind, “My students are my community. My classroom is my community. My school is my community.”
As a teacher, I spend hours with students every day. I not only teach them, but I share in their joys and sorrows. I hear about their weekends and their vacations and become close to them and their families. We, as teachers, share a feeling of fellowship with our parents and often laugh, cry, or share joys together. We meet three times a week to sing, pray, and converse about our lives inside and outside the classroom. We play sports together, sing together, learn together, play together, create together and lift each other up. We are a wonderful community of curious thinkers and ambitious, spiritually-minded givers.
I have faced some struggles over the last four years. This BES community has been here for me every step of the way. I can’t imagine my life without this community. I look forward to greeting my kids every morning. I love talking and laughing with parents and my fellow teachers. I love the way we talk and educate our children about being caring, loving, and faithful parts of a community. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Mrs. Ansley Doughty
IDEAStudio Director/BES Science Teacher