Tag Archive | teaching

Teach Your Children Well

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Every Friday we write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “teach.”

For 15 years, our family was involved in a K-8 parent-involved school where if your kids were enrolled, at least one parent had to work on campus in some capacity. Our first year, when our eldest started kindergarten, I was pregnant and due with our third child just 5 weeks after school started, so my job was working in the school office one day a week.

But two years later, I was tasked with becoming the registrar and a member of the management team for the school. After 6 years on that job, I took a step back and became the teacher’s assistant for our middle school teacher. But within a month, our new 3rd grade teacher decided to un-enroll her kids, and therefore a void was left on the teaching team. Now, I had said that I was not a teacher and I would never teach, but as I prayed over the need for a new teacher in my daughter’s 2nd grade class (one of her current teachers stepped into the 3rd-grade role), God changed my heart.

And so I took on the task of co-teaching 3 little 2nd graders (it’s not a big school). Within two years, I was asked to lead the breakout of our 6th graders into a new class of their own, separate from the other middle schoolers in 7th and 8th.

For the next 5 years, I lead the 6th grade class and taught language arts and humanities. I got to teach my daughter again in 6th grade, now with several more classmates than just the 3 from 2nd grade.

But what didn’t click in those years of saying I would not be a teacher, was that, even prior to 2010, I was teaching my kids every day those principles that I prayed would stay with them a lot longer than Greek and Latin roots: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

Ride Into The Danger Zone–Or What Teaching Seemed To Me To Be

schoolhouseAt the beginning of last year, I set out to list 1,000 things for which I was thankful. I stalled out at 860. As we approach the end of the school year–and my first year of teaching 6th grade–I want to work on completing that list. Today’s are all school related, but the rest won’t necessarily be. Better late than never, so here goes the first of the last:

861. Jenni, my fun and capable co-teacher who has owned the science curriculum
862. Iris, my math teacher, because I would be totally unable to teach that subject, but she loves it
863. An hour at the beginning of each school day to gather my thoughts and consult with the teacher who has taught this curriculum for 16 years
864. 10 bright, happy students who have given their all this year
865. A grace-filled school that understands my limitations but entrusted me with this job anyway
866. That our school is right across the street from my house
867. For relatively little drama in my own house so that I could have the emotional energy to tackle this job
868. The Internet, which allows me to look up information on the fly when I have very little knowledge of the subject I’m teaching
869. My education, which taught me more than I thought about things like ancient civilizations
870. Julie, Michele, Sheryl, Christine, Gigi, Sheri, Cristina, Jo and Jill–my students’ moms who are also my friends
871. Carol, my stupendous teacher’s assistant
873. Mary Alice, the aforementioned previous teacher of this curriculum. Her input saved me many, many times
874. A management team who believed I could do the job
875. My husband, who put up with my hours of lesson planning and paper grading
876. Grace, both to do what I feel incapable of doing and to cover my many mistakes
878. Recess
879. Field trips
880. Latin curriculum so that I have tracks to run on
881. My iPad and Apple TV, which way rock over overhead projectors
882. Shari, our teacher mentor, for her input
883. Flexibility
884. Starting each week with teacher prayer
885. My students, because they’re engaged, fun, good kids with good attitudes and good hearts

That’s all for today. It’s good to look back and remember all the good that has happened. It gives me a renewed breath for looking ahead to next year.

Happy Birthday To Me

ImageToday is my 51st birthday. I still haven’t gotten used to that number 5 being at the beginning of my age. I don’t feel 50-something. I’m told I don’t look 50-something. But I can’t escape the fact: I am now middle-aged.

But, whereas friends younger than I have married kids–and my eldest is still in high school and my youngest is only 10–I can get away with pretending I’m younger for just awhile longer.

But some facts just can’t be denied: the gray patches in my hair are getting more prevalent; in March I will have been married 22 years; I can remember the first moonwalk and watching it on a black and white TV. That puts me in a certain era, doesn’t it?

Getting older has never been my favorite activity, but ever since I turned 50, I’ve been trying to see the benefits. So to end my 51st year, I’m going to try to think of some of those now.

1. I am able to lead younger women and help bring up the next generation.

In my role as the lead 6th grade teacher at Trace Academy, I have the awesome responsibility of leading a young mom who serves as my co-teacher. I hope that some of my wisdom helps her along the way, though she is more than capable of carrying on herself with great maturity. Her children are still very young, so I can help shepherd her through some of the turmoil of mothering young children and having responsibilities at Trace at the same time.

