Friday, January 18, 2008

Thirteen Reasons Why I Love My Job

The curriculum I’m inspired by what I teach. All that stuff I have to do in preparation for class is the very material that lifts my own soul. Like an aerobics instructor benefits physically from leading the workout, I benefit spiritually from studying the Bible before and while I teach it. (Hey, maybe I should incorporate an exercise into each class opening time. That way I would be forced to exercise six times a day. Hmmm. Nah.)

Growth rather than disintegration It's like breaking the second law of thermodynamics every day. Energy doesn’t seem to follow a downhill pathway in the classroom. (Well. Most days it doesn’t)

Great Students If they stay until they graduate, I get to see them for six years.

Serendipitous little bursts of creativity Today there was a chess piece tower on the table when I came into class. Four rooks stacked up and topped by a king. (All right. I know that’s a little thing, but hey, it brings a smile.)

Caring co-workers Today I needed fishing line for hanging stars on my ceiling. Guess what, the chemistry teacher offered me fish line, thin wire, or twine. She didn’t even have to dig very deeply for them. Also, when I walk in early for teacher devotions, the room is already warm and smelling of coffee, thanks to Coach who faithfully prepares it each morning.

Teacher Devotions There is something very special about reading a scripture together and then praying for students. It gives “Teachers' lounge” a sacredness.

Sudden Seriousness When a student realizes something you are trying to teach, really gets it, there is a “wow” moment, hushed and glorious.

Sudden Silliness Alright, I realize that this is usually considered a downside to teaching, but if you are as silly as I am, you might just appreciate someone walking into class with a garland of lilac-edged lilies in his hair.

Good Bosses You never appreciate an easy-going principal and superintendent until you hear stories about the ones who burst into the classroom with the intention of embarrassing the teacher in front of the students because they: missed a meeting, didn’t make complete lesson plans, failed to get grades turned in on time, didn’t volunteer to keep the gate at the basketball game or______ you fill in the blank. I don’t have to put up with any of that…and it makes me smile. And then there is a school board that actually asks for teacher input. Imagine!

Understanding Staff It’s not everyone who sends twenty five students to the office to get their maps enlarged on the copy machine…one at a time…over three days, or sends twelve students without warning to fill the janitor’s sink with paper mache paste, or who forgets to put the attendance folder back on the door and leaves it hidden in a new place every day so the secretary has to sneak quietly into the room and find it, or loses yet another pay envelope.Yet they never complain…they don’t even roll their eyes at me.

Alumni They come back and give me hugs. Sometimes they bring me their children to teach, and that’s a high compliment.

Freedom I can wander around if I want to--pottering, I believe they call it. No, I don’t abandon the classroom, but several of my classes are trustworthy enough to behave when left alone for a few minutes…and that is saying volumes!

Food Our cafeteria is renowned--home-baked rolls, fresh frozen apricots. Almost every day, a student, be it on the intercom during opening or in class, remembers to pray for the cooks, that they will do a good job in food preparation. Food is pretty important to an eighth-grader. Come to think of it, it’s pretty important to me too. (Hence the need for incorporating exercises into my classroom routine. Hmmm. Nah.)