Week 8? No way, that’s crazy. I can’t believe how fast it has gone by. Are you humming, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” yet? I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to decorate Room 1501 in Christmas Decor or not. My gut says that I’m not going to decorate…don’t call me a grinch….if that bothers you…then come on in to Room 1501 and decorate it! 🙂
8 weeks in and it is clear that Room 1501 students are getting comfortable with me as their Bible teacher. This is good and not so good. This is the first week I’ve gotten frustrated with one of the classes in room 1501. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get control of the class to the point where they were all listening and engaged. They were talking over me, and simply not engaging in what I was trying to teach. I don’t fully blame the students. I’m learning that classroom order is multi-faceted.
I have to acknowledge as a teacher, that it is not just the students job to keep the classroom in order. Is it not true, in any situation where order is needed, that all parties are responsible to maintain order? The person up front must be teaching in an engaging way…AND…the listeners must accept responsibility to practice the discipline of sitting still and engaging in the material being taught. On this specific day, I was revisiting some material we had already gone over, and it was clear the students were tired of the subject. I kept trying to capture their attention. First, I simply asked the few who were talking to please “listen up.” Secondly, I raised my voice tones a little more to try and make it obvious that I was trying to get them to listen. Third, I added a little drama to my teaching by pacing and walking around the classroom….all to no avail!
Room 1501 classes are only 40 minutes long. In my many failed attempts to get the class to tune in…I actually used 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure nothing was learned, but it was 30 minutes of pure effort on my part. So…with only about 10 minutes left I told the class how frustrated I was. I told them that when I was a student, the teacher would throw chalk and erasers at us when we behaved like this. I told them I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw dry erase markers and erasers at them…but since I couldn’t do that…I told them all to get out of my class. I told them that if I got in trouble for kicking them all out of room 1501 with 7 minutes of class left…that they were all busted too!
As the class nervously and quickly exited the room, many of the students walked by me with heads down, saying, “Sorry Mr. Renner.” It made for a long night for me. I went over and over in my head what I could have done differently, and this one silly incident caused me to wonder if I’m any good at teaching.
As I type this, I now find it somewhat humorous that I can have 7 weeks of great teaching with great student response, and then only one bad class nearly causes me to believe I’m bad at teaching. LOL. I’m becoming more dramatic as I age. I’m going to assume that most of you have experienced something similar. We all have great gifts that God has blessed us with and we can have so many great responses…but ONE BAD RESPONSE nearly does us in! Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to??
Fast forward 24 hours…and nobody got in trouble, and everybody came in the next class day with a great attitude…even me.
As I shared the experience with a few teachers, they simply rolled their eyes at me and said…”Please…Welcome to teaching!” Not all days are a good day. I suppose I should just say, “duh.” I know this, but for some reason that day really got at me.
There was good that came from it all…that specific class of students in Room 1501 were amazing the rest of the week. I especially smiled, when the worst culprits from that bad day…were now the ones who asked the class to quiet down when it started getting rowdy.
I guess the moral of the story is this. It takes all parties cooperating for peace to exist and thrive.
I suppose, if I’m really admitting to my own past behavior as a student, I deserve to have some days where the students in Room 1501 cause me some gray hairs. That is exactly what kind of student I was… too often. Some people call it Karma. I call it, God’s sense of humor!”
I suppose it would do me well, right now, to remember what I have preached so many times. “Our battles are not flesh and blood.” To quote the exact Bible passage…
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12
You and I are going to have a few bad classes. Bad days. Bad jobs. Bad relationships days. Those days are not the norm. Those moments do not define who we are. They are just life. The Bible challenges us to focus on the good. Even after watching some 10 O’clock news channel, I still believe that there is way more good in this world than there is bad. The bad just hurts more and thus feels more real and prevalent. The 10 O’clock news usually only focuses on the bad, and that tends to be all that we see, causing us to think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket.
It has not. You are good. I am good. God is great. You and I will become what we are focused on. I think it is fitting to quote the Bible verse that is resonating in my head right now about this topic.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Philippians 4:6-8.
There are so many things happening in Room 1501 that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable! I know the same it is true for you and your workplace, your home, and your life! Don’t give the bad so much credit. It doesn’t deserve that much attention.
Tomorrow is a good day. When you get up in the morning, get on your knees for just a moment and give God thanks for what you are about to encounter. Invite Him into every decision that you are about to make, every meeting you are about to attend, and every action you have yet to do…Then the God of peace will be with you.
That will be a good day…no matter what happens.
Here comes Monday!