Suffering but FREE

My husband and I were lucky enough to completely escape the honeymoon stage of marriage, I would say.

That’s a funny statement, isn’t it?

Within 1 year we were faced with job changes, job losses, financial distress, surgery, an infertility diagnosis, pregnancy, first mortgage, 2 ant infestations, and a few other events that weren’t as exciting, but still stressful. There was no hiding each other’s true temperaments- stress provoked reactions in each other I am sure neither on of us dreamed of ever revealing, especially within the first year of marriage. We were forced to be 100% vulnerable and raw before each other. We were driven to our knees many times.

A lot of suffering took place in our first year- emotional and physical. I used to accept the pat answer of Christians that suffering doesn’t come from God, that He just allows it. I accepted that God is a loving God and our sufferings are temporary on earth. But then suffering started to occur in my own life at a whole new level that I had never before experienced. I don’t know why so many woman suffer from miscarriage and infertility. I don’t know why a friend just a little older than me suffers from breast cancer. I don’t know why my husband struggles to find a job he loves when he is the hardest working man I know. I don’t know why another friend lost his eye sight at such a young age. I have asked, “If God is loving, why do we suffer so?” When faced with infertility and a massive surgery I asked why I must suffer so? What did I do to deserve this? Or not do?

Then my perspective started to change. Heaven suddenly wasn’t so lofty and far away. The thought of being the Bride of Christ in Eternity became real for the first time. I began to treasure the time with my husband in a new way. Whatever time I have on earth with him (I hope many decades) I will use that time to allow Jesus to sanctify me. There is no marriage in Heaven- WE are the bride of Jesus Christ; He is our husband. That being said the time on earth with my husband is priceless. Whatever time I get to be Christ to my husband on earth, to love honor and serve him, I am grateful. I am grateful that one day all suffering will be gone and we will be in GLORY! I am thankful that Jesus Christ has set me free so I can type these words.

John 8: 36 AMP “ So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.” 

We are UNQUESTIONABLY free. Suffering is real and it sucks. Sometimes, even though I have walked with Jesus for a long time, I think He is not fair and I’m hurt, angry. But I know and believe that one day I will walk with Him on the streets of gold and nothing else matters. I don’t have the answers. Right now I am 33 weeks pregnant, sick, exhausted and have several displaced ribs. I am in severe pain. That is just to name a few things “wrong.” But I still love the King. I am still HIS and I intend to serve Him.

I guess right now He is calling me to rest- I don’t have to strive. Nor do you, dear friend. I eagerly anticipate being used by Jesus as a Mom. I see my husband and I opening our home and hearts to kids, maybe even adopting one day. May everyone who enters our home feel the Presence there.

 

Simplicity in the Classroom and Home

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Has anyone else noticed the recent push for a more simplistic, conservative life style? With shows like Tiny House Big Living and Pinterest posts about the “minimalist closet” one has to be curious what this is all about and if, perhaps, you could be someone who needs to simplify.

There are a plethora of ways and aspects of life to simplify. From schedules to kitchen counter top clutter to bedtime routines, our lives could all use a little, at least, more simplicity.

In my classroom stacks of paper accumulate quickly. As do emails, phone calls, and random, needless handouts for announcements which only pertain to a few people. It can be rather maddening. In addition to this obvious and expected clutter, there is the “clutter” which students bring to my classroom. When students share their lives with me, how they work, dance, cheer, play club hockey, club volleyball, sing, take flute lessons, and sleep 5 hours a night, I feel overwhelmed! When did it become acceptable to not just be busy, but literally never be home? When did it become acceptable for your child to only participate in one extracurricular, but three and two clubs and a piano lesson in addition to that? When did it become not just tolerable but admirable to spend your evenings and even your Sundays toting your child around from practice to practice? Good grief! Who on earth are we trying to impress and why on earth is it necessary for your child to be in literally EVERYTHING? What happened to choosing one thing and being really good at it? Why can’t they just turn in their French homework on time? Is that so much to ask?!

Enough of my rant.

