August 2020 - Page 4

Sometimes the total reality of an unfair world can be seen through the eyes of one person.

Rachel Baucom often toils in her garden under the hot sun of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A school teacher by trade and by calling, her summers are short and intensely hot. She’s back in the classroom early in August, where she teaches a first-grade class at a public school. Most of her children are from families who are Hispanic and among the working-poor. The parents of her children are service workers and during the pandemic are considered essential employees. Some parents work as teachers and health care workers. Others are housekeepers or are employed as fast food workers, custodians and construction workers. Rachel is very concerned about returning to the classroom and being able to ensure safety, for her kids, their families, and for herself and her family—the entire community.

Teaching is more than a job. Rachel often likens teaching to growing a garden. “You’re doing one thing and finding another...discovering the hidden joys beneath the surface.”

Rachel helps kids to grow in a world that doesn’t offer them the best of everything. She looks for all the unseen ways she can reach children so they bloom against all odds. She was called to teach the same way her father, the Rev. Peter Moore, was called to be an Episcopal priest—you count on your grit and the grace of God. As a dual language teacher, Rachel conducts her classes in both English and Spanish. One of Rachel’s colleagues, Fabiola Espinoza, said, “Rachel exemplifies what dual language teaching should look like.”

Rachel can deal with poverty and uncertainty—a child could be in her class one day and gone the next, or of having to make do with limited resources, but one thing she didn’t bargain for was being forced to be on the front lines of the pandemic. She is not a health care worker and does not enjoy being told by the federal government to be one. Her vocation is pure—to teach—to take young children and imbue them with the powerful gift of learning.

Growing up as the child of an Episcopal priest meant moving around a lot. Her father’s first parish

Rachel Baucom | My Job is to Teach

by Patricia Vaccarino

Robb Baucom and Rachel

Rachel Moore with daughter Mary Vail