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Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 10) No Looking Back!

JCS Crest 2014

 

 

Room 1501 pic

 

I can’t believe I just completed week 10 at Joy Christian High School as a first year professional teacher.  I love Room 1501 and even more the students that darken its door everyday.  I am still “taking notes”, and “the jury is still out” in regards to me speaking about the differences between being a Bible Teacher in a teaching profession, and being a Senior Pastor of a large and growing Church.  Having now done both…I’m having fun comparing the two.  One little thing I’m noticing, which I will blog about in the future…is that whether I am teaching in a classroom setting, leading my mission org called Return Hope International, or being a Senior Pastor of a Church on some street corner….they are all the Church.

I believe our Christian culture has done a huge disservice to the work of the Lord

by compartmentalizing Jesus’s bride.  

What do I mean?  We have mission orgs, Christian schools, other Jesus centered industries, but for some reason we only call the building on the street corner The Church.  I don’t want to get off track as to what this blog post’s purpose is, but the day is coming soon where I will blog about this huge disservice.  The Church is way bigger than what we have dismantled it to be by compartmentalizing it the way we have.  Sadly, we as the Church are the ones who have done the compartmentalizing.  We must change this.  (Another blog, another time.)

So on this week 10...I only want to blog about one day of it…and it was actually something that did NOT happen in Room 1501, but in the Library of Joy Christian School at 7am on Wednesday.

Wednesdays at JCS are not only chapel days for our whole school, but they are also Staff Devotion day for the JCS Staff.  I have been asked to lead these devotions and I consider it a huge honor.  I am very grateful for the trust and acceptance that the Joy Administration and the Joy Teaching Staff have entrusted to me.  I will never take it for granted and I always look forward to Wednesdays.

Week 10’s devotion was only a half devotion due to the fact that Scott Brown, JCS’s Executive Direction, asked if he could have 15 minutes to speak to the whole staff.  I think Christ-like character is displayed when the boss asks instead of tells.  When Scott asked to have the 15 minutes, he could have just told me, but he asked.  I love to follow this kind of leader.  If you are reading this blog, I ask you to lift the Administrative Staff up in prayer as they make tough decisions to lead Joy into the future.  It is not an easy task and they need our prayer and support.

Today’s blog is not focused on what I said on Wednesday at the devo, but what Scott Brown said in his 15 minutes immediately after the devotion.

Before I blog about his 15 minutes, I think it is apropos to first take a look at some phrases I wrote down at All Staff Training Day back on June 30, 2014, before JCS school officially started.  So…back on that June 30th training day…

Scott said,“It’s time to change the conversation.”  

He also said, “Be terrible at looking backwards.”

So, this past Wednesday was a refresher, on those two phrases and others, that we as Joy Christian School staff all agreed on when we signed up to accept the teaching and administrative positions we were offered.

Scott, taking the time to remind us of our commitment to keep Joy moving forward with positive change and growing academics at JCS, is the mark of a strong leader prodding our team to stay in alignment.  He challenged us to focus on the positive, to think about the things that are admirable and to work extra hard to keep focused on what the main mission is at Joy Christian School… “Building Christian Leaders.”  He talked about how we will fail in attempting to accomplish that mission if each one of us do not keep our eyes on Jesus, and check our actions to make sure they are matching Jesus’s.  I know all of the JCS leadership and teaching team agree that we want Joy to move forward with great success in its mission.  I think it is headed in that great direction and it will take many other challenges from our leader and each other to keep the focus on that forward movement.

What was amazing to me about this past Wednesday’s devotion, which was split up into two 15 minute segments, is that the theme was the same and Scott Brown and I didn’t plan it that way.  It’s amazing to me how God knits things together.  Before Scott stepped up to re-challenge us all, I read the passage in Scripture that Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4-8.

“4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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.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.”

I hope that passage impacts you as much as it does me.  I like to say, “You and I will find what we are looking for.”  What does that mean? It means that if you want to find negative about JCS, you can go looking for it and I know you will find it.  The same can be said for your part in your marriage, your work, your attitude, your life.  If I want to find negative about any one or all of those in your life…if I look and start asking around….I will find it.  It is a fact that you and I will find what we are looking for.

So…let’s look for the positive…I know we will find it too!

If you totally focused on the Scripture passage above throughout the rest of this week…I’ll bet you find yourself having a great week.  In fact, I don’t think you’ll find a great week.  I don’t think great weeks are found…they are made.