Simplicity in the classroom. There are a few ways I practice it. First, for all of the meaningless handouts we receive I have a recycle bin. I have a rule- if it is blank on one side I put it in the bin and the students can still use the clean side for an assignment. Otherwise, it goes in the trash.

Second, Grade promptly and hand back papers promptly. For me, prompt is within 5 days of assigning it and the students turning it in. For some teachers prompt is within 24 hours. They have super powers I can only dream of.

Finally, I clean my desk every Friday before I leave for the weekend. My final class of the day has the pleasure of joining me in a 5-10 minute cleaning spree (hey, it’s their classroom too). We disinfect all the desks, wipe down the chalkboards and I totally clean my desk off. It is wonderful to walk in on Monday morning to a de-cluttered, disinfected classroom.

Simplicity in my personal life looks a little different. First of all, I am adamant about my schedule staying de-cluttered. Jesus, my future husband (fiance), and family are my top three priorities, in that order. As a teacher, I refuse to coach or take on any duty which requires excessive time outside of school hours. The power of the small “no” cannot be underestimated. I make sure I am home after work and stay home at least two nights a week. This is wonderful! I love nights at home!

Second, I try to keep my material possessions under control. I have a temptation to be materialistic. I LOVE clothes, make up, shoes, jewelry, stationery, books and all things feminine and girly. And if I did not have Jesus at the center of my life, I would probably make those things my god. I have a rule- for every new article of clothing I gain (shirts, bottoms, or dresses, and sometime shoes) I have to get rid of (donate) one item of the same kind. This way, I have a continuous cycle of clothing and do not keep old items I only was wearing once a year anyway.

This school year I have challenged myself- Starting in August I promised I would not buy ANY NEW CLOTHING ITEMS for the entire school year. Now, that may not seem like a big deal. But think about how easy it is to stop in TJ Maxx or Wal-Mart after work and pick up a new sweater or blouse? I am thankful to say I am learning to be content with just what I have. The only clothing item I have bought since school began was a cardigan sweater with thumb-holes because I have a serious cold-hands problem. I keep it in my classroom and wear it at school only.

Last I carry a verse in my heart from the Psalms through the day. Before I exit my vehicle in the morning, I read a Psalm and choose a line to carry on my lips and heart for the day. Scripture helps remind me to stay simple and humble.

How can you simplify today? Perhaps you don’t have an affinity for all things girly like I do, but instead your weakness is food, or saying “yes” when you should say “no,” or home decorations and crafts, or filling your schedule with too many activities. I have found that we often inherit our weaknesses, but we are not bound to them. Only you can decide what and how you need to simplify.

Joshua 24:15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

 

 

The Close of Year Three

I cannot believe I just typed those words- “The Close of Year Three.” This year of teaching went by more quickly than the first two and was even busier. I neglected my blog terribly- I can’t believe I only made three posts this school year! This academic year was unique in that I enrolled in and Aced my first two graduate courses, taught French IV for the first time, and began dating. This created a far more stressful, but rewarding, year.

I have, of course, already thought ahead to next year and created several goals for myself. Some are new goals and some are renewal goals.

  1. Maintain an attitude of professionalism and respect towards all staff and students
  2. Create more student-centered, 21st century goal-oriented classroom activities
  3. Always begin class with clearly stated goals/what students will be able to do and know. Then, end class with a brief assessment examining how close we are to those goals
  4. Complain less. Thank more. Pray more.
  5. Remember Whose I am and that I am here for such a time as this

There are several other things I want to do and accomplish, but I think those five goals are simple, attainable and realistic. I hope to also teach on the principals the United States of America was founded upon in World History when discussing classical civilizations and their governments. I hope to foster an environment of collaboration, hard work, and intention. Finally, I want my students to think for themselves, be reflective, and  problem solve rather than depend on a phone or someone else.

Can I accomplish all of this in my fourth year of teaching? No, not for every single student. But can I perhaps foster these principles and dreams in some of them, making a small but mighty impact? Yes! And I certainly intend to.

