Tag Archives: teaching

Schooling You on Why I Teach

I have been sick.  This afternoon I needed to stimulate my brain, so I blogged surfed for a bit.  I found an interesting blog based on a story about a teacher “grade-in” that was broken up by the police.  Teacher grade-ins are peaceful demonstrations in which teachers gather in public places and, well, grade.  They work on the grading that they would normal do at home.

I know what you are thinking…why?

The point, or one main point among others, is to open the eyes to people the amount of work that teachers do on their “own time.”  I put that in quotes because, as a teacher, I know that my “own time” is seldom my own.  I have to juggle the massive amounts of planning, grading, professional development, preparation, and even shopping (for demonstration materials…I am a science teacher) with my family, home chores, friends, church, and the rest of life.  There isn’t much “own time” left.

Oh, so you are one of those complaining-type teachers, Mr. OneCupofJoe guy, huh?

No, I just said that because I understand where these teachers are coming from.  I don’t think that a lot of people understand what teachers do.  We balance all of what I said along with trying how to differentiate between each learner we teach, help low-achieving students achieve higher goals, help high-achieving students be challenged and not lazy, staying in contact with parents, meeting the expectations of administrators, working with students with behavior issues, not neglecting the non-behavior issue students, studying our content at a deeper level, trying to keep up with current educational and brain research, and the thousand other things I left out.  Teaching is actually a profession.  Not a lesser calling.  Not, quite frankly, a career for the weak.

I thought you said you were going to complain, Complainy McComplainerson.

Still not, just relating to my grade-in teaching educational brothers and sisters.  Their goal is to help the public see a little of the “teaching life.”  I understand that.  Especially in a world where regulations come down from non-educators and where choices are made by people only looking at what it “costs” to educate.  Also, we teachers are surrounded by people who like to joke about the hours and vacations (to that my reply is always…”They aren’t vacations…it’s comp. time).  Anyway, I understand where these teachers are coming from.

On the otherside of the “grade-ins” is the politics of spending cuts and cries for higher wages.  Okay, I am SO not getting in to the politics of this…I do agree that money is being wasted, but it is not on the teachers.  I think that the educational system needs a major audit.  I am in a right-to-work state, so we do not have unions.  I am not sure on my feelings on teachers unions, but I am pretty sure they are not the answer.  Real reform is the answer, but that is another blog for another day.

The reason for writing this is because as I read and thought about the grade-in that was broken up by the police in New York (see link in first paragraph), I had to ask myself what I thought about the grade-in “movement” (there have been several of these to pop up across the country).  Would I take part or even consider orchestrating one of these in my city?  The thought did cross my mind…but why?

That led me to the question of why I teach.  Why do I teach?  I definitely feel like I was called to teach.  God put the desire on my heart, and he opened up a vast series of doors as I pursued it.  But it is more than that…I know have a passion about education, namely educating in the situation I teach in (I teach in a Title I school…click the link to learn what that means).  Today, though the doctor said I was too sick to go to school today, I missed my students.  I missed teaching today and wished I felt better and was doing what I do.  I am a teacher…and proud!

I don’t teach for the money (what money 🙂  ).  I don’t teach for the “hours.”  I don’t teach for the vactions.  I don’t teach so you can think of me as saintly for dealing with what I have to deal with.  I don’t teach for you to feel bad for me for the time contraints.  I don’t teach for you wish teachers made more.  I don’t teach to show off how much I have to do.  I don’t teach for you.  I don’t teach for me (I would have burned out a long time ago if this were true).  I teach for my students.  I teach as a steward of the gifts and talents the God gave me.  I teach because God called us to love others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.

I teach as a gift of love and practice of faith.  My faith has been grown and stregthened because teaching isn’t easy, espeically where I teach.  I teach because God has given me gifts and talents to use to serve others.  This is what I am doing.  I am trying to live out the Gospel with my life.  I teach because I can’t do it on my own.  I teach as an act of sacrafice.  I offer the little I have and allow to God use it as he will.  In my case it is mostly for the sake of educating students who need a leg up…but who knows what the seeds of love and service can produce.

I don’t think I would attend a “grade-in.”  This is a private act of service and sacrafice between God and I.  I don’t need you to feel bad.

PS…If you do want to help me “do what I do”…please check out my Donor’s Choose projects and think about donating.  Everything little or big helps.  Both of them have about two weeks left…and they are both being doubled.  Please think about helping.  Project oneProject two.

