Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday, 5/9/13

Dear Journal,

It's over. Last class finished.

It seems like my last journal entry should contain some profound reflective thoughts, summarizing ways I have grown and things I have learned. But instead, I really have nothing to say but this:

I've learned.
I've grown.
I'll never be the same again.

Humorously, I was late to class to day. I have not been late to a single class during my entire placement.  (A nearly unbelievable thing as those who know me well can testify!) I have been on time. Not always prepped and prepared like I wanted to be. But I've been in the room when I was supposed to be.

Today I was working on writing an essay and really got into it. I finished and punched the save button with a satisfied air of accomplishment. I was about to pull up my email and send it off to Mrs. Walden when I glanced at the clock.


I was to have been in class at 4:35.


Anyways, I had my students fill out a "Grade Your Student Teacher" form for my portfolio and the results were insightful. The Seniors think I should give less homework, be more prepared for class, and have more constructive activities. The Freshmen think I'm fun, that I care about them, I make things clear, they can tell I like kids and that I always have constructive activities.

Confirmation once again that I fit better in the lower grades than the upper.

My die-hard Quadrant 2 said that I don't act like a teacher is supposed to, but commented three times that the lessons were very practical and clear.

Firecracker thinks I should work on being more awesome like him...

In some ways I wish I could leave here feeling like my time here has made some sort of a difference. Maybe I compare teaching too much with canvassing where the life-changing impact on students is so concentrated that it's easy to see growth and change. Perhaps I shouldn't wish for results I can see, but thank God for the results that are promised.

All in all, at the end of the day I am grateful.

Grateful for what I know, for what I now know that I don't know, and for knowing better where to go when I want to know.

Its been real.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday, 5/7/13

Dear Journal,

My freshman are working on their final project in computers-- a PowerPoint. My classes look like a lot of sitting, watching, coaching, and-- horrors-- nagging. I never wanted to be a naggy teacher, but I am continually amazed to see these kids, with mountains of stuff left to do and the deadline looming, just goofing off like life is a big party!! So I've reminded them of the deadline, and tried in every way I can think of to get them on task.

Well today I was sick of it. So I resorted to other tactics.

I printed off the grading rubric again and handed it out to them at the beginning of class. Spent a few minutes talking about the final and how it was going to work (Their peers will be judging their PowerPoints...far scarier than having me judge them!)

Their little eyes got so big, and they turned to their computers and got to work.

And I sat back and wrote a research paper.

I also asked Ms. Wanda to remind me of her handy questions for helping students get back on track:

1.     Do you know what you’re supposed to be doing?
2.     What is it that’s keeping you from doing it?
3.     How soon can you get started?
So I'm heading into the next class period armed!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Journal,

Definitely on the home stretch now. Today was my last class day in Senior Speech. We kinda went out with a bang by putting on a mock trial.

I set up the auditorium as a courtroom and asked Honorable Judge Wanda Sarr to preside. My seniors showed up dressed to the part in suit and tie, and armed with clipboards.

It was a lot of fun, though as I sat in the bailiff's chair watching the hearing unfold, I could tell I hadn't prepared them well enough. I could have made things clearer, given more specific instructions, provided more direction and assistance. But you know? It's ok.

I'm realizing that teaching isn't so much about instinctively knowing up front exactly what is going to work well and what isn't. It's about trying lots of things, throwing out what doesn't work, keeping what does, and refining things that need improvement. I would definitely do a mock trial again with a class (maybe Bible class next year? create some sort of trial requiring a defense of the Sabbath or something??) I know now what ways that I can help students prepare better and I'm impressed at what a learning experience this was for my students even without adequate preparation.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear Journal,

This is so true...

The true teacher can impart to his pupils few gifts so valuable as the gift of his own companionship. It is true of men and women, and how much more of youth and children, that only as we come in touch through sympathy can we understand them; and we need to understand in order most effectively to benefit. To strengthen the tie of sympathy between teacher and student there are few means that count so much as pleasant association together outside the schoolroom....The sacrifice demanded of the teacher would be great, but he would reap a rich reward. 
Education pg. 212

I am more and more convinced that the best chances a teacher has to eternally impact students are outside of the classroom. Students expect teachers to give them time in the classroom. They expect deans to give them time in the dorm when they are on duty. They expect work supervisors to work with them when they are working.