Here is a toast to my third year of teaching- you taught me much. I look forward to what Jesus has in store for year four. I can’t believe He has lead me to teach here for three years, and quite possibly, God willing, a fourth. After that only He knows where I will be.

Busy doesn’t mean Holy

It’s been a long day. I am done teaching and all of my students are gone. I am now hanging out in my classroom and should be preparing translation work for my French students. However, I have many things on my mind and and have not written in quite some time and so, here I am.

“Here I am.” That phrase has such depth, especially when spoken from the heart of a christian to their Savior, Jesus. My question is, to both myself and anyone reading, do we really mean it? We go to church, read the Word, sing hymns which declare this phrase and echo it back in our hearts. Yet, we are so busy. Even those of you reading this who are not Christians, also, can declare this in your heart regarding family, jobs, and relationships. Are you truly present to your family, your work, and your spouse?

It seems to me that in the ever-demanding calls of this 21st century we have come to equate busyness with holiness. Activity with purpose. Action with intention. It is interesting, though, that nowhere in scripture do we see a busy person thought of as righteous. Someone who is “doing” does not not mean they are living with purpose. Just because you are acting does not signify that you are acting with intention. Is your heart in it? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it because you can’t say no? Feel obligated? Want to please others?

Do your actions, intentions, and activities bring glory to God the Father? Do you set time aside for Him? If you are not walking with Jesus, do you set aside “me time” to just sit down and be?

This is something I have struggled with for years. I watch my co-workers and other figures in my life outside of school raise families, attend upper level education, work full time, practice ministries, and assist family. I often have felt like I am not doing enough. It has been so bad that at times in the evenings when I am caught up on grading and have nothing to do, I feel guilty. I feel like I have to do something productive or I am not fulfilling my calling. I am not living with purpose. Because so many people today (good hearted people) work and labor after so many things, I have come to feel that I am wrong if my life does not model that.

This is a lie.

While all of these things are good and can even aid one in achieving holiness, I feel that we have equated these things as holiness rather than a possible means to it. This story may be cliche to some of you reading, but let me remind you of it once more. Mary and Martha. Luke chapter 10, verse 39- “And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” And we all know how that story ends- “ one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” (RSV).

There are many other scriptures which also point to being still before the King (Psalm 46:10, Exodus 14:14). There may be some translations which read differently, but the gist of it is this: If what you do prohibits (stops) you from sitting down at Jesus’ feet and just being with Him, has it become your idol? When you say “Here I am,” are you really there? Or just partly available?

During this holy week, I will be examining my heart. Lord, show me any wicked way…

Walk by Faith

Walk by faith. Ah, that expression has become cliché to those of us who have been Christians for many years or grown up in the church. “Christianeeze” is the third language I consider myself fluent in and unfortunately, some of the richest phrases of this tongue have lost their impact on me as my heart has become immune to them. But God is faithful to bring these phrases, some direct scripture and some truth though not directly scripture, to me and ordain my circumstances so that these expressions become new to me, nearly tangible.

Walk by faith when you have nothing to hold on to. When you have been doing the same thing, the same task, for month or years and God whispers “just be faithful.” And you are wondering all the time when this chapter will end and a new one will start. You thought you were ready for a new chapter long ago, and yet the Lord gently stayed your heart to remain as you are. This is walking by faith.

I was somewhat spoiled as a young Christian in my teen and college years. I would seek God’s direction, receive it. And then He would confirm it in various ways so that there was no doubt left in my mind. That was then, this is now. Now, I have nothing to hold on to, no one. I walk into my high school every morning a little before 7 awaiting the demands and needs of students, administrators and co-workers. So often, I leave exhausted wondering how I am going to have the energy to do it all again tomorrow, let alone 6-7 more months. I wonder if I am making any difference, am I nothing more than a hypocrite? Am I “pushing back the dark,” being a light? I feel like I fail my Jesus everyday as I grow impatient, my tolerance gets pushed far past its limits, and sometime I give up. Yes, I give up. When I pour everything I have into my students, lesson plans, and try to think of ways to motivate them, help them grasp this language that I enjoy so much and receive no positive feedback at all, sometimes I give up.

