‘Is your classroom ready for your new term?’
She was taken aback by a voice that came out of nowhere. It made her jump. And with that, her imagination catapulted her into a familiar room. A room in which she could remember everything that hung on the wall. A year of sitting and reading posters, displayed work and subject-specific terminology – week-in week-out has that effect.
‘Take the old work down.’
There it was again, that voice in her head.
This time, it made her laugh and she jokingly replied, ‘Ha, is it really that bad?’
Well, she thought, it seems wise to take down work that isn’t good enough.
It’s right to get rid of and let go of the accumulated “not so good” works in our lives.
But, something didn’t feel right.
She thought again and, as she did, she realised the reality of classroom display boards.
The worst work doesn’t go up on display.
She knew this to be true because she had spent many an hour displaying only the best work for all to see.
So, if the worst work doesn’t go on display then that was not what the voice was telling her to take down.
It was her best work, her past successes and achievements, that were to come down from the display board.
With this revelation, she heard the voice speak again.
This time with more clarity.
‘Rip them off the wall. It’s time to make space in your learning environment for new achievements and successes. It’s time to stop looking at display boards full of old successes and wishing you had something new to put up there.
First, you’ve got to rip the old ones down.
They have been and gone and served their purpose. Stop looking at them and mourning for them. If they are in your eyesight, how will you ever move on? If your boards are full, how will you ever fit new and exciting successes that I have in store for you in your new learning environment?’
There was quiet and she was left standing there, staring at the display board.
Her eyes scanned her past achievements; the joy she had felt at the time they happened was now overwhelmed by a sadness that came because she had nothing new to put up there.
This only highlighted her weaknesses.
The voice interrupted her disheartened thoughts.
‘And maybe the reason why you are so sensitive to your weaknesses and insecurities right now is because you are constantly comparing them to your old display board of successes, and this is making you feel like a failure.
Don’t make a god of your past successes that actually started from your weakness.
All the things you achieved on that display board were once a tiny seed that started out in weakness and they grew through my working. But these weaknesses, with surrender and a willingness to learn, became great successes and made it to your display board.’
There was a pause, giving her just enough time to realise the truth that it was her achievements that she once labelled weaknesses, that she was most proud of.
I mean, she used to be petrified of public speaking, but by grace, she did it.
‘So, no, I’m not asking you to rip out your weaknesses (you couldn’t on your own, even if you tried), because it’s those I work through and, let me assure you, that the weakness you feel today will one day turn in to a success that will be ready for display in your learning classroom for others to see and learn from.’
But, first step, get rid of your old work.
You know I’m proud of you for it, but don’t become attached to it.
It doesn’t make you who you are.
Make space for the new that I will do in and through you.’
The voice fell quiet.
And then there was Hope.
There is nothing quite like that feeling.
It jolted her right back to reality.