But what really means something to them is when teachers, deans, work supervisors genuinely desire to be with them when they don't have to.

Yes, the sacrifice demanded may be great, but the reward? It is cheap enough.

Sunday I was on duty in the dorm. I have correspondence classwork up to my ears and graduation day is looming like a 2000-foot cliff that I'm hurtling toward at 100 miles per hour and my brakes don't work.. Desperately hoping to be able to get some things done, I settled down with my laptop only to be interrupted a hundred times by the ringing phone, or a girl with a question, or somebody that needed their room unlocked... you name it. Finally, in the afternoon most of the girls left for a wedding and the dorm got quiet. I eagerly grabbed my computer and started getting into focus mode. Just as I was starting to grasp the concept of encomiums well enough to do something with it I was discovered by the only two girls still in the dorm.

"Miss Beth!! We're BORED! Can we do something?"

I suggested doing homework, but that went over like a lead balloon.

I could see their faces appraising me; their little minds seemed to wonder if I was so obtuse that I didn't see or care about their needs. I could feel stress rising in me, I really needed this time to work... It seemed so unjust that they couldn't understand the pressure I'm under. But how should I expect them to understand? They know nothing of the pressures of adulthood. How woud it look to them if I said I couldn't be bothered and sent them away to entertain themselves? So, the laptop clicked shut and we went to Sarrs house and played table games and made chilaquiles for supper.

Those couple hours worked a phenomenal difference in my relationship with those two girls. We laughed, we talked, we teased each other and just enjoyed ourselves. Later in the evening when one of them had an emotional breakdown I was allowed into her circle of trust enough to be of comfort (she hasn't let me that close in weeks.)

Correspondence work? well, maybe I won't get it finished. But even if I don't, it will have been a small sacrifice. Far better that I understand the work of a true teacher than that I understand encomiums and epthalamion.

This is the full life.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday, 4/25/13

Dear Journal,

I hope that when I am 20 years into my teaching career and I'm officially an "old pro" I won't have forgotten what a powerful tool prayer is in the classroom.

Today some of my computers class were trying to choose what topic to do a research presentation on. I had given them a fairly broad selection of topic ideas to choose from:

·      Research an EASEA school, giving the history of how it started, what type of work program and academic program they have, what type of mission service they do, where they are located, etc.
·      Research a person in history and how they have made the world a better place
·      Research a charity and make a compelling appeal for funds
·      Research a harmful food substance and explain why it should be avoided
·      Research a doctrine and create an engaging bible study
·      Research benefits of exercise and craft a compelling appeal for people to exercise more
·      Research a disease and how it can be cured
·      Research a current issue in society (i.e. child abuse, the financial crisis, high-school dropout rate, abortion etc.) explaining the issue and your solution for it. Your solution must be something plausible (that could really work and would actually change the situation) and you need to explain why/how it is plausible

But, bless their hearts, one or two of them caught on really quickly that I was covertly seeking to limit their choices to uplifting topics, and they took offense to it.

"Uh, hey Miss Beth? Can I do it on ASAP Rocky? (Rap artist) He made the world a better place 'cause he gave us good music ya know!"

"Can I do it on breast cancer? I just really care about all the breasts in the world." (this from a young man..)

20-20 hindsight shows clearly that they were just trying to get me in a verbal headlock... they just wanted to get a rise out of me, and to some extent they did.

Rather than stop and think of the best way to handle it, I responded with an almost knee-jerk response, "Um, no!"

Of course that triggered the defense response and soon I was hearing a rapid fire volley of, "Well what about...?" "What's wrong with...?"

The best thing to do from the start would have been to just smile and say nothing. It would have made the questions appear as the silly questions they are and would have stopped any further discussion. The kids would have chosen a better topic and got to work.

But here I was, trapped in a mess of my own devising. And I was annoyed.

Annoyed at them. Annoyed at myself.

So I stopped and prayed.

And you know, a miracle happened.

Not in my students.. they kept badgering to see how close to the line they could come.

A miracle happened in me. Cause all of a sudden it didn't bother me anymore. Self didn't need to be justified anymore-- I had given my rights away.

And all of a sudden, I loved those kids fiercer than I've ever loved them before.