I give it my all and it still does not seem like enough.

I grow short and yell or say something I wish I could take back. I’m so human. Should I even stay, am I doing any good? And yet here I am, at the same place a third year in a row and for God had not nudged my heart to move. Teaching is the hardest thing I have ever done and yet I don’t want to quit doing it…ever. I want to keep teaching, maybe not the same level or subjects, but I love it.

Before, God would give me multiple things to hold on to, ways to let me know I am on the right track but I feel like now He is saying, “My daughter, it is time to grow up. It is time to trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be regardless of feeling or fear. I am here, you need not fear.” I feel so ready for a new season in life and yet I am still in this one. And all I have is Jesus. I act like He is not enough, I’m such an idiot! Why is it when I was younger it was so easy for Him to be my all in all and to trust and now it is an everyday battle? Jesus, I am thine.

As you, too, dear friend, walk by faith and God gives you nothing tangible to grasp, find a promise of His to clasp. I now know what it is like to keep pacing along, with His Holy Spirit when you feel like all you want to do is run! I know how it feels when you desire something deeply and the Lord does not seem inclined to bless you any time soon. I know what it is like to hope and believe for something, a healing, a job, a confirmation, and the still small voice just whispers “wait.” It’s hard, but He is Our God and He is good.

Below I have included three images which are symbolic of God’s promises. They are reminders for me of who God is and all that He can do.

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The Fear of Missing Out- FOMO

The Fear of Missing Out. I see it everyday in my classroom, on my students’ faces as they glance at their phones, and in the hallways as they can’t peel their eyes away from their screens. Do you know what else? I see it in my own life, just manifested perhaps a little differently.

Now, you may be reading this and thinking, well it is obvious your students are missing out on what is right in front of them, they are staring at their phone all day! But that is just it- they think that by staying constantly connected through texting, Snap Chat and other mediums, they aren’t missing out.

I feel that social media is LARGELY to blame for the fear of missing out. We browse through newsfeeds, photos, tweets, and who knows what else catching the latest glimpses of the lives of others. We find a picture or status of a friend and see that they did something without us. Gasp! We missed out! We see the picture of our friend and her husband/boyfriend standing on the top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley and instantly wish that was us with our significant other (or wishing that we had one at all!). We hear of a friend achieving the position of a better job and feel let down that we are in the same position we have had for months or years and desire to be somewhere else. We look at statuses and comments and see that the guy or girl we have a crush on “liked” their status but not ours. What’s he/she doing? Does he/she still care about me? Or, better yet, the passive aggressive types out there post a not-so-subtle post which is quite actually a jab at you. Thanks for that. Perhaps women struggle more with this than men, but I know guys struggle too- it’s human nature. A friend of mine once told me that men and women aren’t so different from each other. In some ways, I agree with him on that.

Now, I will get back to the fear of missing out in just a minute, but let’s talk about gratitude first.
Gratitude is the anecdote to the fear of missing out. And along with gratitude is trust. One of my absolute favorite quotes of all time is from St. Teresa of Ávila “Trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.” When we are browsing through our newsfeeds, photo feeds, blogs, tweets, and whatever else you do and you come across something that makes your heart drop just a little bit, thank God for something that day. When you end a relationship with someone and you are tempted to message or text them because you want to fill that void, pause, and instead thank God that He has someone else out there. When you see a friend who just achieved that master’s or doctorate degree that you are still working towards and feel that will never be achieved, thank God for the opportunity to learn at all. When someone else gains a new position with a better organization, company or school, thank God that you have work at all. When someone else seems to have more free time than you and you work four 12 hour days a week plus 5-8 hour days Friday-Sunday, trust God that He has you in the work He has you in for a reason this season. When you see a friend with a cute scarf and you think that you want something similar, pull up a tab, type in “cute scarves” and order one. (Just kidding on that last one, I wanted to make sure you were still reading ;)) (But seriously, a girl can never have too many scarves.)
I just started reading the book by Ann Voskamp “One Thousand Gifts.” If you want to read something raw, real, and that will hit home, order a copy now! My roommate from France introduced me to this book in summer of 2014. It took me until now to get my own copy and start reading. My roommate, Rebekah, had read the book and started a thankfulness journal. She wrote things she was thankful for in it EVERY DAY. Her notebook, a simple composition book, was nearly full. She had received well over 1000 gifts, and I guarantee that if I did the same, I would fill a notebook too. Rather than browsing through thousands of words, pictures, and memes a day, what if we browsed through the gifts of the day?

