“A great door of effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”
– 1 Corinthians 16:9 NIV
Every day I enter the classroom is a great door of effective work opening to me and without question there is opposition too. In the ideal classroom opposition would not be considered, because in the ideal world there is no opposition, or is there. Could it be that our perspective, at times, is what becomes the great opposition to the great door of effective work opening to me daily in my classroom and not always the opposition of student misconduct? Meaning, since the world in which I work and strive to operate in is not ideal, then how can I strive to make the ideal a part of the world I’m in? Even in the ideal world, Adam and Eve opposed God who only had one lesson they had to accomplish. Listening and following directions was a problem for God too, sigh, how will I ever make it as an educator?
I sincerely encourage you to step back from what is viewed as opposition currently and ask yourself, are there opportunities there for me to expand my level of influence, stretch as an educator in how I manage my classroom and maintain order and is God possibly allowing me an opportunity to model Him in a way that could have a lasting imprint on the one(s) who is opposing me? Within the past 2 weeks I had a student who appeared to become disinterested in my class, agitated and annoyed with being in my room. One day during lunch I asked her to remain back and discovered it was the presence of a new student whom she has had conflict with that created this new atmosphere within her and between us. After talking with her there has been a stark improvement in her conduct and the atmosphere of her mood. She smiles more and strives to conduct herself appropriately. By extending a listening ear we made a positive connection that has kept her engaged with my class and sincere in her effort to manage her own behavior. Another young man was lacking confidence to put effort and initiative in doing his work and his overall disposition in class was not helpful either. By the end of the 1st semester, persistent encouragement, gentle persuasive expressed expectations, a parent conference, and consistent expressed appreciation towards anything he did associated with classwork and he earned a solid B 2nd quarter after earning an E 1st quarter.
Working with this young man showed me how much I’ve progressed and how far I’ve come as an educator being willing to go the extra mile with students I may not have otherwise given the focus or attention to with an attempt to help them connect to art, feel capable or contribute positively. The attention I would have given them early in my career would have probably been more negative than positive which may have only exacerbated the problem instead of resolve it. Grace is helping me understand I need to give it freely as I’ve received it and God will make up the difference of where I’m limited to stretch by faith towards the limitless possibilities of one surrendered to Him.
May God help you stretch, by grace, with an infusion of love as the fuel that will empower you and your students that will help you teach, influence and inspire learning.