“I have become all things to all men so that by all means possible I might save some.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:22b NIV
Through a comment in response to my recent posts I am reminded of a passage of scripture the Apostle Paul expressed regarding his perspective of his mission in sharing the gospel of Christ and influencing his listeners to receive his message of grace. Through scripture God can enlighten our hearts through the illumination of His word to reveal to us the application to how this looks in various settings and circumstances pertaining to us today as it did then. As it relates to the classroom, I am reminded from this passage that in all of my efforts and my passion to teach, influence and inspire learning, only some will be reached, touched, changed and trnasformed. I don’t even get to determine who those students will be and it may not always be the students we think that are truly benefitting from our presence in the classroom. The unseen hand of God is working together what occurs in my classroom to do a greater work beyond what I am able to accomplish in my own strength. That said, what about the ones I never seem to be able to reach or influence? What possible good can come from having students within my classroom who refuse to get engaged, remain engaged or strive to succeed that draw my attention away from those who cooperate?
As I’ve shared with other professional colleagues, is it possible that the students who do not respond to us have been divinely placed in our classrooms to hold us accountable to remaining professional in how we choose to respond to them? As a Christian Educator, as Christ learned obedience by what He suffered (see Hebrews 5:8), maybe we are learning how to be like Christ in working with students who appear to be inoperable (lol). True or false, there are a group of students who enter our classrooms daily without any direction from us and they get engaged and remain engaged with little to no prompting from us? Then there’s another group that needs prompting, directing, encouragement, ‘put your name on the paper, sit down, turn around, stop that, please raise your hand before speaking, reread first before asking a question, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!’ If you scream like that in the middle of class it may be time to take a day off (lol).
Those same students are the ones who love you when they’re no longer in your class and spend every precious moment they can returning to remind you of the hel…Ooops, I mean of how much they miss you. Then there’s the group that no matter what, they never seem to get it or make progress. They may come back sometime later, much later as young adults and thank you for the impact you made on them, but while they were with you they impacted you more! They stretched us, prodded us, poked and pricked us. They challenged us to consider innovative means by which we could make progress with them and taught us how to be more patient than we desired or thought we could be. They influenced us how to be nice when we did not feel like it or want to. We learned by their presence how to hold our tongue or calmly restate directions already given 3 times, when all we really wanted to do was cuss them out, call them names, belittle them or lecture. Can’t you just see God smiling, snickering with Moses and having a bellyache laugh with Jesus in heaven with what we face on earth in the classroom? Maybe not in the moment but you get the point. (lol)
May God grant you peace, patience and resolve to persevere, endure and come out smiling on the other side of each day and as we transition into Spring Break!