The fear of missing out can be remedied through trust and thankfulness. One can also decrease the chances of the fear popping up through self-control. What if you stopped browsing through your newsfeed at all? Delete the apps from your phone and only access social media through your computer? What if you make a 30 day, 6 month, or one year commitment to not post anything except scriptures, or prayer requests? Do we really need to post pictures of our times with friends every week or month? No. Post a status which declares the fabulous time we are having with our best friends? No. Before you post, ask yourself this question: is what I am about to post true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? Because I guarantee somebody out there will be meditating on it. (Phil. 4:8)

I am half-way through trimester 1 of teaching, we have 2 and a half tri’s to go! I am ready for thanksgiving break, as most teachers are at this point:) Pray for me, and if you have something praiseworthy to say, leave a comment.

Here are some pictures of my classroom, I designed both bulletin boards myself. The middle picture is my cozy desk area. I love my antique wood desk. Notice the cute little pumpkin:

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The Year of Joy; A Season of Change

There are so many directions I could go with this post. Therefore, this will not be the most focused post I have ever written because I can’t choose!
First, notice the title of this blog post. In my first two years of teaching I was so overwhelmed, struggling just to keep my head above water, that I usually forgot to enjoy what I was doing. That is the reason I went into this profession, right? Because I enjoy kids and teens and want to help them become better people? How easy it was to forget that I love what I do! A few weeks ago I was talking to a dear, older Christian woman who has had a tremendous impact on my life. At the end of our time together, she prayed with me and told me that this was to be my year of joy. This was the year that I would find my joy not only in the Lord, but in the everyday, sometimes mundane, ins and outs of my teaching profession. So, that is my heart this school year, this third year of teaching- to find joy in my students, my work, and even my co-workers.
My first eight days of teaching held many ups and downs. As I dealt with the usual issues of teenagers and trying to keep ahead, I was also struggling with some personal things. Yet, in spite of all of that, it was the least stressful first week of school I have ever had! Praise God! I LOVE my students, they bring me such joy and such distress, lol! I take the good with the bad. Just this past week I had a student come to me in tears, telling me of her mother’s hurtful comments towards her. How I wanted to just wrap my arms around her and tell her it’s not true; you are beautiful, wonderful, original, made in the image of God Himself. However, as you know, I really cant. I tried my best to comfort her by simply being a listening, non-judgmental, ear.
I had another student say “Miss K, I just can’t learn this stuff. I just can’t do it.” Nothing breaks a teacher’s heart more than to hear one of her students say “I can’t.” And it was not just a “I can’t because I am too lazy to study.” It was a true “I have a learning disability and this is really hard for me.” Oh, how I wish I could change that for you! I will do everything I can, dear student, to help you LEARN and succeed. You CAN do it. I believe that with ever fiber of my being.
Other students come to me with relationship issues (Hah! As if I am an expert on that!), they bring pictures of new puppies and kitties and share that joy with me, they come to stay ‘guess what?! I studied for the quiz.’ Yes…good, studying, what a novel concept…My job is never dull. I really can never emphasize that enough.
This will be a full year for me, a season of change in many ways. I am co-leading two clubs/organizations as well as a series of field trips. I will be starting grad courses in the near future. I have starting to attend a new church, something I did not expect, but I like it. It is a season of change in my life. There is just one more change I can’t help but hope for…
To conclude, this will be, this is, the year of Joy. To help me to fully embrace that, I created a playlist of seriously joyful music. It contains a little bit of everything from French to English, to Tobymac to Uptown Funk. My favorite song on it is “Found in You” by Vertical Church Band. It begins with a series of “oh’s”, drum beats and electric guitars. The first time I heard it this vision came to my mind:
The streets of the New Jerusalem, Heaven, lined with millions of souls, believers. Every musician from all of time playing their hearts out for the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We are worshiping, anticipating the arrival of the One. Then He comes, the One for whom our hearts long, as we cry “oh” with everything within us. Every tongue confesses He is Lord and every knee bows.
I told this image to my parents and my Dad said that he would be over by the Beethoven section, lol. I said I would be found over by Bethel Music and Hillsong. But really, it doesn’t matter what your taste in music is, because Heaven will be the greatest fulfillment of everything we have over loved.
So, I warned you this would be all over the place. I hope you did not mind:) May this be a year of JOY for you as well. JOY= Jesus, Others, You.