Performancing Metrics


Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Faith and Life, Teaching


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Teacher and the Trash Can


Life has been busy.  I have not been able to blog for a couple days.  Such is the life of a teacher.  The first couple of weeks (teacher days and then the students coming back) can be jam-packed and tiring.  I am exhausted today.  It was the first day back for the students.

I had the idea for this post a couple of weeks ago, and even set it up to start writing.  Something came up (one of the other posts I actually wrote), and I put this to the side.  On my way home from school, I realized it was a lesson that I need to revisit for myself…and it works out to be quite timely since it is a story about teaching, or at least my role as a teacher and a challenge God gave me.

Get ready, kids, today is going to be about humility.

Last week I talked a lot about my testimony and what God is doing in my life.  What I am about to tell you about happened during the time of God really moving in my life and causing all of the big changes in my heart (My Time Travel Testimony and What’s in a Name: Jesus, Jesus, Bo-Bes…).  I was in a real place of the Spirit speaking to me constantly and challenging me in my everyday life.  He is still moving in me, it just felt more present because it had been a while since I was this close in my relationship to him.

Well anyway, I was really trying to be genuine in my dealings with my students and others.  I was really trying to get to know my students so I can be a better teacher to them, and one of the best times to do this was at lunch.  I had a few guys that would sit with me, and we would talk and joke around most days.

One of the days, near the end of lunch as I was about to take my trash and throw it away, one of the guys (a real character) says, “Mr. B, take my tray.”

I laughed at him, as I usually did, because he tried this once a week or so.  But that day it was different.  I felt a nudge in my heart to go ahead and take his trash.  I looked at him, and then said, “Okay.”  I took his tray and dumped it.

Needless to say, he was a bit surprised.  After I came back from the trash can, the Spirit started working again.  By the time I was back to my seat, I had a challenge: dump more trays.  I almost ignored it.  I really wanted to sit down.  I just about did…but I knew what I had to do.  I knew that if I sat, the Spirit would do a work on my heart becuase of my selfish and proud attitude.  I swallowed that pride and took trays from the students at my table and dumped them.

It was quite humbling.  I do not know what was worse, the laughs and stange looks from the students or the wondering eyes from other teachers.  It was a difficult task, especially because I could only carry a couple of trays at a time.  It took quite a few trips, but I got through it.  I learned my lesson.  I will not be prideful.

The next day…challenged again.  Dump more trays.  I did for my table again.  Thanks, God.  I got it.  I am prideful.  I will work on it.  Please help me work on it.

Day three…the Spirit spoke to my heart again: more trays.  Once more, I dumped the trays at my table.  Lesson learned?  No.

The next week (day three was on a Friday)…Dump more trays…MORE trays.  I dumped the trays at my table.  MORE TRAYS.  I dumped trays for the surrounding tables.  Am I done yet, God?

Everyday the challenge was for more trays.  By the end of the week I was dumping the trays of most of the students that I taught.  In the coming weeks the challenge got to the point that I was dumping which ever trays I could get to.  I started to want to dump trays for more students.  The challenges continued for a month or two.

What I found that happened was I stopped wondering when I would learn my lesson.  I actually started to like the humbling effect.

It helped me truly care about my students.  It is hard not to care when you are throwing away their garbage.

It made me more patient with my students.  It is hard not to be more patient when you are literally serving them in a real way.

More than this, though, it showed me some major heart issues.  The biggest one came up when I had the thought, “Why am I doing this?  These kids don’t deserve this.”

This was another slap-in-the-back-of-the-head moment for me.  What immediately came to mine is, “Why did I die for you?  You did not deserve it.  I did it because I love you.  Now I need you to show the same love for others.”  That shut me up.  A smile went on my face, and it was back to business.  I think this was the turning point when I started to enjoy the “challenges”.

Humbling is hard.  The breaking down of pride is painful.  But it is good.  And this is what really starts the process of conforming us into the image of Christ.

If you want a challenging message, we recently had a sermon from Proverbs about humility at my church.  Check it out, but be ready for a challenge of your own!  Humility and How I Achieved It by Bill White at Grace Church in Greenville/Powdersville.

What do you think about this?  How has God taught you about your pride issues?  What challenges has he given you?  Please share with the group.  🙂

Please consider becoming an email subscriber.  I will be posting less because of school, and that will include advertising less.  Email subscriptions are free and will give you automatic updates on when I do get a chance to post.  And if you like a post, please share it with others!

Performancing Metrics


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,