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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!!

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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

 


Having Done in Room 1501(Wk5 (Education > Classroom Academics)

After last weeks blog I’ve been curious how this week’s blog would go in regards to what is being done in Room

Room 1501 pic.

 

 

I simply want to say this.  The administrative team at Joy Christian School are overwhelmingly supportive.   I am grateful for the team environment at Joy.  I don’t think I need to remind anybody that any conflict has the potential to cause great disaster…even a smaller conflict like the one I posted about last week.  The Bible says in James 3:5 referencing our tongue/mouth, “But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”  The best way to snuff out a spark is to douse it with water.  I could have chosen to bring gasoline to the spark, but I’m grateful I chose water.  Are you bringing gasoline or water to your “fires”?  In John 4:14 of the Holy Bible, Jesus says, “Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Does what you bring to a conflict/argument add life or bring death?

Sometimes we think it feels good to win arguments.  I’ve found, that most of the time, when I think I have won the argument…I actually lost the person in my win.  Can you relate?  I would warn us all to be careful in enjoying a battle we are winning, because our focus on just the battle may blind us to the fact that we are actually losing the war.  Some “wins” are not worth winning.  I’m grateful for how my meeting went.  

Enough about last week. This week flew by.  First of all, Labor Day weekend used up Monday, leaving Joy School with a 4 day school week.  Oh, I’m not complaining, 🙂  I’m just stating a fact.  The 3 day weekend was great.

The remaining 4 days were packed with what is called extra-curricular activity that caused a lot of interruptions in Rm 1501.  Many people needed to come into Rm 1501 to announce future events and bring clarity to school and church functions.  We had a picture day where every student had to leave class to go and get their school photo taken.  We had chapel on Wednesday.  We had our first, All-School Pep Rally….And, our football team and Spirit line had to leave early on Friday to head to Tucson, AZ to play Pusch Ridge Christian Acadamy in what was called the 7th most recommended football game to watch in the state of AZ this week!

Pusch Ridge was ranked 4th in the state in our division.  Joy Christian was ranked 7th.  Joy beat Pusch Ridge decisively 28-6.  (The competitor in me has to add that with 13 seconds left, we took a knee on the one yard line where we would have scored another touch down making the final score 34-6.  (The competitor in me grumbled about this classy and great sportsmanship decision by our coaching staff.) 🙂  It was a great decision!  I love the direction that JCS is going!

So, as you can tell, this past week was very challenging to get any academia completed in my 40 minute classes. I spoke briefly about this with one of Joy’s School Administrators.  I suppose it might have sounded close to complaining.  The administrator with a big smile looked at me and said, “Wow Trent, you are starting to sound like a teacher!”  I laughed.  They laughed too.  That comment stuck with me and I have thought about it further.

As a teacher, I have an agenda and a lesson plan that I want to accomplish every day…every week.  This agenda is full of academia…A very important thing.  But, is it the most important thing?  If I’m not careful I could easily slip into thinking that my academia lesson plan/agenda is the most important thing.  I must pause and remember to…

Never let school get in the way of our student’s education!  

education war

Academia is a part of education.  It is not all of education.

Education > Classroom Academia

Sports, Art, Extra Curricular activities, field trips, student council, free time, sick days, etc…are all a part of the world classroom’s education process.  The world is our classroom…nothing can truly be controlled and the best schools in the world accept this fact.  The best education is a diversified education.  Even the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 8:1, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

The students in Room 1501 will get to spend the rest of their lives learning knowledge.  I am teaching the students of Room 1501 Bible Knowledge…and at 43 I am still learning it too.

I must make sure, in my attempts to transfer knowledge, to never forget…

LOVE is more important than KNOWLEDGE.

The love for sports, art, free time with friends, extra curricular activities, field trips, student council, and even being gone because of sickness is vital to a great education.   I think the most famous educators in the world would agree that the best knowledge is not learned in the academic classroom.  I think you would acknowledge this fact too.  Do you agree?

It was a crazy-busy week, but it was a great week.

Here comes MondayJCS Crest 2014

 

 

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 4…is the “Honeymoon” over?)

My first month of being a first time professional teacher is behind me.  As I look back with 20/20 hindsight I can’t think of a better place, to be a first time teacher, than Room 1501 at Joy Christian School.

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic

 

It has been a blitzing kind of month.  I have never been so tired in my life, and at the same time, so content and blessed.

