“Miss Key, will you help me open my locker?” This is a refrain I have heard at least once a day since the beginning of school. Somehow, I have earned a reputation as the locker-opener (I now know several of combinations by heart). Our staff room is just outside the sixth-graders' lockers. The stress level in their voices between classes during the first few days of school took me straight back to my middle school days. Who doesn’t remember the stress of being a new student in a new school? While helping a student open up his/her locker may not seem like a big deal to you, the irony of my new reputation has made me smile.
As a 7th grade missionary kid (who fit the stereotypes) straight off the field attending a private school (on scholarship), my culture shock and adjustment were huge! I struggled to find my place among kids who had name-brand clothes (name brands I didn’t even know, let alone owned), were well-versed in current pop culture (I was a good 4 years behind) and had all the "right" friends. One of the things that I was never able to figure out was how to open my locker. We didn’t have them in my school in France. I tried and tried and finally gave up.
So my entire 7th grade year I never once opened my locker and lugged my text books from class to class and then home at night. I was too shy and too much out of my element to ask for help and if others noticed me struggling they didn’t offer to help.
It's a real joy to be able to help these students make the adjustment to middle school, especially as some of them are getting used to living in Germany for the first time. It's a real joy to help them do a simple task like learning to open their locker. The question, “Miss Key, will you help me open my locker?” has been asked less and less as the kids figure it out and learn how to do it for themselves. When/if they return to North America that will be one less stress/adjustment they'll experience. These moments remind me of His care and faithfulness, even in the little details of life, through different seasons of life and the fact that He can use me to help in this small way is truly a gift to me.
– Anna Key
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