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Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 11) Parent/Teacher Conference…

Just finished Week 11 in Room…

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This week was one of those weeks that forced me to practice patience and be reminded that High School is a lot more than the classroom and academia.  This week was PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE week.  It also was a NO SCHOOL Monday with Columbus day, so we only had 2 full days of school this week.  Thursday and Friday were 1/2 days because of Parent Teacher Conferences.

This week was the first time I have ever been on the teacher side of Parent/Teacher conferences.  I didn’t know what to expect.  When I used to attend Parent Teacher conferences from the parent side of the meeting…I always felt like it was time for the teacher to think that I was a bad parent because my kids weren’t doing as good as they could be.  I was always nervous going in, as a parent, on parent/teacher conferences.  I was always a bit insecure about what kind of parent the teacher thought I might be.

I think those past experiences helped me to help the parents who walked into Room 1501…relax.  I love their students and I was excited to tell them how good they are doing and how proud I am of their kid(s).

I could tell that some of the parents coming in were nervous.  I could see it in their eyes and body language.  It was obvious to me how much the parents loved their children.  It was fun to watch the parent’s nerves calm down when I began to mention their student by name, express gratefulness that their student was in my class, share details of their talents and strengths, and tell them that I felt they had a great kid.  Some parents teared up a little.

My experience from the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences taught me that every parent thinks and wishes they could do a better job of parenting.  I learned that every parent gets nervous, when confronted with what others think about their child, and how it might reflect on them as a parent and person.  I learned that every parent has a bit of panic, mixed with hope, that every teacher is helping shape their child to be successful in the world.  It was obvious to me that most parents recognize that they cannot raise their child(ren) on their own.

Every day, every parent releases their child out into the “wild” and out of the control of their loving arms.  I can really see it in the moms of the world.  I’m convinced nearly every mom…even when deeply frustrated with their students of Room 1501…wonders if they will see their child again at the end of the day.  What if the car crashes?  What if there is a shooter at the school?  What if there is a tragic accident on the sports field?  What if?  What if?  Seems to be a lot of worry in our world.  I guess it begs to ask the question as to if worry is sinful.

I heard a preacher recently talk about how worry is sinful and evil.  I was frustrated at the lack of Biblical truth behind that teaching. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that worry is evil.  It may say that worry is useless, but it is not evil.  I do not think that worry is a sin…I think worry is useless and a waste of time.  I challenge any “disagree-ers”…to show me the Bible verses that say Worry is evil or sinful. Some might argue that worry is a lack of trust in God.  I”m not sure you can prove that by using the Bible.   Worry could be an intense love for the things you care deeply about.  Worry might be because you recognize that God asked you to steward some things of His and you want to do an excellent job.   The only way I will agree that worry could be a sin is if the worry consumes us, controls us and causes us to behave sinfully.  However, I do not think that worry in and of itself is a sin.  The Bible is loaded with a lot of “little” things that it calls sin…worry is not one of them.

(At the end of this blog…if you’d like to do a Bible Study on Worry, I will include some Bible verses for you to do so.)

I would venture to say that Jesus worried.  I think it is a fair guess to say that Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, had such anxiety, stress, and pressure, that blood came to the surface of skin.  This condition is called Hematidrosis. (read about it in wikipedia here). Jesus begged the Father, three times, to let Him out of the crucifixion.  I think Jesus was worried at that moment…without sinning.  I don’t want to get off subject too much, but the reality is…worry is useless…but I do not think it is evil or sin…in and of itself.   In fact…agreeing with that might cause you to worry less. 🙂

When I met the parents of the some of the students of Room 1501…and noticed a little worry on their faces…I know for a fact that I was privileged to be able to help them relax and worry a little less about their students.  Their worry/concern helped me to realize something about being a teacher…

I think the greatest thing I learned by being on the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences was…as the Bible Teacher in Room 1501, I get to spend more time with these parent’s kids than they as the parents get to.  I have lunch with them everyday, I have them in class in a Question and Answer format…everyday.  I see them walking through the corridors and hanging out with their friends…everyday.   I see them laugh, fight, love, work, play and relax, every day…Monday through Friday…everyday…did I say every day?

So…as a first year teacher experiencing my first Parent/Teacher Conference…I will never take teachers for granted again.  (I recognize I have said that phrase a lot since becoming a teacher)…

Teachers do not just educate our personal children, they are one of the most critical contributors of turning our boys and girls into Men and Women.  Can you think of another person or organization that gets to spend that much time with our kids?  The Church on the corner doesn’t get that much time.  Our kid’s friends down the street don’t get that much time.  Television doesn’t get that much time. Teacher’s do.  Where your kids goes to school might be one of the most developmentally important decisions we as parents make in our children’s lives.  Hmmmm.

I learned a lot this week from my experience in Room 1501.

End of Blog________________________________

Beginning of Worry Bible Study…if interested…

  • Matthew 6:25-34

    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Luke 12:24-34

    Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Matthew 11:28-30

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  • Colossians 3:15

    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16

    Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
  • Psalm 55:22

    Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Proverbs 12:25

    An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
  • Philippians 4:6-7

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-8

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
  • Psalm 23:4

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
  • Psalm 56:3

    When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • Romans 8:38

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

 


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!