I consider it a privilege to be able to TEACH the Word of God at Joy Christian School everyday for High School Students.  I also get to PREACH the Word of God at different Churches around the country, and it is always a thrill to meet the people I get to speak to in these different churches…I’m getting ready to have a conversation with a church in PA where I hope to speak at in the near future.   So, not only do I get to teach and preach, I also get to LIVE out what I preach and teach about, through leading Return Hope International!  God is good.  All these ventures have just begun and sometimes that means slim pickings when it comes to income, but I have learned that God provides…and sometimes…He waits until the very last minute!  LOL…and that is perfectly fine with me.  He is God and I am not.  I will continue to do what He says and not tell Him how He should do it.

THIS WEEK IN ROOM 1501…I was reminded of something I already knew…but it was good to be reminded.

I encountered my first situation, that will probably end what can be called my Honeymoon phase as a new teacher. This past week, I encountered the reality that It’s not always gonna be fun in Room 1501.  Now, I knew this was going to happen sooner or later.  That is just what life eventually does to all of us.  However, I still deeply grieve the fact that the honeymoon phase had to end.

The details of this ‘honeymoon’ ending incident are not important.  The moral of the story is what is most important.

The 30,000 foot view of this situation is simply this.  I found out, that I said something that offended a student in Rm 1501.  (Knowing me, this could happen on occasion.)  The student, as they should, told their parents.  The parents sent an email to several people….but…not to me.  There was no verification of facts…No seeking to first try to understand.  Just an email blast.  (I’m a big boy, I can handle these kind of situations.  I’ve been in ministry for 20+ years and have slowly developed a pretty thick skin.)

I confess.  My skin is not as thick as I thought it to be.   I was surprised at how hurt I felt by this.  I will not let the hurt grow into anger, and I am not going to allow my hurt to ripple out into sinful reactions from me.  I vow to handle this situation with grace and love and patience.  When these things happen, I always use them as teaching lessons in a blog or in my preaching and teaching.  I have already spoken with the students in Room 1501 about the passage below.  They all actually signed a card saying whether or not they would honor the teaching of Jesus below. This pic is just one card of many.  image

I hope this blog about the situation will also serve as a reminder to all of us…if the lesson needs to be learned.

I have set up a personal meeting with the people involved in this  and I look forward to sharing, what is clearly a misunderstanding by a student and parents, and I look forward to full reconciliation and forward movement.

I want to jump right to what Jesus taught about things like this.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-16,If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 

If I could be so bold as to actually retranslate this passage to fit my situation, it would read like this…

“If Trent Renner sins against you, or offends you, go and point out his fault, just between the two of you…even if it’s only with an email.  If Trent listens and the two of you work out this sin situation or what could be a simple misunderstanding, then you have won each other back and things can move forward.  But, if Trent doesn’t listen and clear up the situation with you, then take one or two others along with you, or send an email to one or two others, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”   Matthew 18:15-16 (T.R.version):)

The command from Jesus above is very clear in how the situation could have best been handled.

I am confident that after my meeting things will be fine.

So…if I can conclude with this.  If you hear about something that is taught in Room 1501/or happens at your work place/or your home… that just doesn’t seem to make any sense…then it probably didn’t actually happen…so please use the wisdom/actions that Jesus commands of us in the passage above.  Any time someone offends you…please go to the person and try to make sense of it.

I look forward to fully reconciling this situation and bringing clarity to the misunderstanding.  Any gossip that might be generated because of this post…is a whole other blog.  Don’t be a gossip.  Simply pray that we all be people who behave like Jesus.  We all have conflict resolution we need to deal with.  I pray this situation and this blog post are a motivator for you to live more holy and reconcile your conflicts as Jesus taught us to.

In the mean time…always SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD.

Jesus was pretty clear on how to handle situations like these.  Man, He is smart!  Let’s all be smart too!

The Honeymoon phase may be over…and I absolutely love Joy Christian School.  Especially those who I encounter every day in Room 1501.

I am grateful for this 3 day weekend…and I can’t wait for Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Having Done in Rm 1501 (first full week complete)

This week…was the first week of a full M-F classroom schedule in Room…Room 1501 pic

I’m amazed at how fast it went by!  I can tell I’m getting in “teacher-shape.”  My back didn’t hurt as much this week.  My feet too!  My vocal chords must be strengthening, because they are fine.  My mental and emotional assets are learning to endure and go the distance!  Training and conditioning of any kind, pays off and strengthens…but it hurts at first!

