Well, the first week of school is over and I have survived. Oh, there were definitely ups and downs learning a new computer (and computer program), not to mention figuring out 24 locks and locker combinations, learning the nuances of a quirky photocopier, decorating bulletin boards, doing lesson plans and making up seating plans etc. etc. etc. I’ll say it again, students have NO IDEA how hard their teachers work BEFORE their school opens its doors to them! Still, after a week of teaching, I find myself already excited to go back to class again next week. There’s nothing like standing in front of a classroom full of Junior High students and see them get excited over a “just for fun” spelling bee!
I bought a $1.50 “trophy” at the dollar store and the kids passed the trophy around the room so that every student was a “champion” when they spelled a word correctly. I don’t think any one of them will forget how to spell “potpourri” after about twenty attempts to get the correct spelling!
Today I marked my first Language Arts papers of the year. A simple paragraph, “How did you experience God this summer?” Teaching in a private Christian school, I can pose those kinds of questions but I was unprepared for some of their answers. One girl experienced what she called a “Glory moment” when she witnessed a spectacular sunset, another student saw God heal a family member from cancer, another lost her precious grandfather over the summer, and still many others shared how camp experiences and mission trips touched their lives and impacted each of them profoundly. I drew in my breath when I read how one young man experienced the harsh reality of seeing his parents separate and pleaded with God to get him through it and God did! Even though his life consists of living in two houses now, going between two parents, God continues to heal this young man’s heart so he is not bitter.
I was reminded of the nine educational principles to live by this year: Purpose is More Important than Position.
Yes, I am these students’ teacher, for a little while at least, but I believe I am there for a much bigger purpose than to just teach them curriculum. After reading their heart-stirring papers, I reacted at times with tears as they confided how they spent their summer. God has a plan and a purpose for each of these young people, and for some reason, He has placed me in their lives for a few short weeks. Yes, I will grade their efforts and chide them when they misbehave in class, but I hope that they will also find me to be approachable and ever-ready to listen to them, and laugh with them and be available to them when they just need someone to talk to.
Lord, may I be a teacher,
Both knowledgeable and kind;
help me to encourage each young and growing mind.
May my faith be evident in all I say and do
as I share the many lessons
that I have learned from You.
based on: Psalm 27:11 NIV