Mae Remer has a very unique job that most people don’t know about, but once they hear of it, they say, “That makes complete sense!” Since 2015, she has worked for the Charlottesville Hospital Education Program as their high school teacher. This program functions as school for kids who are in the hospital for immediate, varied, and/or chronic health problems. This makes complete sense! Kids still need education and will get behind while getting treatment in the hospital, so that’s why this program exists.
In applying for this job, Mae got connected with the director of the program, but she did not meet most of the qualifications. Yet the Lord allowed her to receive this highly sought after position, of which she says the world calls a fluke, but she knows God provided more abundantly than she could ask. Why would He do this? For His glory.
In providing education for the kids at the hospital, they must get parental consent, so Mae gets to pitch school to high schoolers who are sick. She has learned how to build rapport quickly, explaining what she can do and the credit and attendance the students will earn with her. The staff functions as a normal school completely. All the teachers (one per age group) help each other. Recently she taught a math lesson to an 8th grader on oxycontin. She says, “My job is so weird, but I am the most normal thing about that kid’s day. I tell them, ‘We’re not gonna let your education slide, because you’re gonna get better.’”
In teaching, Mae gets to help these students be normal and seek out and anticipate long term goals instead of short term ones. She has high expectations for them, and because of this they generally do well. This job is in fact a ministry, that allows her to serve the families as well as the kids.
While she is grateful for her position, it’s not without its challenges. A bad day at public school is someone not staying in their seat — “a bad day for me is someone passing away.” She only has known one student who has passed away, but she also gets to see the same kids a few times a year, and to see them grow up is a blessing, for both her and for them.
Originally, Mae didn’t see herself staying in her position long term because she loves the classroom and debating, but this has given her many opportunities to share the gospel with her students, and ultimately, she is serving the kids and families to glorify the Lord, not them or herself.
FCS was a major turning point in her faith. She knew she was serious about being a Christian before, but she says that FCS gave her the tools to make her faith the crux of her life. She loved how the teachers were so receptive to questions, cultivated honest and open discussion, and used interactive learning to teach, such as Mr. VH’s historical figures March Madness! She uses these things with her own students today. Mae says that the Bible department especially sought to create open, honest spaces and to create a deeper understanding and love for the Lord, something she knows isn’t a common Christian experience. When she told Mr. Shaeffer she was going to go to George Mason for college, he said “That’s a very secular school.” Mae remembers clearly replying, “Well, I guess I have a lot of witnessing to do!” Now a teacher herself, she greatly appreciates the qualities of the teachers at FCS, who obviously cared. That leaves an impact, and it further encourages her to care more for her own students. In reflecting on her testimony, her admonition to us all is this: “Don’t be afraid of how the Lord can use you.” She was when she started this job, and the Lord has allowed her to have gospel conversations with both her students and her colleagues, with believers and unbelievers. As Paul wrote in Romans 1, so Mae echos: “I will not be ashamed the gospel.”