Something I’m thinking out loud about…

 

I am delighted to be a teacher.  Last Sunday night…I was excited for Monday to come! Now…maybe I’m just in a “honeymoon” phase of teaching and this joy/excitement is going to fade.  I’ll let you know in a couple of months!  🙂 I’m betting the joy doesn’t fade!

I am thinking that burnout is not from doing too much of something you love…it might be doing too much of something you actually think you love.

This week caused me to reflect about some of my teachers (when I was a student).

Most of my teachers, when I was young and in school, were good people who seemed to be passionate about teaching and also loved students.  Some of my teachers seemed to have a disdain for us.  This type always confused me.  Why would someone be a teacher if they don’t like students?

It makes no sense to me for a teacher to not like his/her students.  That would be like a minister not liking people.  It would be like a football coach not liking his players.  It would be like a race car driver who hates speed, or a dog groomer who hates dogs.  🙂

It is very clear to me that I love the students I get to teach everyday in Room 1501.  I think they sense how much I love them.  I am always excited when the door opens and the next group of students come pouring in.

As I said in the last post…When Rm 1501 students come walking through the door…they don’t have to say a word, I can tell what kind of a night, and day, they are having.  Some students eyes never lift from the ground as they sit down and sigh…defeated.  Some come in full of energy and orneriness…a spark in their eye, laughter in their heart!   Some come in faithfully disciplined, ready for whatever Rm 1501 throws at them.  A few come in, not really caring about school, but willing to give me a chance.  And as anywhere, there are always a few couples who walk in together…in love. These couples always make me smile.  Young love is fun. On occasion when these young couples come in, I will begin singing… “Love is in the air…everywhere I look around.”  Their responses to me singing are quite mixed! LOL 🙂

As a teacher I have found great purpose and joy in empathizing and eagerly embracing the things the Rm 1501 students embrace at Joy Christian High School.  I love the challenge of meeting them on their turf…I try to join them…put myself in their shoes, in their mentality, and then creatively and passionately strive to take them and elevate them to a higher and more purposeful level.  I try to get them to make sense of anything they are dealing with and face it with purpose and strength.

I especially love to approach the students… the one’s whose eyes never leave the ground when they enter…and have them leave Rm 1501 with a spark in their eye, and a smile on their face!  To accomplish this, I think you have to truly care…and you have to be very smart in approaching them.

I’m learning that the students who push me away are the ones who really want me closer.  They’re just afraid. These kind are so tired of being hurt. When I think of these types…I think I can feel how our Father in Heaven feels about us.  It is an incredible sense of love and compassion, followed up with a desire for those whose hearts have been broken…who feel nothing but cold and anger and fear… to get to a point where they know safe and holy love and acceptance and joy.  A sense of belonging.  A sense of being wanted.  

You don’t have to be a teacher to do this! You can do it everyday in whatever your profession is.  Just start looking for the people I’m talking about.  They are all around you.  Tomorrow…open your eyes and begin the process of working with God to return hope to those who gave up trying to be loved a long time ago.  Joining God in this kind of thing will bring new vigor to your daily profession.  New purpose.

I’m learning, as a new teacher, that I can never take teaching the students in Rm 1501, as an obligation.  If you and I choose to take our profession as an obligation…as a kind of necessary sort of evil…then you and I will soon be overwhelmed.  Life…even the sucky parts…are a privilege.

I am learning that Teaching is a privilege.

Whether or not you are a professional teacher…you are still a teacher.  Recognize the privilege and you will live life, tired, but full.

10 things I learned this week in Rm 1501…

1.  If someone is breaking a rule of any kind…my silence, is actually permission.

2.  I don’t have to be demanding and “stick my chest out” with a student that is breaking a rule to get them to stop breaking the rule.

3.  GOOD teachers can make students follow the rules.

4.  GREAT teachers will get the students to understand why the rule exists and get them to want to follow it.

5.  I can be a GOOD teacher if I only teach.  I can be a GREAT teacher when I learn and teach simultaneously.

6.  Taking a test is more fun than Grading 100 + tests!  🙂

7.  Getting students, in the final hour of the day, to learn at the same level as the students in the hours before them…is a true challenge!

8.  If you try to talk over a room full of noisy students…it will only amount to more noise. 🙂

9.  Students…just like you and me…love it when you remember their name.

10.  I really love being a teacher at Joy Christian School.

JCS Crest 2014

 

 

 

 


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