Second Grade Teachers


I’m standing behind my grandson, watching his iPad screen over his shoulder.  The picture that heads today’s devotion is not what I saw … but put the kiddos in a Zoom screen and it could have been.  I was watching his 2nd grade math class as he Zoomed in from our home.  His mom’s friend who covers for her when needed, could not help yesterday and today.  So, grandma and grandpa got him for two days.  My wife is doing all the heavy lifting on helping him through his school day. But I had the chance to watch a bit when I came home for lunch.

It was bonkers.  Kids so close to the screen that you could do micro-surgery on their freckles … others offering five minute monologues on why they had to go to the bathroom … one kid with his cat plastered in front of the camera and looking “really” happy about it … a couple of kids actually answering questions, but waving their hands so hard to be called on that I was afraid they would snap off at the wrist … one kid in conversation with a parent off-screen … and another telling a story about her Minecraft house she was building.  My admiration for this second-grade teacher rose exponentially.  Anyone who thinks that teaching elementary kids is a piece of cake … should cover this teacher’s math class for ten minutes, to see if they could survive without going crazy.

The teacher was extremely poised and non-anxious.  I was so impressed.  She picked her moments carefully when verbal corrections were in order … she affirmed those acting normally … she showed incredible patience with many as they played through their fifteen seconds of wackiness … and she actually affirmed and corrected a number of answers to actual math problems in the midst of the bedlam unfolding on the screen in front of her.  Wow.

I found myself picturing God up in his heavenly computer room with millions of screens scattered in front of the Father Almighty’s face, most of which are showing similar scenes from life on earth.  The people are mostly older … the activities are ones we would claim are mature activities … and the wacky people in them would be convinced that they are acting with complete normalcy.  But like my grandson’s 2nd grade math class … they could best be described as “bonkers.”  The evils we visit upon each other … the inability to listen to perspectives different from our own … the obsession with always wanting to have things own way … the name calling … the toy stealing … the faces we make at each other to show our displeasure … how does God do it?

I don’t know how … but I know that God does in fact “do it.”  Like this 2nd grade teacher, God sees right through our childishness and immaturity, and finds ways to draw out the best in us.  God is able, like any good parent, to redirect us to healthier choices.  God offers correction as needed and in ways that we can hear and understand.  And throughout it all, God loves us.  Even in our wackiness.  Thank God for that … and for second-grade teachers.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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