Written June 22, 2023. 6:50pm. Published June 23, 2023. 5:00am
Our mother passed away January 2019. I took a leave of absence from my music teacher job at Pinecrest High School (DISCLAIMER: Fictitious name of high school).
On the return from my leave of absence, I took it is easy. Told my guitar class what had happened with my mother. The class was surprisingly very respectful.
I go into my office and shut the door. There are windows and I can see the students. Calm down, please.
A student comes to the office door and knocks on it. “Mr. Everts, may I come in?”
I answer, “Yes.” At this time, I was a bit nervous about what was going to happen. I admit it. The administration was telling me, “No students should be in your office.” Sigh.
The guitar student calmly / confidently says, “Mr. Everts, if you don’t mind me asking, may I pray for you?”
I was shocked. “Of course.”
The student comes around my desk. Puts his hand on my shoulder. Begins to pray! WOW!
He gets done. “I thought you could use a prayer.”
“Absolutely. Thank you.”
Some weeks later, the same student comes into my office. “Mr. Everts, I need to talk to you. I am having problems. I feel lost. I don’t know what is happening.”
“Well, I know you go to church. You prayed for me. Have you been going to church?”
“Not as often as I should. Even when I go to church, though, I feel out of sorts. Like something / someone is getting. Could you pray for me?”
What a powerful moment? A student asking his public high school music teacher to pray for him!
Unfortunately, I had a letter of reprimand in my file for saying to my students, “I thank GOD I am at Pinecrest High School.” “I thank God you are my students.” Both of those statements got me in trouble. Knowing this, I answer his request for prayer the following way. “Do you have any other Christian teachers you could ask?” I hated to ask such a question, but I knew even having talked about God with this student-in-need I was toeing the line.
“I don’t know any other Christian teachers here.”
“Wait. You are a junior and you don’t know any other Christian teachers at Pinecrest High School? Because I think it is interesting, I am the only teacher you know who is Christian and somewhat sad, let me ask you this question. Do you know any of the gay teachers at Pinecrest High School?”
Without hesitation, “Oh, yeah. I know the gay teachers!”
And then the guitar student paused. “Wait. I see your point. I know who the gay teachers are, but I do not know who the Christian teachers are. There is something wrong about that.”
Having our students critically think is very important.
I say to my guitar student, “I agree with you there is something wrong about that. I believe if you are going to know who the gay teachers are, what is wrong with knowing who the Christian teachers are? Okay. Let me pray for you.”
With eight days remaining of “Pride Month,” please – let us return to a time when either we are going to be truly accepting of all of us or have all of us be placed back into the closet. There was a time when all we knew about our teachers was what happened in the classroom. Those were simpler and more professional times! For goodness sake, back in the day, we were shocked to see our teachers in a grocery store buying groceries!! They eat?!
Now? We know too much about our teachers.
So, if we are going to know too much about our teachers (I don’t think we should know so much about teachers’ private lives), then, we should be able to know their faith. I ask, “why only know which teachers are gay?” Just like there are gay boys and girls who would like to reach out to a gay teacher, I bet there is a student on your campus / in your classroom who could use a prayer from a teacher. If we are going to know who are the gay teachers, why not know who are the Christian / Muslim / Jewish (and many others, including atheists) teachers? Shouldn’t our students learn how to work with anyone? Seems to me that not knowing the teachers who practice a faith while at the same time promoting the idea that it is okay to know who the gay teachers are is some sort of double standard! No?
If you disagree with that statement (Seems to me that not knowing who the teachers are who practice a faith while at the same time promoting the idea that it is okay to know who the gay teachers are is some sort of double standard!), how tolerant are you?
What I do know is God does love all of us and yes, He wants us to be more like Him! To be more like God, read and do what the Bible tells you to do. I know what I have learned from God is to love people, including my enemies. Again, GOD TAUGHT ME TO LOVE PEOPLE! Seems to me that people (not God) are teaching people to love others first based on those people ethnicity, gender or race. Sad.
Let me be clear – one more time – GOD TEACHES ME TO LOVE PEOPLE. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Put a TEN on their forehead – gay / straight / male / female / white / bipoc (see, I can use your jargon – wink). PUT A TEN ON THEIR FOREHEARD!
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org