Teachers as Shepherds
Teachers are shepherds and during adversity we all bring the flock in close, finding comfort in our community and connectedness.
Some 40 years ago, In 1982, I graduated from college and started my first job as a 4th grade teacher in Washington State. Dr. Dick Weathermon, the superintendent who guided me into my first job and asked me to take over for a teacher who had departed on extended leave and would not return due to significant health issues. I took over a class of 34 fourth graders who felt abandoned and alone, not understanding what had happened to the start of their school year. Less than six months later, we would mourn together the passing of their teacher. We each found voice in our journey, learning through pain and confusion, and finding resiliency in our shared survival.
I remember how, in this foundational year for me and them, we shared in our growing. I was as green as you can be in your first year as a teacher, barely out of my student-teaching experience and much to learn. But, Dr. Weathermon suggested, as he hired me, that I would be embarking on a journey, not taking a job. He told me at the time that teaching was like being a shepherd and I would find myself often looking upon my “flock,” guiding them, nurturing them, and protecting them from harm. Those words resonate with me today as we reflect on our challenges and our most recent devastating loss.
Iga Kielczewska-Skoczylas was a precious member of our community, and we are working hard to find ways to express our grief, keeping her sparkle in our hearts and memories, now and always. We are all shepherds in this way, guiding, protecting, cherishing, and remembering.
You’ll find herein, messages from principals about how we will proceed with this work of fellowship and care. Our appreciation for all the messages of support for the family. As the week continues, more opportunities to participate in important healing activities will become clear. Please reach out if there is anything else we should be considering.