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Excerpt: "There was a large coatroom in the back of the class, perfect for storing the boots and coats required in the winter days of my third year in school. It also served as a great place to hide if math was not of particular interest. Mrs. Callahan, realizing she was missing a difficult and resistant math student, kept teaching as she made her way to the door of the coatroom to take the hideaway, Arthur, by surprise. She pushed the door open, and as she entered to sweep aside the hanging coats in order to reveal the missing student, Arthur, who had tricked her, came out from his hiding place behind the door and swiftly closed it, locking a startled Mrs. Callahan on the other side. Craning our necks toward the back of the room, all 29 of us watched in stunned silence as our imprisoned red-faced teacher demanded, through the window of the coatroom door, that Arthur let her out. Frozen by the fear of what he had just done, Arthur stood rooted to the gray linoleum and began to wail at the top of his lungs. At just the right time, the custodian came by with his ring of keys and unlocked the door freeing Mrs. Callahan. What happened next reflected nothing other than pure grace. Mrs. Callahan scooped up the sobbing Arthur and held him close until he stopped crying, and we all listened as she told this very challenging child that she loved him still. No yelling, no threats, no sitting in a chair facing the corner. A prolonged silence followed this simple gift of grace that remains, to this day, one of my strongest memories of God's unmistakable presence and influence in a public elementary classroom."


Originally published by Wipf & Stock in Faithful Teaching: Values and Themes for Teaching, Learning, and Leading Purposeful and Principled Education, edited by Amy Dee and Gary Tiffin. Eugene, OR: 2012, pp. 112-128.

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