Hope in the Classroom


One of the things that I have been discouraged with at times is that I expect my students to be motivated to study, complete their homework, come on time to class, leave their problems at the door. You’d think that the desire to get their high school equivalency would motivate them to do all those things. But many of the women who come to my class fail in 80% of those expectations that I have for them. Why can’t they get it right!? I can’t teach without their motivation!

Then I am convicted and realize that these women must not have enough hope! They have been met with discouragement over, and over again. And therefore, they can’t succeed as well in present tasks. This semester alone many were in very hopeless situations such as:

  • refugees battling depression, faced with threats of deportation as they await permanent residency;

  •  women living in shelters because they can’t afford rent;

  • a woman whose partner was shot and killed within the last year;

  • a woman with throat cancer;

  • a woman whose husband banned her from pursuing education, yet sneaks to my class each day.

These people aren’t just in my class, they are the faces of the people of Toronto, our friends, our neighbours, our families–the stories are all different yet all are in need of hope in their seemingly hopeless situations. 

Romans 15:13 reads: “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I love this verse because it shows us that the ultimate giver of HOPE is God. When that hope impacts our life, it overflows to influence others through the power of the Holy Spirit. That hope reaches in and transforms people. God’s promises to us and purpose for us can be trusted and bring joy and peace. 

When we open our heart to Jesus, he gives us a vision of better days. He gives us a hope for the future that changes us in the present. It doesn’t mean that we won’t ever get discouraged, but it does mean that we have something to look forward to, and an assurance of a God who will be with us through it all. 

Our task is to spread that hope to neighbours, strangers, friends, family and continue to build that hope in ourselves.