In a friendly, embracing way I was able to help them find a topic that they were interested in and motivated to research that wouldn't jeopardize their eternal life.

I misrepresented Jesus in that classroom today. Jesus would have stayed quiet, He would have seen beyond the question to the heart, He wouldn't have spoken in a belittling tone, or entered into argument, He would probably have asked an expertly crafted question that would have drawn them to feel their need in a loving way because He would have been in constant communion with His Father and He would have brought the perfect words to His mind the moment He needed them.

And perhaps, when I am 20 years into my teaching career I will still have moments where I misrepresent Jesus.

But I am confident that if and when I do, He will still work miracles in me the moment I call for help.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday, 04/23/13

Dear Journal,

Oh it's so hard to be tough..

My students in computers have been working on finishing up several assignments about PowerPoint. They were to work through tutorials, complete certain items and take quizes at certain points. They have been working on this for weeks and last Thursday was the deadline cutoff for finishing them. For two weeks, I have begun every class period by reminding them what the deadline was, and that after Thursday any tutorials and quizes left incompleted would receive a zero grade.

So today, the first day after the cutoff, Miss Cheerful showed up to class and asked to take her quiz. "Oh no....that was last Thursday?? I thought it was this Thursday."
(Uhm...not sure how she missed that... I believe her...but I did announce it clearly every class period, with the calendar date included, and I had gone to her computer encouraging her multiple times and told her directly on Thursday that it would be the last time she could turn in tutorials and quizes..)

"So I can't do them anymore?? Nooo, Miss Beth!! I have a C!!!" and then, as if her heart was breaking, "Oh why, WHY didn't I take the quiz?!"

What else could I do? I feel horrible for her, but I can't see my way clear to give her an extension when the reason that she didn't get them finished was because she spent the entire first two weeks of the project browsing the web looking for the perfect PowerPoint background...

So I said no... because I know that hard lessons can be so very, very beneficial..

But the nurturer in me is still having a tough time with it!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday, 4/21/13

Note: To better understand this journal entry, you may want to read this article about learning styles.

Dear Journal,

As a Type 4 learner, I have long struggled with the typical school system. It is very difficult for me to make any sort of meaning out of a lecture, and I see little purpose to cramming meaningless dates, facts, and information into my mind in order to reproduce them on a test. I struggle to keep from resenting a system that assigns a numerical value to my worth as a person based on how well I am able to memorize which exact word the teacher wanted me to remember for a Fill-in-the-Blank quiz, when I can think of any number of words that would fit perfectly well in that blank and even express the desired thought better than the one on the review sheet..

I have learned ways of compensating, I have learned to create mind-maps during lectures, incorporate the facts on my review sheets into things that were meaningful to me, and share, share, share what I'm learning in every way I can. Unfortunately I never have, and doubt that I ever will, find a way to make analytical written summaries meaningful... and I will confess that in more recent years, I have somewhat given up the fight and taken C's and D's in my classwork so that I could throw my energy into more meaningful learning. I learned that, after all, the letter grade doesn't determine my value as a person and for that I am very thankful. Just because my report card is a mess doesn't mean I'm not intelligent, creative and imaginative, it just means I'm fed up with the system.

With this background, sometimes it seems ironic to me that I'm willingly entering into a lifetime of working in the system that I despise so much. But here I am, signing on heart and soul.


Because I have a vision.

I want to create a classroom where the textbook/teacher isn't the ultimate authority, and where tests are based on how well you can perform rather than how well you can memorize. 
As a student I often dreamed of that classroom where meaningful learning happened-- where creativity was celebrated and students were encouraged to experiment for themselves. I envisioned myself as a facilitator of learning, merely setting up a framework in which students could discover meaningful connections and apply information in real-world applications. I wanted to be the teacher I always wished that I could have. It was highly shocking, then, to discover that not everybody wishes for that kind of teacher.

In my freshman year of college, I was managing a group of students in the school bakery, where I worked. At some point in the friendly banter that morning, I said, "I'm sorry guys! I'm just not good at explaining to people what to do!" One of my crew threw back, "And you're trying to become a teacher??"

It was like a bolt of lightening struck and everything froze for several moments. It had never occurred to me that a teacher was supposed to tell people what to do. I hate it when people tell me what to do! I want to figure it out on my own in some kind of meaningful way. But most people aren't like me. Some people want clear, concise, factual, detailed explanations...

