My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

May 8, 2010

Filed under: Adventures in Teaching — charredsmore @ 6:02 pm

I love this time of year.  The sun is shining, people are out walking and playing basketball.  Neighbors visiting, barbeques smokin’, people running around the park, tennis players on the court, squirrely school children ready to burst out of the classroom, and lots of celebrations!  As the school year winds down, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit.  I do this a lot anyway, but perhaps it’s in the closing of one season and the beginning of a new that I realize so much more. 

Looking back on this year of my life I am amazed.  Not at what I have done, but what God has invited me to step into with Him.  He just simply extended His hand and invited me into this little part of where He was already at work.  I grabbed His hand like a giddy little girl and away we went.  I’ve seen so much growth…in my students and in myself.  I don’t even think I can begin to describe it here on this blog post…it’s still marinating.  It’s been good, it’s been hard, it’s been amazing, and probably the most challenging thing I have ever done…yea, I’m talking about teaching.  Not just teaching…oh, no…so much more.  So, for now, I will just let those thoughts, memories, and reflections just marinade a bit more before verbally processing.

Right now we about three weeks out to closing the school year.  I’ve got some mixed emotions as I say goodbye to the 2009-2010 school year and my students.  I’m thankful for all that has transpired over the course of the year, all that we have walked through together, and how I have seen the Lord move, yet there is a part of me that is sad.  Endings are never easy.  Yes, pretty sure I am coming back for round II next year, but still, this is the closing of my first year of teaching.  Wow.  Never thought I would say those words.  There is much to be done, and yes there will be enough time to accomplish all of those tasks.  I’m not even concerned about those things.  I’m more concerned with the transition of my heart, my mind, my spirit. 

Transitioning into the YouthWorks world again will be a fun and unique dance.  They have changed (since I worked with them five years ago) and of course I have changed.  I will be in completely new territory compared to what I have grown accustomed to here in Cairo.  New, new, new.  I love it!  There are new surprises waiting to be opened.  I look forward to each new person I meet, each new relationship that is built, each new ministry we partner with, each new church group I get to interact with, each new face that reflects the beauty of Jesus, each new revelation that brings me closer to truth. 

Am I ready?  Hmmm…good question.  When do we actually feel ready for something?  I think it’s smack in the middle of actually being a part of that “thing” when you realize, “yes, I am ready and I have been equipped.”  Thank you God for this new adventure.  I look forward to this dance.

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Lessons learned in the classroom. April 28, 2009

Filed under: Adventures in Teaching — charredsmore @ 6:14 am

book 

 

In only a few short months, I could fill a book with the wonderful lessons I have learned through my teaching experience at Cairo Junior/High School. It’s ‘s a God given assignment…therefore I know I am in the right place at the right time.  True, some days I want to run out of that building, never to return, but I am learning how to deal.  Those days are slipping away.  The students are interesting…the things they face on a daily basis most of us wouldn’t understand.  They cope, they deal, they struggle, they complain, they wine, they fuss…for most of them this is all they know.  It’s all they’ve seen modeled to them in their homes and community.

 

If your environment growing up was this town….if this is all you saw…how would you know any different?  Their norm has shifted.  Cairo has somehow become their normal.  Cairo Jr/High School has somehow become their “normal”.  From generation to generation these ideas of “normal” have been passed down.  Sad.

 

For those who have not yet visited Cairo, you are probably wondering what I am referring to as “their norm.”  Come on over and see for yourself.  I began to type some examples, then thought better of it.  I need to take some of my own advice.  On the top of my chalk board, I have written “SPEAK LIFE.”  The students are so accustomed to speaking negative things to each other and over themselves, that I wanted to encourage and remind them to speak words that bring light, life, love, and encouragement.  SO, I must do the same.  There is a balance of speaking things that are true and things that ought to be, I shall SPEAK LIFE. 