2. I can take things that are thrown at me with more equilibrium, because I have seen God’s faithfulness through many years.

I trusted Christ to lead my life when I was 14 years old. If you do the math, which I try to avoid at nearly every opportunity, that means that I have been walking with Jesus longer than many of the people I hang out with lately have even been alive. He has brought me through the pain of having an alcoholic father, the trial of infertility and the heartbreak of losing three babies before they were born, and the grief of losing both of my parents 16 months apart. I have seen His faithfulness through 27 years of fulltime ministry and almost 22 years of marriage. I can attest to His faithfulness. He is good all the time.

3. I have seen a lot of changes in the world and can give a perspective to the younger generation that they won’t get from their peers.

My children often say to me, “Where do you come up with all these songs?” I frequently burst out with lyrics pertaining to something they just said, and they marvel at my repertoire. I can tell them about these big, black circular things that held songs and the days when phones had dials. I love my gadgets and enjoy keeping up with new technology, but I also find pleasure in remembering making it all the way through college as an English major with only a manual typewriter on which to write my volumes of papers. Ah, those were the days.

4. I can attest to the fact that getting older really does mean getting better.

As I watch my mother-in-law always striving to learn new things and stay healthy as she nears her 70th birthday, I can be inspired to never get lazy or let myself go just because it’s so much harder to get into shape as I age. It’s not easy, I admit, and things hurt a lot more often than they did when I was younger, but I refuse to be that decrepit old woman hobbling along. And I’ve already told my husband–who happens to be 3 years younger than I am–that he is not allowed to be a curmudgeon. We’re going to be the fun grandparents who offer to babysit, if we’re given the privilege of living close to our grandkids. Of course, by the time any of my kids get married and have kids, I may be well into my 60s, but if 50 is the new 30, I’ll just be in my mid-40s then, right?

So I’m not getting older, I’m getting better; better at loving, better at learning, better at living for Jesus and serving others. Every year is a gift given to me by my heavenly Father. I won’t cringe at being 50-something anymore.

Well, maybe only a little.

Thankful today for:

731. all the birthday greetings

732. free Starbucks peppermint mocha

733. Giovanni’s pizza

734. only a few patches of gray

735. clean movies to watch with the kids

736. celebrating Morgan’s Disney’s Dreamer and Doer award Friday

737. gift cards

738. Christmas cash

739. free lunch for good grades

740. Justin’s upcoming job interview

741. failures that bring lessons

742. memories

My goal was to get to 1,000 things to be thankful for by the end of the year. I’m not sure I’m going to make it. But it hasn’t been a full calendar year, since I started my list on February 7, I’m giving myself grace to finish my 1,000 list on February 6, 2013. So stay with me. Let’s see what God has in store for us in the new year. Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear some things that you’ve been thankful for this year.

What Do You Know?

I haven’t been able to write lately, because I’ve been at school every day, breaking in a new batch of 6th graders. Here are my observations from my first week teaching middle schoolers:
1. They are older than 2nd graders
2. They can actually carry on intelligent conversations and ask thoughtful questions
3. I love not having to teach math
4. They are good writers!
5. I can read their handwriting without much trouble
6. I love not having to fill out a homework sheet
7. Now that I have teenagers, middle schoolers aren’t so scary
8. I love not having seat work!
9. I can keep my expectations high and not have to worry about being disappointed
10. I know more than I thought I did


Thankful today for:

579. my co-teacher Jenni. She rocks!

580. my school being right across the street

581. my 10 6th graders. They rock too!

582. that my kids are old enough to get themselves up, dressed and fed

What Teaching Has Taught Me

Tuesday ends my second year as a second-grade teacher. If I think that I have been in that classroom simply to teach those 10 8- and 9-year-olds reading, writing and arithmetic, then I am sorely mistaken. I’ve been in there to learn things myself. Here are a few of those things:

Our innate desire for justice is very strong.

Other people cannot know what we need if we don’t tell them.

Forgiveness sought and given restores relationships.

Our desire to flee increases exponentially with the difficulty of the task before us.

Even though we might fight it, we thrive when there is order. Chaos makes us crazy.

I may hear you, but sometimes I’m not really listening.

I won’t really learn if I don’t participate.

Every time we get together is a reason to celebrate.

Thankful today for:
312. A good school year
313. Bug spray
314. Life lessons
315. Seeing old friends
316. 3-day weekends
317. Those who gave their lives in the service of our country
318. My nephew Aaron whose golden birthday was yesterday
319. The sound of a horse’s whinny
320. My co-teacher and TA this past year