Suddenly I was afraid of the classroom. I had never been fearful of it before. I had thought of it as a place of boundless opportunity and potential to try, and create, and develop, and watch people come alive-- now it seemed like a frightening, scary situation where people would be expecting me to give clear explanations, and know all the details and facts. They would be frustrated with me and upset that I didn't just lecture them and give them a regular test like they were used to.

My 4's and 3's and 1's would love me, of that I was reasonably certain. But how would I ever teach my 2's? 2's are used to easily excelling in a classroom because classrooms are designed for them and my classroom wouldn't be. Would they be able to deal with this out-of-the-box, slightly scattered, spontaneous teacher? Would they be able to learn anything in my classroom?

This year of teaching, both at Laurelbrook and Ouachita, has taught me a lot about myself, but up to this point I haven't had any satisfying idea of whether or not I was reaching my 2's.

My 4's? Oh, they love my classes. This past week, as I worked after-hours with Miss Vociferant on her PowerPoint (Mrs. Walden, she's the one at the computer in the back by where you sat. Yes, that one.) she paused in her hundred-miles-an-hour talking and said, "Miss Beth? I'm so glad you're our teacher. You get us. Nothing against the teacher who taught this class before, but he would give us tests like this thick. (She measured off an inch-and-a-half with her thumb and forefinger.) And we had to take one every week. And he would just stand up in front of the board and go blah-blah-blah and we were somehow supposed to remember every single thing! Class is so much better now that we actually work on stuff."

But my 2's? One of them in particular worried me. He sat in the back of the classroom, disliked group work and activities, and frequently sighed heavily when I gave directions, "I don't get what I'm supposed to do" he would say. I felt badly for him and spent sleepless hours at night pondering what I could do to help him and the other analytical thinkers get something out of class..

But apparently it wasn't so bad as I thought. (Seems like most of the time it isn't..) Yesterday, the dear boy went and told Mr. Sarr that he was disappointed that I won't be teaching Bible anymore. "Miss Beth makes it so clear and easy to understand. She explains things so well. Ms. Wanda is really good too, but Miss Beth is a better teacher!" (LOL!! yeah right kid!)

Obviously a heavy dose of fickle teenage feelings going on there, but regardless, it lets me know that he wasn't entirely frustrated and that he did learn something in class, and for that I am thankful.

I'm more convinced than ever that different methods of education can work effectively in our schools. Some people look at my classroom and see chaos-- and, well, I can see how they would think that! My computer class is generally a controlled bedlam of noise. If you had looked into my Bible class the other day you would have seen students milling around the classroom in a game of Mingle-Mosey. How on earth can anyone think clearly enough to learn in that environment?

I don't know. But I do know that their retention level for the test was fantastic. I sat down with Firecracker (definitely the student who paid the least attention out of the entire class!) to study for the Bible test last week, and to my amazement all I had to do was ask the right questions and he pulled everything out of his brain. He remembered it all and he was barely paying attention in class!

Yesterday, the freshman class delivered a heart-gripping presentation for church on the Sanctuary. I wrote none of it. They created their own model furniture and each one presented a portion of the message. I got to sit in the back and just smile with a full heart as I heard them express the meaningful connections they had made over these past few weeks that we've been learning together. They got it. And they're not likely to forget it any time soon either.

I'm convinced. I'm sticking with my dreams to be the teacher who teaches different. I will never be a lecturer. I'm not going to try to cater to my 2's except that I will always strive to improve my own analytical skills. I will be confident in the methods that are comfortable for me, because I know now that those methods work.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dear Journal,

It's been a few weeks since I posted anything. That was due in part to having two weeks of Spring Break and a couple weeks where journaling was not required. Coming up on the last weeks of my placement now, I'm again directed to journal my experience.

Perusing back through these journal entries, I can already see how I'm not the same as I was just a couple months ago.. I'm firmer, bolder, more confident, and more compassionate. Still a bit disorganized and struggle to articulate the picture-thoughts in my brain into words, but I can see growth and for that I thank Jesus.

Today helped me see that growth a little clearer.