Fulfillment

Tears swept down my cheeks and I wept in the silence of my car as I drove away from camp this afternoon. They were bittersweet tears of joy in the Lord, and sadness that camp is over. I am crying again as I write this, haha!

Waking up each morning at 7 am, the skies bright and clear, to the sound of the clanging bell. Listening to chatter below my window as the teens gathered for breakfast and supper each day. Walking down to my dear friend’s cottage to prepare breakfast for myself. Sitting in the youth tabernacle with 100 teens praising our God at the top of our lungs. Scooping out food in the kitchen with some of the greatest people I have ever met. Shifting on the old wooden pews in the Tabernacle trying to get comfortable. Fanning myself with a paper fan staying cool and watching others around me do the same.  Late night talks and games with dear friends in cottage 74. Racing across the grassy field to put tickets in a bucket with the teens. Go Hoolikanes! Praying late at night for God’s anointing on the speakers the next day. Eating lunch with missionaries from around the world. Raising my hands in praise as the song leader sings “Glorious Day.” Speaking in French with one of the evangelists and his family. Imagining what Ezra and Arze look like. I could go on and on. This is Hollow Rock Camp. This is the place that captured my heart 3 years ago and I have not got it back since.

The musty scent of my belongings brought a smile to my face as I unloaded my car once home. For some people the musty valley is disgusting. For me, it is home. Hollow Rock Camp is the greatest place on earth and the closest one will ever come to Heaven before actually being there.

I went to camp hoping, praying God would speak to me specifically about some things. I went with anticipation and expectation to the sacred grounds of Hollow Rock where God has been faithful to meet me in the past. He was faithful once more, but not in the way I expected. To be completely honest and vulnerable with you, dear friends and other readers, I hoped that just perhaps this could be the camp where I would meet the one I pray for so often. Well, to keep it simple, I did not. At least, not that I am aware of. For the past couple years I have eagerly stood on tip-toe scanning the crowd of faces hoping for his. But at the same time, knowing in the quiet of my heart, that God would be faithful to bring someone in His timing and I don’t need to look. He asked me again at this camp if I would let go, surrender. And in the silence of my soul, I whispered a tearful ‘yes.’ Yes, Jesus, I am done looking. I am done being disappointed when someone I meet doesn’t seem to be for me. It is in Your hands. This is freedom.

Now do I believe I will be single the rest of my life? I honestly have no idea. I prefer to be married, for sure, but at the same time I want to be the most effective I can be for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. And if that means being single, then so be it. There is much more that the Lord did in my heart at Hollow Rock Camp and through out this summer. As I head into my third year of teaching, I can’t help but wonder what my future holds. Where the Lord will take me, who He will bring into my life. I do not know what my future holds, but I know the One who holds it. I can’t wait for next year. Only 360 days to go!

One of the new blessings of Hollow Rock this year was how many of my friends came to camp. I also made new friends. Ed, Jane, Shaina, Julie, Julia, Monsieur Key, Dale, Jeremy, Ranita, Faith, Jerome, I love you all and can’t wait to see you again. On a side note, sharing a room with your best friend at camp is pretty much the best. It was also a blessing to see God move in tremendous ways in another friends’ life. God has his mark on him.

