Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Help Comes From the Lord

I look up to the hills,
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord.

Everyday, I feel like I have to walk in classroom P104 with a suit of armor on. I have no idea what the day is going to hold, if one (or many) of my students are going to be acting like a wild jungle animal, or if I am going to be able to make it to lunch before I have to desperately run to the bathroom. It is a lot of work, being a teacher. There are very high expectations for you to do your job-- not only to teach the children in your class, but to care for them, love them, and provide the environment they need to be successful and enjoy school.

This year has felt like a butt-kick so far, if I may be blunt. I have an amazing group of administrators that support me, a wonderful first grade team, and very supportive and helpful parents. But it's true that every new class is like a whole new year. I feel like I'm starting my first year all over again, trying to figure all these little 19 six-year-olds out, learn what makes them tick, what reading level they're on, what they look like when they aren't feeling well, how they react to change or consequence, what lengths they will go to make good choices or not. The past 3 weeks have been tough and challenging, but also very humbling for me. I went into the school year having a lot of pre-made plans, ideas, and thoughts of what the year would be like, how I would do CAFE/Daily 5 differently and more effectively, how I would be able to pull individual students or small groups, etc. The first day I learned quickly that any plan or thought I had about the year needed to quickly be erased, and fast, and that I needed to adjust accordingly to the students in my care.

It's a good reminder that the Lord knows our footsteps and knows our plan and our path. He has already set it out before us, and we try a lot of the time to figure things out on our own or make our own path to success or joy or happiness. Little did I know that this transferred to the teaching world as well. Turning my world upside down, I've been busting myself trying to do my job well and at the same time have a life outside of school. Last year I slaved myself away with cutting and sorting, planning and overplanning. This year, I have resolved to not do so, but to do what I need to do and then leave to go spend time with people and build relationships. It's very hard to leave my classroom and turn the key on some days, but I know that it is the healthy thing to do.

Just finishing Habakkuk as a church, Habakkuk cries out to the Lord questions like, "why are you doing this, God? Why are you forsaking your chosen people?" And the Lord replies that he is raising up the Babylonian enemies to destroy Israel, in order to one day crush the Babylonians and bring Israel back to himself. Habakkuk is like, "um, excuse me, what?" And the LORD is faithful; he remains unchangeable, unshakeable, and his plan continues for our good. A hard thing to wrap our minds around and accept sometimes is why God is doing what he is doing, and why it is for our good. But I just have to trust that every day God is doing his work in me for my good, and ultimately to bring Him the utmost glory.

I feel like I've been running ragged and it is all I can do everyday but surrender this class of 19 to my savior. Sometimes I even fail at that, and recognize I cannot do it on my own strength. I hope, though, to soon be able to notice the little things and funny stories that happen. I feel like we've been trying to find our groove so much that it hasn't been allowed to happen yet. I just pray for some joy to start abounding in here. I want to laugh with my kids. I want to share my life with them and my love, this love of Jesus with them. I just hope that it can start happening sooner than later.