Kids who, without asking, ask for everything

A substitute teacher with children to take to preschool, who gets called at the very last minute in the midst of an endless number of anti-Covid rules. How not to get overwhelmed trying to fit everything in? What reminds us that reality is good?

It has been a beginning of the year with great unknowns. Will they call me as a substitute? And if so, where? And will the children start preschool? And how? And for how long? From one day to the next, we substitute teachers have been summoned and thrown into a system encroached by thousands of anti-Covid rules. It seems that teaching matters little. We have been banned from photocopying, using projectors and mobile phones, anything that involves touching objects.

Our teachers' lounge is a lobby with lockers, no chairs and no table. The teacher's desk is equipped with hand sanitizer, surface disinfectant, a roll of paper towels and a box of masks. However, talking to my husband, the desire emerged not to forget the beauty we experienced this summer and everything we learned during lockdown: the desire not to be swallowed by the whirlwind, without breathing and waiting to fit everything in. But I wonder: how can He show himself seen in the midst of all this frenzy? Everything seems to prevent it. But He can and does.

How does He do it? First of all, in my work, which does not stop in front of masks because in my class I have those eyes fixed upon me that, without asking, ask for everything. When I enter the classroom, everything else no longer worries me, I am there with them: I have to be a teacher, a mother, a tutor, a nurse and the rules only serve to protect them and to guarantee the possibility of being there. When I was 16 years old, a dear friend told me that reality is good, it is for me. During this beginning of the year, I have often repeated this simple sentence to myself because, deep down, it is what I want: it is what I would like my students to be able to discover, but this will not be possible if I do not believe it first.

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School only started recently, but what I am already seeing is that every time I set foot in a classroom I want to be there, look at the kids and be able to meet the One I want to meet again every day. The most beautiful thing is that He is already there, regardless of my mood, among the sanitizer and masks, He is there looking at me in their eyes and asking me: "Giulia, are you there? I am here for you."

Giulia, Reggio Emilia, Italy