So, as a very dear friend to me often says…

“MAKE IT A GREAT WEEK!”  

Great days/weeks are made, not found.  And I think it’s all about attitude and focus on the good that is happening all around us.  I pray that your week is a great one and that you will make great decisions that lead to more Christ-like unity and impact.  I’m trying to do my part and I’m always looking for others who are contributing to the great as well.

 

 


Having Done In Room 1501 Wk 9 (Need a Substitute?)

Room 1501 pic

Sometimes you just have to be out of town.  This week, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at my University Alma Mater; Manhattan Christian College (MCC) in Manhattan KS…The Little Apple 🙂   They have a chapel service every Thursday and it was great to be able to speak at it.  My oldest Child, Madison attends there too, and it was great to see her.  It had been 2 months since I saw her last. We had fun together.  Winter came early to the midwest.  It was 40 degrees when I woke up the first morning I was there.  It was a great break from the heat.  I’m ready for a PHX Winter!

Joy Christian High School has a graduate that is attending MCC (Riley Corbin) and I made sure to capture a picture of him leading worship so I could send it to his mom…who is also on the Joy staff!  So, in reality…Joy Christian High School led the chapel service on Thursday at MCC.  Riley did a great job…I hope I did a great job following him with my message.  I think I did…but I’m biased.

So…knowing I was headed to Manhattan Kansas on Wednesday night…I had to submit a request for a Substitute Teacher.  The substitute teacher request process at Joy High is pretty thorough.  I let them know 2 weeks in advance, filled out the short paper work, and submitted it.  It was approved!

My wife has just started subbing at JCS.  So…I requested her to fill in for me.

I’m writing this a few days late…I know how the sub did.  🙂

She did great.

Having a substitute teacher, in my place, is a little nerve racking.  It made me feel vulnerable.  I wondered if the students would behave.  I wondered if I would look disorganized.  Now, some might say that I should not have worried because it was my wife stepping in for me. Trust me…that made it worse.  My wife would be honest with me.  I think a total stranger subbing for me would be a little less threatening…they substitute teach for me, and then they leave.  My wife subbing for me…well…it’s called “pillow talk” and I was worried about what she might say.  A stranger that subs for me might simply do what I requested, and go home.  But, if it’s my wife…well…she’ll let me know areas that I could improve, or areas that are out of control…and also…areas she thinks are great!

As I type this…she has already subbed for me and we had fun talking about the different students, their personalities, and the impact that we get to have every day being apart of their lives.  I think having my wife sub for me, helped us have something more to talk about.  I’m not sure it taught us anything we didn’t already know about each other.  We have been married for 23 years.  But, it put us on the same page of discussion in this case.  All too often I think I go to work and do my thing and come home and talk about it with my wife.  My wife would do her thing and come home and talk about it with me.  It is good.  But what is great is when we both have been able to enter Room 1501 at different times and yet encounter the same people and experiences…and now when we talk about it…we know the names, place, and environment, because we have both experienced it.

She is subbing for someone else tomorrow.  So, I’m excited that we will be on the campus at the same time.

I’ll try to keep it professional!  🙂

Have a good week.  Week 9 in Room 1501 was short for me this week.  But excellent.

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 Week-8 (1st bad day)

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic

 

 

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.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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. 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!

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 wk-7 (A normal week)

Room 1501 pic

I’ve got nothing outstanding to tell you about this past week.  It was a good week.  It was long week.  The previous two weeks were only Tuesday through Friday due to Labor Day weekend and last Monday’s flooding. In my Utopia…I’d like to have every Monday off!  🙂  I’ll bet you would too.

So…this week’s blog is just going to be an oddball blog of some of the first things that POP into my mind about this past week.  I’ll try for a ‘POP’ 10 list.

1.  I would rather take a 50 point test than grade 100+ of them! (I might put the actual test at the bottom of this page if you’d like to attempt taking what your students in Room 1501 did).   🙂

 

  2.  york peppermint pattiesI am really loving how the Coffee Shop at JCS has York                                                                          Peppermint Patties for sale at 2 for a quarter!

 

 

3.  I wish the JCS Coffee Shop carried Snickers…but due to peanut allergy issues in our world, it is best they do not carry Snickers…”packed with peanuts.” Snickers_wrapped

 

4.  In order to get good grades in Room 1501…all you have to do it take good notes, keep an organized Notebook of all the handouts I give you, and use those notebooks during the test.  If you fail my tests…you stink at keeping an organized notebook!  I believe in you enough to keep an organized notebook!  

