Good morning and happy Friday! I hope this post finds you all doing well! I don't have a lot of time right now (what else is new?), but I thought I would post a few things today.
Life is very interesting sometimes. At times I feel that my life gives good material for a sitcom. Sometimes it seems that different events in my life would be best for case studies in abnormal psychology. And then there are times that my life is one classic cliche after another. Right now, the above cliche says almost everything I could say. If I ever doubted that the above is true, I certainly don't now.
I have to say, if I haven't yet already, that I really like my job. It's a ministry. Not just one in which I am required to impart information/knowledge or even one that is primarily about helping students think in a different way. That's all true, but it's also so much more than that.
What brings me to say this? Let me give a few reasons...
- There is a young woman in one of my classes (I'll call her Lynn) with whom I got off on shaky ground at the beginning of the year. She always seemed to come in with an attitude and a chip on her shoulder. There was one day that I said to myself, "If she rolls her eyes at me ONE MORE TIME or does that neck rolling thing, I'm going to lose it!" She also turned in homework very sporadically... Her average was abysmal. Fast forward about 3 weeks... She started sharing different things about her life in her writing - in the journal entries the students write every day and in some of her homework assignments. As I read what students write, it is very important (in my opinion) that I respond in some way. Sometimes I put smiley faces or question marks... sometimes I ask questions for them to consider... and sometimes I write paragraphs. It depends. For Lynn, I've responded a lot. Mostly, I've validated her feelings and questions. I've encouraged her and also shared some of my experience of God. Well, to make a long story short, she now comes to my office every once in a while to give me an update on her life, her attitude is 100% better, I've seen her laugh (that's a big deal for her)... and she's doing her homework.
- Not too long ago I returned graded journals to my students. A student said to me, "Whoa, you actually read these?!" To which I responded, "Well, of course I did. I enjoy reading what you have to say. Why else would I have you do them?" And the student said to me, "Well, some teachers don't really care enough to read things like this. That's cool."
- A parent came up to me recently and said, "My daughter really likes your class." Because she caught me off guard, I responded with a mix of disbelief and surprise. "Really?" I responded. The mother continued to explain to me the reasons why her daughter says that. Part of the reason is because I care.
Okay. I promise I will not spend this entire blog patting myself on the back. :)
These are just a few antidotes that express a deep truth - not just a cliche. I have to say... I am deeply grateful that I have a background in pastoral ministry to compliment the background in education. Working in a high school, it seems, requires skills in education, knowledge of one's field, and skills in pastoral care/counseling. Well, I'm not sure that I should say "requires" but I will say that it has made a difference for me.
Many blessings to all who read this!