Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Story of the Empty Easter Egg!
Marissa Granger was a brand new, fresh out of college, elementary school teacher. It was her first year without a mentor and she was completely frustrated on how the current school year had effected her. She made it through the Fall and was over the newness of teaching her 1st grade class. The Winter had arrived soon after and she was pleased with the amount of time off from work she could garner because of the holidays. Marissa was not a fan of the Winter and the flu season that fell upon her students to the point that she would adorn her desk, classroom phone, computer keyboard, and her student's hands with a generous amount of hand sanitizer. Marissa was not one who liked to become ill and she made sure not to catch anything that her 1st grade students may bring to her in the form of nasty germs. She had been waiting for the months that Spring would bring. She loved the warmer weather and that lightened her mood a bit in her classroom. She looked forward to the opportunity that the children would be able to go to recess and expend some of their built up energy.
Her students were well behaved and not that much trouble. She did have her favorites. Anthony was her sweetheart! He would always pay attention and obeyed the requests she asked him to complete. His grades were not the best, but his 2-front-teeth-missing smile was something she adored. He would compliment her and say she smelled like apples all of the time. Marissa could count on Anthony saying something to make her day bright. LaKeisha was another of her beloved students. Marissa thought that if she ever married and had children that she would love for her daughter to be just like LaKeisha! It would be Marissa's "mini-me" or her princess. LaKeisha would always know the latest songs and would sing them as she would walk in the classroom in the morning. LaKeisha tried hard to dress like Marissa in some form or fashion and Marissa thought it was sweet. She would let Marissa know that she wanted to sing to her all day, and that she loved her favorite teacher Miss. Granger. LaKeisha would be devastated if she was not able to get her Friday afternoon hug and her "Good Morning High Five" from Marissa!
Although Marissa had her favorites and her not-so favorites in her class, there was one student that she was not too fond of. Not to say he was belligerent and mischievous in her class, but she was concerned about his demeanor and inability to be like as they say, "the rest of the kids". Justin was developmentally challenged and required a little more attention than her other students. Justin was soft spoken and did not say too much to any of the kids in the class. He was a loner of sorts. He was not picked on by other students, and they did treat him kind and did not recognize any of his flaws. He did not speak as fast as other students, and had a little trouble getting his words out, but he was a beast on the playground and was always chosen first to play different games. Justin loved recess time. He knew he could run free and play with some of the kids at school that he knew better than the kids in his class. All in all, Marissa was frustrated with Justin's performance in class and his average grades. She wished she could figure out how to better his performance and had tried many different methods. She was reaching the point of hopelessness with Justin.
Since her favorite time of year was here, Marissa had an idea for an interesting "show and tell" project that would be a hit! She decided that she would purchase Easter eggs for her students to place what they thought of that reminds them of the Spring. Marissa also knew it would be a great way to waste some time the Friday before Easter break and countdown the end of the school year as well as her teaching career.
The day had finally arrived. It was Friday before Easter Break eve and Marissa had announced to the class that during recess time they were to find something that reminds them of Spring and place it in their Easter eggs! She handed an egg to each student as they walked out of the classroom door out into the hallway and then to the playground oasis that awaited the children outside. Marissa sat under a tree along with other teachers that were enjoying the wonderful bright and breezy Spring day. The laughter of the children was infectious and all on the playground had smiles on their faces. Some of the other teachers asked Marissa what her students were doing with the Easter eggs. Marissa told her colleagues and received laudatory praise about her idea. Some instructors said it was ingenious, a great way to enhance a lesson, and perfect to ease the anticipation of the Spring Break. Other instructors marveled and envied what Marissa planned and asked if they could emulate her idea. Marissa had no problem with her other fellow teachers sharing and borrowing her idea. Little did they know that Marissa didn't plan on ever using the idea again for she made up her mind that she would not return to teaching the next school year!
Recess was over and Marissa got her students settled and back in their desks. She noticed the clock was nearing the end of the school day, and of course her well-deserved Spring Break! She asked who wanted to "show and tell" first. Students all had their hands raised and were loud in their eagerness to share what they found and placed in their eggs. She called on one student and he shared his finding of a worm! Worms remind me of the Spring time because they are always out after it rains. Marissa was amused, but was not happy about the worm on her desk. She asked the student to take it back to his and the children then raised their hands hoping to be called on next. Marissa then called on LaKeisha. She walked briskly to the front of the class and showed everyone her dandelion. She said that every time the Spring comes the dandelions are always on the ground and that reminds her of Spring. Marissa presented a large smile along with LaKeisha and agreed with her. Marissa called on some other students before asking Anthony to present what he had in his Easter egg. Anthony opened his egg and showed the class 3 ladybugs that he found. He told the class that the ladybugs always show up in his neighborhood when the Spring would arrive. Marissa thought it was cute and smiled. The kids were in awe that Anthony was able to get the ladybugs into his egg without hurting them. Marissa continued to call on students methodically. She purposely waited to call on Justin last. She knew in her heart that Justin would not be as impressive with his findings as the other children were and prepared to make up for his not finding something spectacular and duplicating what other students had found.
Marissa finally asked Justin to present what he found and placed in his Easter egg. He slowly walked up to the front of the classroom and smiled. Marissa asked Justin to open his egg and reveal what he had. Justin opened his Easter egg and nothing was in it! As soon as all the students saw there was nothing in it they were shocked and there was nothing but a silent room! Marissa was afraid to ask, but she did! She asked Justin how does this empty egg remind you of Spring. Justin slowly and softly sad, "Jesus's tomb was empty wasn't it?" At that time the bell rang and all of the students except Justin ran out of the classroom to go on their Spring and Easter break. Marissa walked up to Justin with tears in her eyes and gave him a great big hug. He whispered in her ear, "What did I do wrong Miss. Granger?" She simply replied. "Nothing but remind me of the real meaning of Easter!" Marissa watched the children leave and asked if she could keep Justin's empty Easter egg. He said yes and left the classroom not knowing the impact he had on his first grade teacher. It took a student that she was not as fond, a student that was quiet and reserved, a child that was gentle and not as up to par as her other students, to remind her of the true meaning of Easter! It is not about eggs and bunnies. It is not about chocolates and baskets. Easter is about that empty tomb that Jesus was not in!
Marissa keeps that empty egg that Justin had on her desk to this day! She enjoys the exercise she made up for her student's long ago and wonders what other student will show her an empty egg. Unfortunately, none of them do!
I Love You, But God Loves You More!