Today I gave a Bible test to the freshmen. This was the second test I have administered for them. The first test had ended in a bedlam of noise and all my best attempts at shushing meant didley squat.*
Today's test went smoothly, the students worked quietly until the end of the class period, respectfully walking up to my desk to whisper questions to me when needed.

Many things played into this I'm sure, but one stands out as particularly significant..

My downfall in the first test was my love of bantering with my students.. Sometimes I just can't help myself. I have a classroom of very, very funny students! And bantering back and forth with them every now and then wins such huge credit with teenagers. It makes them comfortable, communicates a heart-load of "I like you," and opens up the door for trusting confidences later on. (Granted, it can also close doors when the tongue slips and says something wrong, but that's not the point of this entry!)

I have learned that much as I like bantering, I have to be very cautious when I indulge in it in the classroom.
In the case of the first test, I made the mistake of bantering out-loud with a student at the beginning of the test. I lost the class...not at that express moment, but later, when some had finished with the test and just felt like talking! How could I expect them to listen to "Shhhh" when I myself was not demonstrating it?

Today, I announced at the beginning of the class that there was to be no talking during the test. Then I immediately set them to work, and began speaking in a whisper myself. When persons talked out loud, (or grunted like a baby piglet like one girl did!) I first tried Shhh. If that didn't work, I caught their eye and did the eyebrow thing. If that didn't work, I sauntered over to their desk and laid a palm down on top of their test and whispered, "Hey! you need to be quiet over here, young _____!" with a smile. It worked.

But the neatest thing to me was that I didn't even realize I was doing it until I got to the end of the class. It was just the natural, comfortable thing to do. I didn't even have to think about what to do before I did it.

I think I'm becoming a teacher...

*Didley squat = corny way of saying "nothing"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Journal,

What a joy it is to teach youthful minds about the Sanctuary!

Today we approached the brazen altar. For days I have agonized over this class. How do you bring the invincible and infallible teenager to recognize his need of a Higher Power? How do you awaken a sense of the awfulness of sin in minds that are enamored with its pleasures?

I don't know.

But I love how God did it with the children of Israel. He brought that careless, complaining, faithless multitude out into the wilderness (away from internet, movies, and music!) and led them to a smoking, thundering mountain, and there with the earth rolling beneath their feet showed them how serious sin is.   Yet, even as they drew back in terror as guilt smote them to the depths of their souls, He revealed to His servant the Way to remove sin from the sinner so that he might stand clean in the presence of His loving Lord.
(A student noted today, "So it's like if your clothes are covered in gasoline and you stand too close to the fire-- you burn up. But if you clean your clothes you can stand by the fire all you want, and you get warm." Wow. Thanks for sharing, kid! I never even thought of that illustration!)

So I merely lead my dear, overconfident young people along the same process the Lord led His people through.

We squeezed our eyes tight shut today and imagined what it would be like to have been born blind. We lived the life-changing moment of seeing for the first time-- of finally knowing what we have been missing out on all our lives.

We saw that the children of Israel were blinded by sin, they couldn't see what was wrong with what they were doing. They didn't know it was keeping them from knowing love. They didn't know what being able to see was like, so they thought they didn't need it.

We talked about a Saviour who loved them enough to "scare them" and tell them the truth about how wretched they were so that they could repent and get the sin out of their lives. We thought about how He is nauseated by the stench of the sin in our hearts, and yet suppresses His wretching and vomiting so that He can come in close, put His arm around us and pull us in close to hear the beat of His heart. (Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them)

We went to the altar with the sinner, we put our hands on the head of the lamb and then imagined what it would have been like to kill our own pet..

We searched out the verses, wrestling through why the shedding of blood is necessary for the remission of sin. We discovered that all we must do to be cleansed of our sin is believe in the sacrifice that has already been made. The sin transfers to Jesus' record and we go free. Heaven sees only Jesus' spotless record.

Near the end of the class, each of them pulled out a sheet of paper, solemnly wrote down the sins they wanted to confess and then, one by one, they lit them on fire over an old #10 can outside in the snow.

Jesus was there. We could feel it.

Were there one or two who didn't catch the significance and asked, "Do we have to?"


But when they were told that, no, they didn't have to, it was to be a personal decision, I was thrilled to note that every single one of them chose to.

