Comfort in Community

     An alarm rings at 6:30 am. My mind begins to come up with excuses to get out of this obligation. I take a deep breathe and exhale. Getting out of bed this early on a Saturday is the last thing I want to do. However, I made a commitment and I am not going against my word.

     Two years ago, I began my teaching career at Hamilton High School. Nestled in the heart of the Alcy Ball community, Hamilton serves over 600 students. Currently there are five other MTR teachers that serve along side me. It sounds like a broken record, but teaching is a tough profession. And in the midst of struggle, there is comfort knowing that there are others doing this work alongside you. Because of that, the six of us at Hamilton have formed a community based on commitment, not only to each other but to our students.

     For me, that commitment is reinforced knowing that we are all going to show up each day regardless of what may have happened the day before. I am confident that every morning Mr. Felker and I will talk SEC football while standing at our duty posts. I know that I can look across the hall during transition and see Ms. Krueger greeting her students with a smile. On his way to the cafeteria, I know that Mr. Stevens will give me a fist bump congratulating me on making it to the halfway mark of the day. Every week, I know that Mrs. Perkins and I will discuss exciting events we are planning for the senior class so they have a memorable year. And after a long day, I can count on Ms. Mohr to walk to all of our rooms with a pot of fresh coffee as a pick-me-up.

     At the beginning of this school year, one of my seniors approached me and asked me to help him get his first job. He wanted to begin saving up for school and a life after Hamilton. He was ecstatic to find out that he was hired at a grocery store a few miles from his home in Alcy Ball. The only problem? He had no way to and from work. Feeling defeated, he knew he had to turn down the position. Because of the commitment we felt to our Hamilton community, a few MTR teachers and I decided we would help transport the student to and from work. We believed in him and we would not allow a lack of resources to prevent this young man from achieving a goal.

     This past Saturday, my student needed a ride to work early in the morning. I didn’t want to get up. I kept telling myself that I deserve to stay in bed because I worked hard this past week. One excuse after another kept playing in my head. However, I was reminded of a verse in Galatians that says “let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Just like my MTR community shows up for me everyday at Hamilton, my student needs me to show up for him.

– Taylor Cao