Saturday, September 27, 2014

Of Challenges and Bright Spots

Most of last year's Grade 6 class.

I was reading through my journal from earlier this year and found a couple of posts that tell of the heart of teaching. I'll share one of them here to show you why I love it here so much, despite challenges...

(I've abbreviated names for privacy.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 5:17 p.m.

Today was a teensy bit better than yesterday, mostly because it had a few more bright spots in it. I'm not sure if it's just Satan trying his hardest to discourage me, or if I really am a terrible teacher, but whatever it is, I am having a super tough time trying to teach.

Basically, in a nutshell, yesterday I sat with B__ for over an hour in the empty classroom while talking to him and waiting for him to finally do pushups so he could go (eventually he did, thankfully). Then I spent the rest of the day feeling like a terrible teacher for being inconsistent and not teaching properly because I don't know how.....

Today, I prayed oh so hard. Last night, too. But this morning I went to my classroom extra early before staff worship and prayed for each student. But nevertheless, the class was noisy as usual for my first two classes. We somehow managed to learn a thing or two (between P__ doing multiple sets of 10 pushups for exiting his seat without my permission), but it was still awfully hard for me. As I walked home for the break between science & math classes, I was sick of kids' voices. I cried out to God for help. I thought and prayed and dozed in the hammock until time to go, and as I walked, I thought of "Be Still My Soul" - the song God had woken me up to this morning. I pulled out my iPod and read the words. Parts of a couple verses stood out to me in particular...

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Such precious promise. The waves and winds still know, understand, and obey God's voice implicitly. Could students be any less obedient to Him? I got to the classroom but Teacher L was still inside with the Handicraft class. So I waited outside and watched all the kids in the schoolyard. Of such is the kingdom of Heaven. Even though they're a pain sometimes, God loves children most of all. Their spirit is what He wants in me. I was pretty quiet as I watched (I'm sure the kids wondered why), and then finally R__ poked me and said that I could go into the classroom now because Teacher L had left. I went in, just waiting for the oncoming battle. To my surprise, as we began our lesson on factors and prime & composite numbers, they settled down and actually learned. You know why? Because my God is incredible. :D He sent a group of visitors from the Korean church and they happened to stand outside our classroom for a good amount of time, talking or whatever. And my kids are quiet whenever visitors are around. :D :D God seriously can do anything!

After a fairly successful lesson (still need to work a few wrinkles out of that lesson because I didn't teach it quite right :P), I headed over to the music classroom for grade 8. I wasn't as stressed about that but was still not really looking forward to trying to juggle pianos and violins again. But lo and behold, when I walked in, T__ was there! I asked him what he was doing and he said he was willing to help with whatever! And so, I got to spend almost the entire Music 8 period teaching S__ the first two Twinkles on the violin, which was pure joy. :D God is amazing. I told T__ after class that he had helped God answer my prayer. :)

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