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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

 

 

 

 


Having Done in Rm 1501! (Week2…I am full!)

Week two as a first year teacher is complete!  Except I have some papers to finish grading and a few emails to get out. photoI have some students and a few parents to notify about the impact they are having on their sons and daughters…and it is showing in the classroom.

By impact, I mean positive and negative.   Parents are so powerful.  Mothers and Fathers are so powerful.  The impact of, “I am so proud of who you are.”  The impact of, “You are a whore.”   I can see what phrase the students heard, just hours ago at home, by simply looking into their eyes as they enter Rm 1501.  My students know they aren’t always great kids, but that doesn’t excuse certain phrases that come out of mom’s and dad’s mouth.

Two school weeks in and I have had many moments where I just want to drop the curriculum plan for the day and just walk around and hug these sophomores, juniors, and seniors to let them know how loved they are.  How important they are.

I spent all morning reading through and grading papers that I asked my students in Rm 1501 to write.  I asked them to write anything they learned this week and how it applied to their life.  This pic is just one fun example of one paragraph I found on the back of a student’s paper. photo

I wish you could read them all…you would never be the same.

I laughed as I read some really funny comments.  I was inspired as I read about hopes and dreams and biblical understanding.  I cried when I read some things.  I cried hard.   The home is supposed to be the safest place on earth for a child.  I wish I could promise all of my students, in Rm 1501, that all their homes are a safe haven to be themselves and to be free. That is a promise I can’t keep and they know it. So, the only thing I can do, is make Rm 1501 the safest place on earth.  A foretaste of Heaven.

My students know I mean that.  Some are still a little nervous, but they are learning to trust that this is going to be a great year in Rm 1501…no matter what life brings their way…they know how real it is going to be and that they can safely contribute to that real-ness.

___________________

I have so taken my teachers and my kid’s teachers for granted.  I can’t believe how hard the work is. I know every job has a hard factor to it.  But teaching…wow…I had no idea.  I have never been so tired.

As a new teacher, I am firmly aware of what teachers get paid.  I also know that teachers don’t do what they do for a money reward.

I am so grateful for what happens on the campus at Joy Christian School, but even more so in Rm 1501.  I am full.  I am content.  I am accepted.  We laugh at each other in such a positive and safe way. We wrestle with questions that I have never dealt with in any other form of 23 years of ministry work.  My feet, back, vocal chords, mental, and emotional assets have never been so tired.

But I am full.

I wish you could be a teacher for just two weeks.

I am so excited for Monday.

 

 

 

 

 


Having Done In Room 1501, (week 1)

 

Room 1501 pic 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 What is the Bible picand 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! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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!

Joy Coat of Arms

That’s what’s “Having Done in Room 1501.”

Hope you enjoyed the read.  I feel loved by you if you read this.

Thank you.

Trent

 

 

 

 


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