Overall, the eager receptiveness with which most of these little hearts embrace Jesus is precious to see.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, 3/4/13

Dear Journal,

Scripture Typer has not been wildly popular among the students. I think this is largely attributable to the fact that half the class has an average typing speed between 11-22 wpm. It's tough to enjoy scripture typer when you just can't type. So I've split the class so that persons who type over 35 wpm continued with Scripture Typer as normal, and those who do not, are working through a typing course to learn something other than hunt-and-peck.

I was somewhat saddened that the students didn't enjoy Scripture Typer. I had it integrated with their Bible class so that they are learning their memory verses and keeping them current, and I felt like it would really benefit them.

Sunday night in the dorm, I found myself snuggled between two little freshmen working through the review sheet for the Bible midterm.

Somewhere between discussing what the Bible means when it says God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" and finding parallels between manna and daily devotions, sweet Miss Study-bug said, "I feel like I know my memory verses so well! You know what really helps? Scripture Typer. Before, I always learned my verses right before the quiz and I would forget all of them by the time we had the quarter test, but now I review them all the time and I actually know them."

I'm tickled.

Thanks, Jesus.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heart Thrill

I'm only supposed to write 2 journals a week now, but I have to share this joy...

Mr. Moody who has been pulling grades in the F and D range in every class, has put his mind into getting his interactive notebook caught up for Bible class. He filled in the blank pages, got class notes from classmates, asked for help on the assignments he didn't understand, and got it all done!

Late last night, I finished grading it and entered the grades in our online grading system. It pulled him up to a B! A B!!! I was so excited, I yelled the news down to the bedroom at the end of the hall, which answered WoooHOOO!!! out of the darkness. (I live with my cooperating teacher.)

Today I slipped the graded notebook in front of him and whispered, "You have a B now."

He grunted non-commitally, and I wondered as I walked away if it meant anything to him.

I didn't have to wait long to know.

In moments, he was excitedly tapping the arms of the students next to him. "Hey, hey did you hear that?? I have a B in Bible!"

And my heart smiles to see one who has known so very little of the fulfilling satisfaction of accomplishment taste the sweetness of it.

This must be what God feels like when His messed up little ones come pleading for His strength and they find that overcoming sin really is possible!!

Seeing "I can't, why should I try?" turn into "Hey, I did this!"....

It's just another one of the things I love about my job.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, 2/26/13

Dear Journal,

I have discovered the secret to keeping the kids from browsing the internet while they're supposed to be doing their typing!

I restructured my grading system for typing such that I give them 10 points each day for typing. I have the online gradebook pulled up on my computer and casually stroll the room, and each time I see someone pull up another website I drop their grade a point. I discussed this with them and they are all very aware that I do it.

The first few days that I implemented it I got a lot of flack.

Firecracker darling pulled out every cute charm he has, imploring me with both hands clutching his little heart to please, please give him his points back.

I told him I hated doing it as much as he did, and that I really wished he wasn't forcing me to.. and then marked him down another point for his little demonstration!

But today I was rewarded, as nearly every student in the class stayed on task, kept on the right website, and just generally got a whole lot done!

Good kids.

I am so privileged to know them!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, 2/25/13

Dear Journal,

Sugar dump over the weekend=grumpy funk in class on Monday

The dear children were all out of sorts today.

The ones that weren't out cold and crashed on the tops of their desks met me with a whiny clamor for more time to do the project they were assigned over the weekend because they "didn't have time."

I put on my stern face and told them I couldn't give them class time unless they were really going to use it. "I can't give you my valuable time for you to just use laughing and talking."

Naturally, they protested loudly that they would NEVER do such a thing. (Yes, dears...I'm sure you wouldn't!)

And I gave them five minutes...

Turning to set up my computer with the WiFI projector, I met Ms. Wanda's twinkling eyes:

"Girl, you're soft as jello."

Ok, so I need to grow a backbone...

Still loving my job!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, 2/19/13

Dear Journal,

I discovered a beautiful thing today.

This little phrase "Thank you" has so much power in it.

I have been struggling to find the best way to bring everyone's attention back to the front after they have been working on their Scripture Typer at the beginning of class. They don't all finish at first, and it's hard to get them all focused so we can pray and start our lecture.