 

Praise the Lord that each day in my classroom is a day of refinement.  Hopefully for my students…but definitley for me.  I am more aware than ever of my actions and words.  Each day my words and actions are on display for over 50 students to observe and I must be on my toes.  At times when I want to be funny I get sarcastic…this is getting refined as I see it is not always beneficial.  There is a balance.  At times when I get frustrated at the students, it is easy to get angry in my spirit…I must choose unconditional love.  Of course there is discipline.  I mean, without discipline, we would be quite rebellious doing our own thing.  There is discipline in LOVE from the Father, I am learning from Him how all that blends together. 

 

I am learning to love.  That 1 Corinthians type of love.  Love that does not hold a records of wrongs.  Each day the students come back into my class, I try to have a fresh perspective, new mercies.  Of course, this is difficult, but by God’s grace I try.  Love that is not boastful or proud or rude.  Love that leads to repentance.  I want to overflow the Father’s love in my classroom to my students.  They sometimes have a hard time understanding or accepting that love.  I guess we all do.  I mean, when we do wrong and someone loves us still…that leaves us questioning.  It leaves us squirming.  It leaves us speechless.  No words can describe how we comprehend God’s love for us.  Even when we were God haters, sinners, corrupt from our flesh…

He poured out His wonderful love,

                            He spilled his blood for us to live a life with Him FOREVER. 

                                                     Incomprehensible. 

                                                                         That’s the kind of love I want to flow in everyday. 

 

Let me be a vessel for you to pour your love out Lord.  Let me yield to you.  Let me speak LIFE.  Let me be your bright shining light for others to be drawn nearer to you Lord.

 

 

Did you really just say that out loud?!? March 19, 2009

Filed under: Adventures in Teaching — charredsmore @ 10:00 am

mouth

 

I can’t believe what some of the students will say and do to teachers in that place (Cairo High).  Things I would NEVER hear in my own High School growing up.  Things I would be embarrassed to say as a student.  If I was a person who was easily embarrassed I would be red in the face, but usually it doesn’t have that effect on me.  I just tell the boys they are being inappropriate.  Girls too, but usually the boys.  The girls roll their eyes or smack their lips where the boys are just flat our INAPPROPRIATE!  Not just with me either, it seems to be across the board.

I was going to write  a list of some of the quotes on here so you could get a taste of my work environment, but then I realized it is probably not even appropriate to write on my blog.  It’s not terrible, but you get the idea.  I just have to remind them they are speaking to a teacher and usually they will pull it together and stop.  I don’t get upset or anything, I realize there is a major battle (spiritually speaking) going on for the souls of these students.  I just love them.  I try to anyway.  I try to love them with Christ’s love and see them through His eyes, and then I am not offended.  Really, it’s hard to get offended with someone you love and know is coming from a place of wounding and not really trying to say things to hurt or do things that are inappropriate.  Wow, good preaching, as John Bevere would say.

Another thing…how common is plagiarism in High Schools today?  It’s so EASY for them to do it…but man!  It really gets to me.  I have to sit down and have a little convo. with a student  who did an extra credit (for cookies mind you – sine I teach Math and not English).  He copied the WHOLE paper!  There were words in his essay that I know he does not even know the definition of!  Wha…?  And you think you’re going to get away with that?  No Sir!

Before you start to judge or think too critically about the students at Cairo High…I want to paint a better picture.  Sure, they struggle with some things, but they are mostly wonderful and I give them a chance.  We actually have a lot of fun in my class, and they are are learning too!  And, it’s not all of the students who speak like that and certainly all of them are not plagerizing. I am learning how to keep my class in order, disciplining in love.  They know I care for them, but they also know they can’t get away with stuff.  Sometimes they crack me up…I’ll discipline a student by moving him to the front of the room.  The others will say, “She’s shining you man!”  No, it’s called consequences to your actions.  I guess when discipline is lacking in other places, it is hard to understand at school.

God is teaching me how to speak to the students in truth and love.  I am learning.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always good.