It’s not often that you get a specific nudge from God to do something. It has happened only a few times in my life. Every time it’s unexpected and special.
The question that I was asking was precisely related to this word “Special.” Should I continue working as a special education teacher or should I move to a more generic, more straightforward education role? I was finishing my second year of working as a Learning Support Teacher, a role in my school district which encompasses supporting children who experience everything from mild learning disabilities to significant mental and physical developmental disabilities. It’s a challenging role, particularly for new teachers like myself.
The nudge came through a Sunday morning sermon on Mark 9:42, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea”(ESV). The pastor connected this verse to Jesus’s unmistakable love for children and for those considered “the least of these.” The take-away was that Christians should be at the forefront of efforts to advocate for the vulnerable and to support those who require it. I realized the blessing that it is to be paid to do the very thing that Jesus calls all of us to do! With this perspective, working as a learning support teacher is no longer just a job; it as a vocation. I view the work that I get to do from day to day as a calling. It is still difficult at times but now I know why I am there.
I am now in my fifth year as a Learning Support Teacher, and my love for this vocation continues to grow. I love it because the more I do this job – and the more I get to know Christ – the more I see how much we are all like little children. Kids are often scared and anxious about the unknown world around them. These feelings are not reserved for children! Nope, as a grown man and a teacher, I feel them too. There are times when I, too, do not feel capable or effective. But I am encouraged as I learn how much God is like a skilled Learning Support Teacher. He knows where I am at, he sees the path ahead of me, and he gently guides me along, reassuring me that he is there to help. How wonderful it is to know that I’m in such capable hands:
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven,” (Psalm 107:28-30 ESV).
I am confident that God has called me to what many people refer to as “special” education. Really, it is just education for all. We who are in this field can draw inspiration from the greatest teacher: our Creator, Sustainer, and Saviour – Jesus Christ.
Paul Kane lives in Vancouver, B.C. where he works as a Learning Support teacher. While some may not believe it, he does in fact have a life outside of teaching: He plays the piano, is learning to garden, and is a big fan of Henri Nouwen, Fred Rogers, and Keith Green.