In my 4th period class today, all of the following happened:
1. I had two students that were tardy, even though I walked PAST them to go to the bathroom during the time between classes. Meaning they passed my room, and then proceeded to “fill up a water bottle together”. Which made them late.
2. I had two students spend 45 minutes on an assignment and write 5 words between the two of them.
3. I had at least 3 students fall asleep during a writing assignment.
4. I had 5 students that genuinely didn’t understand the assignment in spite of massive scaffolding.
5. I had students laugh when I told them I was writing them up.
6. I had students lie to me.
7. I had students attempt to cheat on an assignment that was meant for practice and that I wasn’t even going to grade except for participation.
8. I had students pretend like one of their classmates was “contagious” and that if they spoke with this person they would get a disease.
9. I answered at least 150 questions. And honestly, that’s a low approximation.
10. I asked the questions, “Why aren’t you working?” and “Why haven’t you written anything yet?” at least 20 times.
So what is there to learn from all this?
I walked out of today’s class burning with a righteous anger. I was pissed off that these kids don’t care. I was pissed off that my calls home will mostly go unanswered, will mostly reach disconnected phones. I was pissed off that they have no perspective, that they don’t understand the dripping stains that go on their record when they spend the first year in high school gathering F’s and referrals. I was pissed off that some of them really just have a hard time learning. I was pissed off that no one read to them as kids, that no one told them they could achieve something.
I was so, so mad about it all.
And then I drove home. I stopped to have coffee with my friend, Jim Gernatt. Jim’s a great guy, he loves Jesus, and every time I speak with him he does a good job of pushing me toward truth. We didn’t talk much about my kids, but the conversation had my mind re-centered as I drove home. And that’s when it clicked…
God was giving me an ironic, but gentle lesson. God tries to get my attention, but I’m so often sitting at my desk in my own world. I wonder how many times He walks by me on a daily basis, and why He has the patience to ask me if I’m ready to work on things now. I wonder how often he sees my assignments not yet begun. I can go years without writing a word. I wonder how many times I’ve laughed in his face, or lied about where I’ve been over the years, or thought someone was less than me. I’m not much different than my kids, I just look a little neater with my job and manners.
I’m not going to pretend like this lesson has sunk in fully.
This will take years to understand. But God is patiently making me more like Him. That’s the promise I have in all of this. The promise of my relationship with Him is not happiness or satisfaction or contentment or any of those things. He has promised to make me Holy. And some days, he uses 25 infuriating kids to do it. Thank God for that. He could have left me