Silent waiting doesn't work too well partly because it gives them no impetus to finish, and because it makes them awkwardly uncomfortable because, for those moments, it doesn't feel like the teacher is in control.
Yet at the same time I don't want to be harsh with them and call them by name until they quit what they're doing and start paying attention. That doesn't work.

So today, it happened quite by accident that I was standing there in the front of the room, having asked them to wrap up what they were doing and turn their attention to the front. Most gave me a nod and continued typing. This is typical. (The nature of Scripture Typer is that you have to finish the verse you are working on, you can't just quit what you are doing and come back to it.) But today, I noticed my big, quiet boy immediately close out the window and lean back in his chair to give me his full attention.

"Thank you, J-man!" I told him with a warm smile. Immediately, his desk partner looked up, hurriedly brought her work to a close and gave me her full attention too. "And thank you, Cheerful." I smiled at her too.

Quickly scanning the rest of the room, I called out each person who was giving me their attention with a personal "Thank you." The effect was incredible! One girl, sitting between two that I had thanked, looked up in dismay as she realized that she had not been. "Wait, Miss Beth! I was looking! I was looking! I was almost done! I was just finishing up!"

"Thank you, Industrious!" She smiled a shy little smile.

As I looked across the room, I was amazed.
I had everyone's attention, and every face was lighted with a warm, happy smile.

All because of a couple simple "Thank you's."

How easy is that?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PowerPoint Presentation- Why Rules?

Why Rules?

More PowerPoint presentations from Beth Johns

Notes: (I project the powerpoint onto the whiteboard, so that I (or the students) can write or draw on the slide during the presentation. Hence some slides are only a basic framework with no content.)

Slide 2- How many of you have gardened?

3-These plants have been deprived of sunlight.

4-Eyewitness experience of Ohio drought

6-These plants have been deprived of water.

7-This plant has been deprived of nitrogen, a necessary nutrient.

8-Ask for other examples of natural laws that are basic and intuitive to us. I.e. Gravity. (Hold out an object and ask, “If I drop this will it go up or down?” I dropped my iPhone for the shock effect!)

These laws tell us the principles that the natural world operates on.

9-Farmers study to know the right temperatures, nutrient balance, watering conditions, light, etc, so they can grow the best plants possible.

10-Another example of laws.

11-In the same way, God’s laws are not random and arbitrary. They are just as natural as the laws of nature. They tell us what principles work and which don’t.

12-Random call discussion of a thought question from the homework assignment. Students share their thoughts. (Note: I opted not to use random call at the last moment because several students had not completed the homework assignment and I wanted to avoid putting a bunch of them on the spot, so just called on the ones who had. Those who hadn’t chimed in with thoughts once the others had started sharing.)

13-Read quote.

14-In groups, what does it mean that God’s law is the transcript of His character?

(God’s character put into words, written out, etc.)

15-The wheel-in-a-wheel. (The illustration on this slide got messed up in uploading. There should be an arrow pointing from each member of the Godhead to the other two. This forms a double circle with the inner arrows pointing clockwise and the outer arrows pointing counter-clockwise.)
Review from the beginning of the year.

God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit from endless ages have demonstrated other-centered love in loving each other. They have each given love to the other two, resulting in love coming back to themselves in a continuously flowing circle.

16-Draw another circle of giving:

Water Cycle
Plant Growth Cycle
The foundational principle of nature and heaven is this other-centered principle: “receive to give.”

17-When God made man, the circle expanded.

[Draw: “God” in the upper left corner with arrows pointing across the top to “other parts of God”(in the upper right) and down to “man”(in the lower left)]
Fundamental principle that God created inside of us, is to love God and others.
God created us to love as He loves and when we do the circle is completed.
[Draw: Arrow pointing from “Man” up to “God” and across the bottom to “other men” (in the lower right) Complete the circle by filling in arrows from “other men” up to “other parts of God” and all other places needed until each part of the circle has arrows pointing to and from it just like the Wheel-in-a-wheel]

18-Walk through the commandments.

Who does this help us love? Who gets hurt if this is broken?
(We took our time here, and went off an a tangent where I asked them to discuss in their Think-pair-share groups the difference between the first and second commandments. They wrestled through it for a while, and then I worked them through it to bring out for them that the first tells us to worship the right God, and the second to worship the right God in the right way. This sparked some incredible discussion, and laid the groundwork for the next class on the Golden Calf.)

