Teaching Joys

It’s almost here.  The end of the semester.  I can hardly believe that much time has past… and yet, I can hardly remember the beginning.  I walked into my classroom this morning and took stock of the pencils in my pencil cup.  It’s a good thing I teach elementary students.  These pencils are so short that only a child could still hold them.  And the erasers are missing.  So are the metal things.

I remember the hard struggles that went on.  The books are now put away neatly.  The children have stopped eating the erasers.  Subjects and predicates are no longer mysteries.

I see the struggles we still have.  An overflowing trashcan of Kleenex because we’re all sick.  Tantrum tears.  Missing scissors.  Papers on the floor.

Today I’m sleep-deprived.  I went 14 hours on a bowl of cereal, a travel mug of coffee and a fun-sized bag of M&Ms.  I didn’t get to go to the bathroom until 1:15 p.m.  There’s a teacher down the hall stressed out because one of our kids can’t count to 100 yet.  I’m stressed out about it, too.  And the state achievement tests.  And the missing scissors.  And the emotional issues in some of my classes and the discipline issues in the others. And am I really teaching the children what they need?

Today’s light at the end of the tunnel didn’t shine because the end is so close.  It came because God showered grace that opened my eyes to see some of the joys that He’s brought me to.

So this morning, by the grace of God, I laughed at the short pencils.  So much writing… “What does a sentence start with?”  “Yes, a capital letter!” …”What comes at the end?”  “Well, is it a question?” … “Is thecat really one word?”… “Not too small.  I need to be able to read it” “But I can read it.” … “Writing is the enemy.”… “Ha! I’ve tricked you into writing — and you like it!” “This is writing?”… “I love writing!”… “Why do you make us write so much?”

Today I saw inside the hearts of my 5th grade students.  And I can tell you, never have get-well cards been made with more love, thoughtfulness, and genuine friendship than the cards scattered around those desks this morning.

Today I had a student pull a favorite book off the shelf and ask to read it again. I saw the same student look up with laughing eyes to tell me that her work buddy (an orange stuffed bear) was not giving her any answers and would I talk to him about it, please?

Today my 1st grade students learned their vowels and consonants.  I’m so proud of them.

Today the kindergarten students took turns.  They spoke in complete sentences. Lots of them.  We laughed. Their eyes sparkled with excitement over what we were learning.

Today God taught me to look at my work with thankfulness instead of anxiety.  What a wonderful change that brings!

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