Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back in the Classroom Again

Today I was a teacher again. I've been out of the classroom now for 6 years, which doesn't seem possible. And honestly, in some ways, I felt like I never really left. Same age of students, same school, mostly the same faculty, same literature books, same stories. The only things that were different were the students themselves, and the life experiences I've had in the meantime.

Tonight, when Benjamin was "found out" doing something he was told not to do, even though I didn't see him do it, he said to me, "Hmph. Mom how'd you get so smart?" It took all I had not to laugh out loud, but then what he said made me think.

I'm pretty sure I'm no more intelligent than I was 6 years ago when I stood in front of the classroom every day for 180 days out of the year. In fact, in some ways, I feel a great deal LESS intelligent (mommy brain does that to a person). Then, I was "up" on all the educational theories of the moment, knew what the "best" young adult fiction was, understood the methods and modalities for presenting information the best way possible for different learning styles.

Now I'm smart in different ways. I know, for example, what a contraction is and how an epidural works; how to change diapers; negotiate with a 2 year old, to get her to eat her meat, what's a real "I-need-you-this-second-mommy cry" from a "Ha-Ha-made-you-jump cry". I know how to call the doctor when a child has a fever without crying to the nurse; how to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 15 in-laws. I know what ductal carcinoma in-situ is. And that a pregnant lady can undergo radiation treatment for breast cancer during her second trimester. I also know how to operate a combine and unload wheat into a grain cart. I also know how to determine what time the peach pie will be done in order to be just the right temperature when I get it out to the field to feed the crew.

So, I guess you could say that while out was out of education for a while, I was actually getting an education. Some of the things I've learned have been a pleasure and a joy to learn. And pretty easy. Many of the things I've had to learn have been excruciatingly difficult and very painful on both the physical and emotional levels.

But the one thing and probably the most important thing is about God's faithfulness. It doesn't matter if things are bright, sunny and going along at a pleasant pace or cloudy, stormy and recklessly pursuing, God is right here and He cares about the details in my life. It's pretty easy to just picture God as this undefinable quantity that seeps around the atmosphere, uninvolved, and uninterested in the goings-on here on earth. But through my experiences, I've learned that because I'm His child, He is deeply involved in my life, and would be more so if I'd yield my will and my "stuff" to Him. It's kind of an interesting idea really. Because He loves me so much, He will take care of the details of my life, if I focus on Him. Most of the time I get that all wrong. I'm so concerned about what I want, and where I want to be, that God kind of gets the gratuitous nod at the beginning of the day. Then I go on, planning, scheming, working toward my own end and looking to see what I'm going to get for me out of the deal. But when I focus on God and on others, my "stuff" is miraculously taken care of, most likely because I realize Who and what are important and it makes my plans look pretty puny in comparison.

I was telling one of my former colleagues yesterday that I think I'm probably a better parent because I was a teacher for a while, and that I'd DEFINITELY be a better teacher because I've been a parent. And it's true in other areas of my life too. I'm becoming a better person, and hopefully growing to be more like Christ, because of my life experiences and what God's been teaching me through them.

Just like students in the classroom though, I'm better off if I pay attention, study my Textbook, talk to the Teacher, and learn things the first time around.

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