5.  You can teach people the Bible, but you can’t make them learn it! 

6.  The longer I’m around the Room 1501 students, the more I’m proud of them, love them, and deeply desire for them to be successful now and for the rest of their lives.  

7.  You cannot force people into spiritual discipleship.  You must earn people’s trust, lead by example, and wait for them to “get it” or ask for it.

8.  As a teacher… If you bring a large bag of Life Savers, the students will be full of gratitude…until you runlife savers out.  When you run out of Life Savers, the thank you’s end and they threaten mutiny and demand you bring more! 🙂  

9.  Things will not always go the way you want them to.  You can try to control these situations…but I’m pretty sure all control belongs to God.  

10.  I believe I am a warrior in the service of Joy and I can never stop taking a stand, speaking up, and doing my very best work.  

EXTRA CREDIT…

Do you want to take the test the students took in Room 1501 this past Friday?  Here you go…Let me know how you do!!

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.54.29 PM

 

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Good night.

Trent

 


Having Done in Room 1501 wk-6 (Spirit Week)

At Joy Christian High School…In room …

Room 1501 pic

 “We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how bout you?!”  🙂

This past week was a good week as Joy Christian School had its first 2014 Spirit Week.  Freshmen students were “adopted” by Senior Students and both age groups worked together to create school spirit, fun, and school pride.  Our first home football game was on Friday and everybody at school dressed up in “Black-Out” mode.  I really love the sense of unity and pride that is moving JCS forward.

This 6th week brought about a first for me.  I grew up on a farm in Kansas.  Kansas winters can be brutal and every student frequently “prayed” for a day off…we called it a Snow Day.  This pic is of the Renner Farm house I grew up in.photo  My parents are just moving off the Renner Farm and into town and my younger sister and her husband are taking over the farm.  I tell this quick story, because this week…Phoenix AZ didn’t have a SNOW DAY…we had a RAIN DAY!  Monday was off due to flooding.  I’d never heard of such a thing…but I realized that teachers enjoy these “special” days off just as much as a student does!  It was a fun email to receive first thing in the Morning this past Monday!  NO SCHOOL DUE TO RAIN!  (That was a first!)  And it wasn’t just a little rain either.

RAIN DAY PHX

 

 

 

So, having the day off is fun…especially a Monday…and it makes for a very short week.  Having Spirit Week too, meant that each of my classes for this week, were only 30 minutes.   Try it sometime.  Have 25 teenagers come into your living room, get them settled and teach the subject material you have planned in the remaining 20-25 minutes.  It’s fun and It’s challenging.  The time just fly’s by.

As the students in Room 1501 and I get more comfortable with each other, some inevitable things will happen.  When people get comfortable with each other they naturally begin to let down their guards.  This is good and bad.  Good in the sense that we open up with each other more, allowing for more “heart of the matter” discussions.  Bad in the sense that the students in Room 1501 aren’t as nervous around me and thus they are more apt to talk out of place, talk over each other, and/or simply just mess around more.  This is the first week I’ve really  had to challenge a group of guys to “Knock it off!”  I think that I have built enough respect and relationship with the students that they can accept me getting a little ticked off at them on a occasion.  They listened and settled down for the remaining time.  The thing that makes me smile about all this, is simply the fact that I was a one of those high school students that “stirred it up” and I think it’s all God’s sense of humor and “pay back.  (I typed the previous sentence with a smile.)

At that moment I challenged a group of guys to “knock it off”, it gave me another chance to reteach and reinforce something we talked about the first week of school.  I call it “Having a Personal Hermeneutic. (prounounced her-men-oo-tic.)   If you are a parent of a student in Room 1501, ask them what the 6 Hermeneutics of personal ethics are and which one they are trying to be.  (More explanation below)

Hermeneutic refers to a method of interpretation.  It is a Bible Study word at a Master’s Degree Level  in Bible Colleges and the students in Room 1501 know this word.  I am asking the students to take it beyond Bible study and apply it to their personal lives.  You, as an adult, can do this too.  To teach this… I modified some definitions of Moral Codes and Ethics that Lawrence Kohlberg first wrote about.  If you would like to read his thesis paper about this, you can go directly to the link from here…http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm.  This thesis paper is also referenced in a book I recently read called “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire.” By Rafe Esquith.