19-Show this slide, and then advance to the next and re-draw the circle drawing. Emphasize that the ten commandments tell us how to do the two things that God created us to do: love God, and love other men.

(Jesus reinforces this in Matthew 22:37-40)

20-Erase “man” and all the arrows going from it. Replace it with the word “Me” and draw several arrows from all directions pointing into it. Satan broke the circle by getting man to serve himself. All sin is a form of selfishness. (See 4T 484.3)


In heaven everything operates in the unbroken circle. There is no selfishness in the love. Everybody loves everybody else before themselves.
Satan broke the circle by bringing in selfishness which separates us from God.
God sent Jesus so we could have a way out of our selfishness. On our own, we can’t break out of the selfishness we are born in, but God will give us a blood transfusion of Jesus love to make it possible to love unselfishly.
The law shows us how heaven operates and how to live in an unbroken circle.
(May bring out that obeying the law with selfish motives, or not out of love (like the pharisees) does nothing to reconnect the circle because it does not cure selfishness.)

22-(R12 signifies the right side of the interactive notebook. This is a processing activity for what we have covered. It gives them a chance to express their understanding of it.)

PowerPoint- Why the Sanctuary?

Powerpoint Presentation from Bible class last Thursday.
Notes: (I project the powerpoint onto the whiteboard, so that I (or the students) can write or draw on the slide during the presentation. Hence some slides are only a basic framework with no content.)

 Slide 2- Review of the character of God. Discussion: what is God like?

 3-Students write an attribute of God on the left side of the T-chart. (Note: I started off asking “Complete the sentence: God is _______. I found I got better responses when I asked them “what is your favorite thing about Jesus?”)

4-The wheel-in-a-wheel concept they have covered earlier in class. For ceaseless ages God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have existed in a circle of other-centered love. Each of them selflessly loves the other two. God created man to be in a circle of self-denying love with Him too. Man was to find his satisfaction in loving God and in loving His fellow man. Sin breaks this circle. Isaiah 59:2. Selfishness makes us self-centered instead of other centered. God is the epitome of unselfishness. There is no self-serving in His love. It is entirely other-centered.

 5-In contrast, what does Satan say about what God is like?

 6-Now, on the right side of the T-chart, students write what Satan says about the character of God. Discuss the differences. (The things Satan says about God are really true of himself)


 8-Write in the definitions as students call them out. Sin had to be allowed to play out. The reason God was able to bear to allow sin to run it’s course is because He provided a way out, so that anyone who would enter the "way out" wouldn’t have to die.

 9-Discuss in Think-pair-share.
 Ways: Nature, direct revelation, the lives and words of men of God.
Nature reveals God: “Among the heathen are those who, though ignorant of the written law of God, have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required, and they are recognized as the children of God.” DA 638
Yet, what had happened by the time of the children of Israel? What kind of understanding of God did the children of Israel have? Were they others-centered or self-centered? They complained and clamored for food, water– they said "God has brought us out to destroy us." They didn’t understand God. Nature was no longer a sufficient "book." God needed a way to show them more directly what He is like and how the plan of salvation works. He needed to come get close to them. "Let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them."

 10-The way is in the Sanctuary, Jesus said “I am the way.”
 (From Pastor Baute sermon regarding Luke 24:27: Jesus spoke these words shortly after the crucifixion as He was walking behind a couple of His dejected disciples on the road to Emmaus. And if you remember they were very upset because here they were so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and yet here, He was crucified – the most humiliating death. And so they were walking away, their faith was shaken, and they were wondering, “You know, maybe He wasn’t the Messiah after all.” And all of a sudden a Stranger comes alongside and begins talking to them and asks, “What’s happening? What are you gentlemen talking about?” And they began to tell Jesus what had happened that day in Jerusalem and then Jesus begins to talk to them about the law of Moses. Dear friends, what Jesus began to do was to expound upon the disciples the sanctuary. The plan of salvation. And as the disciples began to listen, they began to realize that the very act which to them had disproved Jesus being the Messiah now they realized was the ultimate evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. And they learned that through the sanctuary.)

13- The Sanctuary provides the answers to these questions and more.