May 3, 2010

A teacher's prayer

Dear Lord,

Please guide me to be an instrument of your love and peace. Help me to understand the fact that my students are just children, and they still have a lot to learn. Help me to teach them which is the better choice to make when they're faced with right or wrong decisions.

I don't want to be the one to cause them to fear or hate themselves or others. I want to be the one who inspires them to love one another as you love us, and to forgive as you forgive us.

This work is difficult, and I think the reason you chose me to do this work is because you know that it's something that I would eventually be able to handle. I hope that I'm learning how to be a better teacher. Please grant me the strength to practice patience and kindness when it comes to my students and helping them to be not only better learners but also better people.

You are my stronghold. Through your Word I find joy in hope, patience in suffering, and perseverance in faith. Rather than seeking to understand, help me to seek how to be best understood. May all my life, my words and my actions be a testament of your perfection and your unconditional love.

Also, please watch over my students. When I can't be there for them, or when they're being tempted by evil, please send your Holy Spirit to guide and protect them.


P.S. I just confiscated a notebook from one of my students who was "taking notes" while he was supposed to be reading. After his 3rd warning for not reading, I took his notebook away. On the cover it says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5. Oh, the irony.

May 2, 2010

Too many hormones in 7th grade

Just when I felt like I had finally waded through the muck of teaching 7th grade (i.e., the attitudes, the nonchalance, the laziness, lack of discipline, lack of accountability, lack of honesty), here I am, stuck in the mud again.

I keep hearing over and over again, "7th grade is the worst grade to teach." Is it really true? Is it just this particular group of students? Is it me?

I know this is a pivotal time in their lives (though, what time in our lives isn't pivotal). It's a time when they're just coming into their own and learning to find out where they fit. This is the time when they begin to decide for themselves what they value as "right" and "wrong." So where is my place in this? I'm supposed to be teaching English Language Arts, but I find myself teaching them more about respect, how to make good choices, how to have courage and be accountable.

It's taking a lot of patience, patience that I've had to build up because I didn't have much of it to begin with. It's also taking a lot of energy that I should be using to teach content and ELA skills. Teaching 7th grade is so emotional. I wish I didn't take things so personally, but it's my personality to take things personally. I wonder if I'd feel differently about my role as a teacher if I were teaching another grade or if I were more...detached.

May 1, 2010

Three Little Words

Next time you feel the urge to say I heart you, why not put it more simply - "solve for i"