I took Kohlberg’s complicated definitions and created an acronym…each letter represents one word and one level of hermeneutic.   All 6 levels are good…but the last one is the Greatest and our ultimate goal.   As you look at the following six levels of personal code of ethics, I challenge you to honestly pick which one you use most often to make the decisions you do.  You can regularly use all six, but one will trump them all.  Your goal will be to get to level six.  The six words can be remembered through the Acronym A.S.P.R.M.O.  (That acronym can be pronounced, “A Super M.O.”)   M.O. being your “Mode of Operation”  You want your M.O. to be the last of the 6 hermeneutics.  It takes great maturity and thought to get there.

Here are 6 levels of Hermeneutic that the students of Rm 1501 are working on.

A — AVOIDER.  I don’t want to get into trouble.” An avoider is someone who makes decisions because they simply want to avoid getting into trouble and they don’t want to be punished.

S — SEEKER.  “I want a reward.”  This person makes decisions based on what the reward is for being right.  “If I make a good decision, my boss will give me extra days off”…if we get a good grade on our tests, we’ll have a pizza party.  (Again this is not bad…however…if you are always making decisions about getting a reward from somebody, your life is centered around getting rewarded like a dog that learns tricks for treats. Shouldn’t we be properly behaving because its the right thing to do…not just do it for some reward.  Good grades are the reward.  Good work ethic is the reward!  Be careful being a seeker…you can easily become someone’s puppet.

P — PLEASER.  “I want you to be happy with me.”  A seeker is someone who is constantly seeking approval of others and can be motivated by “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”  They are seeking other’s approval and this dictates many decisions they make.  So, my challenge question to you is this.  Do you tie your shoes for someone else?  Do you brush your teeth for me?  No.  We want to make decisions based off of what is right…not to just please the people around us.

R — RULER. “We all must follow the rules.”  This person is obeying laws, respecting authority, and performing one’s duties so that the social order is maintained and usually demands everybody else do it also. Don’t forget that some of the greatest world changers, made the change by breaking the current rules.  Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela…to name a few dynamic ones.  Rulers…from a negative perspective can be likened to a Pharisee of Jesus’s time.  I understand that their are times the rules should be followed.  I struggle with Rulers the most.  I am one to always ask…who created this rule?  What is the real purpose of this rule?  Did the rule maker make the rule out of personal preference or for a serious purpose? Following the rules to just follow the rules can be very dangerous.  There is a better way.

M — MANNERS. “I am considerate of other people.”   This is a great level of hermeneutic.  Imagine the world if it were full of Level 5 thinkers.”  I just think we can still do better.  Manners is good because it honors and focuses on others.  Manners is bad because it still is about making decisions based off of others, not your own hermeneutic…so…I challenge you to get to level 6.

O — OWNER. “I have a personal code of conduct and I follow it.”  This kind of decision making resides in the soul of the decision maker.  It can only be lived when the individual has a healthy dose of humility and character.  This humility and character are usually honed through pain and a serious desire to live as God created us…a steward of all things.  An owner treats his/her business very differently than a customer.  When you walk onto the Joy High School campus you can see who the owners are.  They are the ones who stop to pick up a piece of trash that is laying on the ground while all others walk on it and over it. Hermeneutics 5 and 6 are very good and very similar, but maybe the farmboy in me can help us all understand the slight difference with this example.  Think in detail about breakfast.  “Manners” are like the chicken’s contribution to breakfast.  “Owners” are like the pig’s contribution.  (Get it?) If you don’t get it, then you have lived in the city too long! LOL…the chicken only contributes the egg with a little pain.  The pig gives his life for the bacon!  (Come on…did I really have to explain that!?) 🙂    An owner makes up his/her mind before the circumstances even happen and the decision that needs to be made has been made ahead of time.  Both come with pain.  The first five levels usually face pain after the decision has been acted out.  Owners go through the pain of making the disciplined decision and living the disciplined life.

There are two kinds of pain in life.  Dealing with Consequences and developing discipline.  Both are a pain, but you and I choose which pain we want to live with.  The first 5 levels are motivated by other people.  Level six is a predetermined level of behavior that is never broken on purpose.

These are things we talk about as we study BIBLE in Room 1501.  I wish somebody would have taught me this stuff when I was in school.

It was a short and good week…Wow…Monday is upon us.

Trent