I have survived the first week of school! "Survived" seems pretty accurate considering the painfully early morning alarm settings and near exhaustive evenings I experienced.
In the midst of the first week's chaos there were some beautiful moments. Returning to the Community School of Davidson for the second year, I am reminded why I love teaching. There will always be days where students don't value the worth of a lesson the way I anticipated or simply try my patience, but that's just it - there is every school day where I have the opportunity to ignite a passion for learning in the heart of a student, more than one if I'm lucky. As I go from bell to bell there are always lessons I am learning. Here are a few:
1. Listening is underrated. Think back to high school. Did you cringe a little? Yeah, me too. High school was a complicated season filled with uncertain identity amidst social and familial trials not many want to relive. My students are there now. Some shut down and want to travel this season alone. Others search for a compassionate ear. When I'm lucky, I'm that ear. It may be very little things they share, but when they see I listen, their eyes sparkle a little to mimic the fullness in their heart. They just want to be heard without judgement or correction, just love. Yes, at times I'm short with them, thinking of the next period's lesson, but when I'm intentional in listening, it matters.
2. Patience is never perfected. Even when I feel I have patience locked down for that day, I'm reminded a moment's occurrence is all it takes to rattle my cage and leave me feeling irritated and anything but patient. The Lord is teaching me to breathe, not sweat the small stuff, and be patient. Which brings me to my next lesson...
3. Let the little things go. Those close to me know I have a minor...major...control problem. I like knick-knacks positioned just so on a table top, I enjoy loading the dishwasher because I can configure the best arrangement for optimal storage space and cleanliness, I like my cereal in the big yellow bowls-not the medium white bowls-with a large spoon, the little spoons don't let you get enough milk with each bite. See? It's scary. Now imagine desiring things to be a "certain way" with 20 teenagers thrown into the mix. Nope. Doesn't happen. If I expect my "certain way" to occur, I'm the only one who ends up hurt. It's just not worth it. So, I'm getting better-with much effort, mind you-to laugh things off and just let those little things go. The dishwasher may be another story, for now.
4. Love. Love doesn't hold fast to selfish desires but sacrifices for the betterment of others. A teacher's profession centers around student learning. At the core of what I do is always for the betterment of student learning. It sometimes takes sacrifices on my part with how I expect this path to learning to look. It requires me to do what is in the best interest of my students and put my interests aside. It makes me practice love.
So, 5:45 AM alarm, I still don't like you. But I do like the day you bring along. Thank you, Lord, for my job, even in the midst of my own life lessons.