With this I close: The Snake’s in trouble. Hallelujah!

My dorm from behind
My dorm from behind

Pictures of Student Projects

Mini environment
Mini environment

imageimageimageimage Bread- Students read about what Ancient Romans ate and made bread as it was a staple in their diets Meso-America-Tea-dyed yarn created for Quipus. Quipus were used in place of written language in the Andean civilizations

Meso-America. Students re-created a burial mask and drew an image of stela- carving of the nobles. Someone drew me a giraffe and I thought it was cute.image  Ancient Rome- students made a crucifix from a wooden ruler and clothespins- creative!image Quipus- the strings used in place of written language

3 Things Educations Programs Don’t Teach You….

I can’t believe that in a few weeks, I will finish my second year of teaching. It seems like yesterday I was all dressed up, wearing my cap, gown, and honors chords marching through the field-house with a few hundred others. Thinking about it kind of makes me want to do it again, master’s degree perhaps?

Well, in these past two years I have learned far more than I ever dreamed was possible. I am so thankful for these past two years of teaching and that God allowed me to land a position in the public school. Of all the lessons I have learned, here are a few for those out there who are still new to the teaching profession like me.
There are 3 things educations programs don’t include in their curriculum,; at least, not in private christian universities:
1) Don’t take it personally
2) Interruptions are more common than you ever dreamed
3) Unexpected opportunities

Let’s begin with the first. Man, I wish someone had repeated this to me a few times in my education courses. In today’s culture and society, we are taught, preached, even shoved down our throats that we are “going to make a difference” “touch lives” and the cliche “change the world.” When you hear that repeated over and over again, and are already susceptible to having an idealistic mindset, those words sink in pretty deep. You develop an image in your mind of how that will play out in the real world. Students who fail all other classes suddenly get A’s in yours. Students who were former bullies abruptly change their ways after a few months under your teaching. Um, yeah right. This is hard to accept, but the important thing I have learned is when a student comes into my classroom and shows signs of failure within the first two weeks, tells me I am the worst teacher ever, cheats, and writes vulgar things on their homework, it is not about ME. Very rarely is actually about or because of me. It is my duty to act as a professional (working on that) and try my best (attempted daily) and leave the results up to God. I can’t change someone, I can only be obedient to the present moment He has called me to. So the bottom line is, when people are less than kind(co-workers or students), don’t take it personally.

Interruptions are the bane of my existence. When you go through an education program, they program you (pardon the pun) to think that if you create thorough lesson plans complete with motivations, differentiated instruction, and exit slips, everything is going to go well. Sure, a glitch here or there may occur, but for the most part it will be smooth sailing. HA! Ever hear of these two inventions- the telephone and intercom/loudspeaker? It is a rare occasion, and I do mean rare, that I teach an entire 70 minute period without an interruption. Students walk in, principals walk in, birds fly into the window, anywhere between 1 and 5 announcements can be made in one period (seriously), fire drills occur, the phone rings, unexpected assemblies are called… You get the idea. You have to learn to be flexible because those interruptions are not going away.

Finally, my favorite, unexpected opportunities. If you are a Jesus-loving Christian in any type of work environment, you always hope for these. Sometimes a student will walk in during your planning period, plop themselves down in a desk, and share their heart. They will ask you about your beliefs and specifically how you get to Heaven. And you, always prepared to give and answer for the hope in you, respond to their questions thoroughly and honestly, without preaching at them/telling them what to do. You are surprised and full of joy that this is happening. And you did nothing to make this happen, except be PRESENT. Are you ready for the unexpected?

Those are three lessons I have learned over the last two years. I am looking forward to learning many more and writing about them. I am thankful to each of you who read my blog and support me in prayer. To God be all the Glory, now and forever. I am so unworthy, so humbled that He uses me, who messes up so much, to further His Kingdom.