The first week of Joy Christian School is behind me, and as a 1st year school teacher, it has been a great learning experience for me. What a wild ride to have back to back classes 6 times in a row…M-F in a row, with sophomores, juniors and seniors. This first week, we simply covered some overview things and talked overview of the Bible. Who is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and other Essential discussions of expectations and requirements.
The most dramatic moment this week for me was giving each of my, more than 100 students, a 3×5 card to write the answer to this question… “What is the Bible to you?” I let them know they could answer that anonymously. I wanted them to be honest…and some were brutally honest. I rec’d answers that were full of depth and personal understanding towards to the Bible. Several answers came in…and I qoute… “It’s just another stupid book.” The picture to the right is of the pile of cards I have the privilege to read through. I am delighted at the answers I received. Joy Christian School is a Mission School.
What is the meaning of a mission school? It is a school that anybody is welcome to attend. In Christian School World…there are two kinds of schools. Both are great….just different. There is a Covenant School…where you must sign a covenant saying you are a follower of Jesus Christ. And there are Missional Christian Schools, where you can pay to attend no matter what you believe about Jesus. I love the mission of Joy…and…below are some things I learned in ROOM 1501 this week…
The 1st thing I learned…
Teachers/Faculty do not get to spend much time together. We might pass each other during lunch or upon arrival/exit, but very little time is possible to spend together. Our purpose is to spend time speaking/teaching/interacting/learning with the students of the school. Not having time to spend together, as teachers, has demonstrated another thing to me; If there are any administrative/faculty negativities going on at a school, (BTW…there is none at Joy so far!) then it means that someone or several of the teachers/faculty are going out of their way to find or to start/continue negativity. There just isn’t enough time to spend together and any time spent together is on purpose. This is probably true with anything in life…”You will find what you are looking for.” (neg. or pos.) And…”you will become what you focus on.” (neg. or pos.) I hope you choose positive. See Philippians 4:4-8 below.
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
A 2nd thing I’ve learned…
A majority of students really do want to learn. A majority show up in your classroom and they want to be noticed and respected by the teacher. It’s really not a student thing…it’s a human nature thing. A student doesn’t mind having to work hard, interact in discussion, do homework, and work for a grade…IF…they feel RESPECTED & APPRECIATED. I recognize that I am still new at this teaching thing…but…I am pretty convinced if a teacher has a classroom full of chaotic kids that won’t listen, respond, or they mentally check out…I am guessing it’s more of a teacher problem than a student problem. (I’ll get back to you on this one…I admit I am still new at teaching in a school…I could be wrong. Time will tell…and as I learn, I will tell.)
A 3rd thing I learned…
Every profession has its own physical/emotional/intellectual CONDITIONING necessary to function in that position well. Imagine the physical conditioning needed to be working in the garbage truck business. Landscaping. Working the drive thru at a fast food restaurant. Working at a cardboard box manufacturing plant. Farming. CEO of a large company. Driving a UPS truck. Office desk job. etc. etc. Every job is hard work…but that hard work comes in many different forms.
I have learned that being a teacher is no different. I have learned that I am not in TEACHER SHAPE…YET! I will get there. Wow…my back hurts. My vocal cords are tired. My feet ache and my emotional and intellectual assets are fatigued…and so far, I am really enjoying the challenge.
I confess that I have taken the teachers of my own children and my own personal teachers, in the school system, for granted. I have been a preacher/pastor for the past 20 years and am now getting to compare the work load, emotional-toll road, and the physical work load of both a teacher compared to a preacher. Due to the fact that I am still too new as a teacher to speak with full confidence about this work load comparison subject…I will let time tell all things…and in time I will tell all things I am learning.
4th thing I’ve learned…
It doesn’t matter what kind of teacher you are…The very last class of students any teacher has on a FRIDAY….is going to have to figure out some very creative ways to keep the students minds and hearts in attention to the subject at hand. It is very obvious, during the final school hour, that the students are checked out mentally as they think about the weekend break that is about to start.
I am pretty sure, at this final hour on Fridays, the students have superpower hearing. I think the ticking of the clock on the wall is so loud to them as it counts down to their William Wallace moment of FREEEEDOM for the weekend, they have a hard time focusing.
So, as a teacher I could be stubborn enough and self-serving enough to demand their attention and think they will listen…but in all honesty…if I were to try to speak over the “freedom clock” noise ringing in their ears….I will only sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to my students. It’s not their job to overpower the ticking clock. It’s my job as a teacher to work smarter to help them not even hear the clock. I don’t know how to do this yet…but I’ll get there!
That’s what’s “Having Done in Room 1501.”
Hope you enjoyed the read. I feel loved by you if you read this.