Anybody tired, overwhelmed or just plain discouraged with continuing to teach and explain the same things to your kids? I bet there are a few teachers who can relate here. I know there are times when it seems like nothing I say is getting through to my kids. For those times, I have learned to fall back on the message of the following passage: Matt 13:1-9.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear”
Jesus was teaching large crowds and he told them many things. However, the point we can take from this passage is that some received the message and some did not. In other words, we can teach our hearts out and not every one of our students will receive it the same. We should not be discouraged when they all don’t get it the first time. We must continue to do our best to deliver the information, and keep planting the seeds of knowledge that we have been given to plant. If we see ourselves as planters, then we will not focus on whether or not the harvest comes.
Keep planting, my friends! Be encouraged that the harvest is in his hands and not ours!
Right about now, the school year is in full swing and so is everything else. The paperwork on your desk is stacking up at the same time the holiday stress is lurking around the corner. However, even in the midst of all that is going on around us there is something we can do to stay above ground.
In Mark chapter 4, there is a scene described where Jesus is riding in a boat with his disciples. Verse 37 says, A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
First of all, this huge, violent wind and rain storm seemed to come out of nowhere. The disciples panicked, as anyone would, but Jesus was resting while all of this was going on around him. This scene has always been very interesting to me. However, after being in the classroom for a number of years, I can still relate to what this scene is teaching. So, here are a couple of lessons I get from it.
No matter what is going on around you, you can still keep your composure
In the midst of the most chaotic times in your life, you must make time to rest.
I think both of these lessons go hand in hand. The more I make time to rest, spend quiet time in the word and take intentional moments to be thankful…then I am more able to keep my composure. Otherwise, I will feel like I am sinking and being overtaken by the circumstances around me. So, go ahead and take care of what you need to do every day, but don’t forget to take the necessary time to rest. Jesus did it right in the middle of a storm, and so can you!
As a English Language Arts teacher, I get to teach young people how to become better writers. I get the opportunity to take them through the writing process of brainstorming ideas, creating their first draft, and then revising and editing to get them to their final draft. Throughout this process I am also teaching them how to tie their ideas together, while honing in on grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Everything I do is an effort to make their stories better.
Isn’t this what Jesus was doing as he traveled about making improvements in the lives of whomever he met? He was on a mission to make their life-stories better. Think about it, when he healed someone of a sickness, or taught them principles they could apply to their lives, he was making their stories better. Throughout the Gospels, you can clearly see he was doing things to improve the lives of people.
Friends, this is part of the pattern he left for us. When we take positive actions towards our kids, we are making their lives better. We are equipping them with the skills that are necessary for their future. Therefore, we are making their life-stories better. Honestly, when I step into my classroom and teach some of my young boys who are always in the principal’s office–I have this on my mind. I want their story to be different. I want to give them skills that will land them in college or a a job, and not in prison. I want to make their stories better!
So, as you go about your teaching journey, remember the pattern Jesus left for us and the power that you have at your fingertips. For every one of your students, you have the power to make their stories better! Blessings as you continue to make their life-stories better!
In Matthew 5:1-2, there are four points we can learn from the master teacher today. As I studied this passage, it became more and more clear that he is our example. As a teacher he is showing us how we can apply what he did, to our daily plight in the classroom. Notice the scripture:
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
The first thing I noticed was the word went. In other words, he took an action by going where he was supposed to go and being where he was supposed to be.
Lesson 1: Show up! I have heard some say that 90% of the battle is showing up. I know this is hard some times when things look bleak, but you cannot see how God will work in your favor if you don’t show up. So we have to keep showing up, trusting that he will show up on our behalf.
The next thing I noticed was the word mountainside. As I studied this word in the dictionary, I was led to the word intention, because he intended to be on the mountainside. In other words, he had one intention and that was to teach that day exactly where he was.
Lesson 2: Be intentional! For me, I think this is screaming to be intentional about everything you do as a teacher. I’m talking about everything from what you are planning to wear to what you are going to say to your students. You know they notice everything about you, so give them something to notice.
The third thing I noticed was that he sat down. This might seem like a small thing here, but I think it is huge. I’m not talking about the fact that he sat down, but I am referring to the fact that he positioned himself. To sit is to be in a certain position, and that is exactly what he did.
Lesson 3: Position Yourself! This means, as teachers we must put ourselves in a position to be successful. In other words, plan for your morning to go smoothly before you even leave the house. Plan out your lessons strategically so that no matter what interruption you encounter, you will maintain your position. When you position yourself correctly, you are setting yourself up for a good day, no matter what!
Finally, I noticed the end of the verse where he began to teach. He showed up, he went where he was supposed to go, he positioned himself, and then it was showtime. He did what he intended to do all along. He taught everything he planned to teach that day.
Lesson 4: Seize the moment! Listen, I know sometimes things get sidetracked. I know there a million things that can go wrong while you are trying to teach. I have been there when the phone rings, someone interrupts class, or a behavior demands attention. These things will happen, but the point here is to deal with things as they come, but stay focused on what you are there to do. Take advantage of every moment that you have a captive audience. Make every moment count by taking advantage of teachable moments throughout the day! Seize the moment!
I wish you well on your journey today, as you take each day one step at a time and continue to learn from the Master Teacher!
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I never imagined that I would one day live in a world where I had to plug in everything at night, in order to use it the next day. The only thing I ever had to plug in was my curling iron and that wasn’t every day. There was nothing else I needed to plug in on a daily basis in order to properly function. Fast forward many years later—enter the world of wireless technology. Last night, I plugged in my laptop, phone, tablet, and portable charger. My, my, my how times have changed! Due to these changing times, the increasing requirements in our lives, we have to recharge every night!
Friends, we must do the same thing in our lives both mentally and spiritually! Due to the daily challenges we face and the requirements of our respective jobs, we must plug in and recharge our batteries each night. You might face irate parents, disrespectful kids, unreasonable expectations, or simply someone cutting you off while driving to work. You must recharge! So, here are 5 ways to recharge everyday. I call them the 5 R’s:
Rest! Go to bed! Seriously, get some sleep ya’ll! You need at least 6 hours of sleep to be rested for the next day. Some people can survive on 5hrs. but at least 6 will have you less irritable the next day.
Read! Crack open your Bible and read a verse or chapter. Proverbs are always a good place to start, and of course, the four Gospels show Jesus living a self-less life we can all learn from. This gives your mind something to meditate on and fall back on throughout the day.
Rejuvenate! Listen to your favorite music whenever you get a chance. Research shows music does something wonderful and refreshing to the brain. I personally believe it does something incredible to the human spirit! Also, listen to inspirational podcasts, or watch uplifting videos as well.
Reward! Ok, I don’t mean knock out a gallon of ice cream every night. I’m talking about some small treats that make you feel “Rewarded”. One of my treats is a twix, or hot chocolate from SB. Whatever it takes to make you feel like you have done yourself some good for the day.
Remember! Think about why you do what you do! Think about the value you bring to those around you. Remind yourself that you were created for a purpose and that purpose can only be fulfilled by you–and only if you are recharged every day!