Answering God’s Call in the Public Schools - page 3

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From the Winter 2012 issue of Knowing & Doing:  


Answering God's Call in the Public Schools

by Ashley Storm
C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow

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Challenges Aplenty

  On the one hand, teenagers are the same everywhere; on the other hand, this new situation proved to be very, very different. My daily conversations turned from college hopes, prom dresses, and new cars to how to handle being homeless while being a student, how to go to college when one is an undocumented minor, and how to push through high school after having your first child and no money to care for him. Most people wouldn’t consider this to be career advancement, but promotions along the career ladder of faith are rarely written on the world’s terms. God brought me to this school with a purpose, and as the difficult days started, this was the reminder that had to be active within me.
  The challenge in a school like this was not whether I could have passion and care toward those whom I was called to teach, but whether I could stand the intensity and difficulty of doing so. Every class period took everything I had. Whereas it had been easy to build rapport at my previous school, I spent weeks and months loving and trying to convey my genuine investment in students who tried so hard not to be known. The school itself had its weaknesses, a resistance to change in some areas, and sometimes a coldness resulting from years of difficult battles.
  I recall that the first decoration I added to my room was a simple three-by-five index card on my desk that said: “Matthew 5:41–42. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
  Just coming to this school felt like going the second mile to me. Sometimes just arriving seemed like enough obedience to satisfy Christ’s commands. But slowly I came to realize that this journey was about the daily picking up of the cross we had referred to so many times during Year 1. In my head I knew that I was where God had called me to be, but, honestly, my heart had a hard time keeping pace. Most mornings I missed my old comfort, my old way, and, frankly, my old reputation.

A Year-End Perspective

  As I write this, this school year has come to a close. I go back now and reread the letter I wrote to myself at the beginning of the year. To read those words raises the hair on my arms. Looking back, I sense a godly confidence that comes from knowing that God knew about all I would come across in this new adventure. He  knew I would meet the boy who walked for days with his father and brother to come to America for a better life, the boy with the rare illness who will most likely die within a year, and the kid whose brother had been murdered who ended up in my class after being expelled from another school. There are hundreds of these stories within my school walls, and all of them could break a heart. This year was hard, but the hard and the good seem to be partners that dance together often.
  I’ve come to realize that growth for me looks a lot like growth for my students. In a school like mine, our statistics don’t necessarily reflect all the growth that has occurred from September to June. There are lessons that can be learned only in what seems to be the dimmest of places. But God is in those dim and misty crevices and reveals things to us as we follow him on the narrow path. The truth is, I was not sure I could do what he asked me to do by coming to this place, but the larger truth is that I was able because he equipped me for the very place he called me to.

Ashley Storm currently works as a high school math teacher and volleyball coach in Northern Virginia. She grew up just outside the DC Metro area near Warrenton, Virginia and attended Saint Leo University in Florida on a basketball scholarship. She is passionate about serving teens through teaching, coaching and supporting Young Life in her area. In addition, she completed Year One of the Fellows Program in 2011.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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