Friday, February 26, 2016

Tales from the Classroom - episode 2

This is a more current story.

I've got a student who has a little math anxiety.  Actually I have several students with a little math anxiety.  Sometimes they express it as hate... sometimes they decide in advance to accept defeat and just don't try.  Their problem is their teacher (me) has high expectations of all her students and I do not accept the lack of trying.

I believe all students, at some level, can succeed at something that is hard.  We all can't be good at the same thing - how boring would our world be?  I feel part of my job is to hold their hands a little bit and, at the right time, let go and let them fly solo.  The first time they do something independently is something wonderful to witness.

So one student with this anxiety has decided to trust me with her feelings.  She knows I don't judge if she tries hard. And she does try very hard and mostly, pretty successfully.

The thing that frustrates me are the students who do not take advantage of offered help in a timely manner, preferring to wait until right before the test.  Many times they will stare blankly and doodle on their notesheets, not filling them out, and then consequently not understanding the content.  Then they are the students who complain about homework when half of it could have been completed before they left school.

I am fortunate.  I love my students.  I love my job.  I feel so blessed to work in a place that puts faith in Jesus above all else, where I can openly share my faith with my students.  So, when I have to be tough with them, and I am, they know it is in love and with the hope they will choose to learn something that may challenge.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tales from the Classroom

Today I was inspired to write a series for this blog - Tales from the Classroom.
I teach in a Christian school, but I teach teenagers so it doesn't really matter the setting, except I am allowed to read Scriptures and pray with my students.  I get to blatantly, lavishly show the love of Christ to these students.  It is a privilege, truly, to share their joys and tragedies, anger and joy, even the pranks and silliness.  July will begin my 10th year back in a classroom.

Here's my first story.  My first year I only taught seniors.  They were a rough class as a group, kind of like walking on broken glass.  But there were some that took my heart, made me cringe, and made me laugh out loud on a regular basis.

I saw some students who dealt with clinical depression and they would break down in the classroom.  It doesn't matter what it was.  A test.  A bad morning at home.  It was raining.  And truly it didn't matter - except that they let me help them.  Sometimes I just sent them to the office to call home.  Sometimes I went with them into the hallway and let them cry on me.  Always it broke my heart and sometimes I still wonder about those kids.  It just proved to me all the more that we do not know the baggage a student walks in with, but my prayer is that they are able to leave that baggage at the door and enjoy high school.  Then there are those for whom high school is their baggage and being in school is truly miserable. I think I hurt for those the most.

Several of the high school couples married each other.  I'm a sucker for a high school romance since I had one.

The students I tell you about do have names.  I know them but you won't.  But if you recognize yourself here, former student, know that it is with love and respect for the adult you have become.