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A Room with a View
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Gigi Shadid

My first year teaching was 1998, at Dunn Elementary in Aldine ISD. Due to overcrowding at the school, I taught third grade students in a temporary building that had no windows. When I married and moved to Kansas, I taught middle school math in the basement of a Catholic school. It was a beautiful experience working with faithful teachers and students, but no windows. I also had a gig at the same school, where I taught a small geometry class in a closet/office, and, you guessed it, no windows. When my family moved to Houston, I eventually took a job in Fort Bend ISD teaching second grade, and for five years I taught in another room with no windows. Strategically placed lamps in the room were useful because they gave light, and a feeling of windows.

In 2019, I heeded the call to work at The Saint Constantine School, with an invitation to teach first grade. My room was in the building we call “West.” Though there are no windows in that building, there was a screen door at the time, which to me was something worth celebrating! I taught all year with my classroom door open and the screen door locked. True, real light was able to come into the class at last! It brought me joy! Since that time, the screen doors of West have been removed, and the doors replaced with an inserted square window in each.

By the end of my first year at TSCS, a new building was erected and elementary students were moved to “Building 1.” Talk about a window lover’s dream! An entire wall of each classroom is made up of windows! One could technically teach all day in any one of those ten classrooms and not have to turn the lights on. Sunlight is cheerful and generous (sometimes even a little too generous, but I’m not complaining).

Though I would have gladly taken a room with a view to the front parking lot, by sheer luck, I ended up with arguably the best view of the school.  Some might call it good Karma. I had paid my dues. The room in the middle of the building (for the middle child), facing none other than the beautiful flower-filled TSCS garden, gaga ball pit, Bragdon Wood, shuttling sheep, goats, children playing in the sand pit, and the occasional volleyball game when the makeshift court is set up in the grass. Sunshine!

There is something about light. We need light. Darkness is depressing. We crave those windows because we are a people of light. We follow Christ who said, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12).  We are called to be children of the Light, each of us a window others can look into and see, through us, the image of Christ. Even the icons in our classrooms that are made of wood and the icons made of flesh are all “windows into heaven.” How providential that on Sorting Day this year, the first Friday of the school year, the Gospel that was prescribed to be read was from Matthew, chapter 5. The Lord  said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).  

Let your light so shine.

I will cherish the view in Room 103 for as long as I can have it, the view to the outside, and the view inside of the beautiful icons that God has placed before me each day.