Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ubiquitous Moses

A couple of my seventh-grade students are painting a mural for the Exodus Museum. It was originally supposed to reflect the three miracles given to Moses for a sign that God had authorized his leadership. These were: a rod changing into a snake, a vial of water turning to blood, and a hand briefly becoming leprous. Somehow, due to a lack of picture references, the mural also changed, morphing into mini-scenes from the life of Moses. Since one of the boys has been absent a lot, I've been helping with the backgrounds and water and leaving the detail work to the boys. We decided that shadow people were going to be easier to paint and just as effective. Anyway, since Moses keeps popping up everywhere I've decided to call it Ubiquitous Moses. Here's a half-finished picture. When it's complete, I'll post the final product.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Morning and Evening

Driving to work early this morning, I was blessed by this sun, nestled like an ember in cloud covers.

Coming home, this evening, I looked ahead and saw gray rain. Within the distance of five miles, I watched as my auto thermometer dove from 44 to 39 degrees. Something tells me there will be ice on the roads tomorrow, or at least settled into the ditches where our rain ran to seek a little warmth.

Monday, December 6, 2010


When a class works on a project, particularly a messy project, it gives teachers many opportunities for guidance. Contrary to what one might think, most of this guidance isn't in the form of completely new instructions and information, but in reminding students of what they have known all along. I find myself saying:

"Clean up your own mess."
"If you got it out, put it away."
"Rinse the brushes carefully, or they will be ruined."
"Don't wear your best shirt if you know you are going to be painting."
and, the big one,
"How you behave during a project is directly proportional to how many of them you will do this year"

Which is all good advice for adults too. Most of us know how we should behave. Deep down, we know what's right and what's fair and what's decent and what's not. We know what we ought to do.
We just need someone or some circumstance to make us do it.

Today a student objected when I asked who painted the rocks gold outside our classroom door:
"I did, but you already got me in trouble for that."
"Ah, I didn't get you in trouble."
"Yes you did. You did last Friday."
"I didn't get you in trouble."
"Yes you did, remember?"
"You got yourself in trouble. I just scolded you for it."

Sadly, that is often true for adults also.
"The policeman just doesn't understand that the speed limit should be higher for this section of the road."
"The electric company shouldn't be so concerned if I'm on time with my payments."
"I can't lose weight because the fast food chain only serves fat fries."
Most of our behavior problems aren't due to a lack of guidance but to a lack of personal responsibility.

Our project is "The Exodus Museum", and Moses was one of history's most harassed guidance counselors.

So it's all very fitting that I occasionally "get students in trouble!"