Had I Not Known Jesus…

Today’s assignment?¬† Parent/Teacher conferences. ūüėģ

I know most teachers don’t mind them too much, but I am forever marked by a couple of memorable conferences that stamped dread for these days into my psyche probably until the day I retire.¬† It’s been more than a few years now, but oh! I will never forget.

Let me share about one of these with you. Hang on to your seat tightly, it’s a true story!

Had I not known Jesus, I more than likely would be in another profession as I speak right now, because I would have been fired that day.  We had, for lack of a better word and to keep the narrative honest, an aberrant mom who scheduled an appointment to see all the academic teachers who taught her twins.  I wish someone had told me she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic! Some did know, but had failed to fill me in, that there were restraining orders put out on her in the past by a teacher or two.

Say what?  Yes, you read that right!

I walked into the room, sat down, introduced myself, and stated the standard teacher graces. Then… she let ‘er rip!!! Oh. My. Goodness!¬† I immediately tried to address her concerns, but she wasn’t having it.¬† As she got increasingly agitated (she turned red as her voice topped out in a yell), I literally thought she was going to come over the desk she was seated in and duke it out with me.¬† Believe me when I tell you, I prepared myself for the fight which I just knew was about to take place.¬† If she hit me, then buddy, I was going to defend myself!

In the mean time, a couple of teachers walked by and heard the commotion.¬† They then called for back up by the administration.¬† One administrator came hurriedly down the hall, turned around, and stood outside the door after seeing who was in the room with me!¬† Then came the counselor, and I’ll be dad gum, she did the same thing!¬† It was bizarre!¬† They had experienced her wrath before and were justifiably scared.

Fortunately, my fellow teacher friend from across the hall took the bull by the horns, so to speak (or literally to speak!), coming to my rescue calming her down.¬† Thank God for friends. I still don’t understand how she did it, but then again, she’s amazing and just has a calmness about her.

I tell you my story in order to share this:¬† Had I not known Jesus, I would surely have said something I shouldn’t have or who knows what else?¬† It’s funny, but still scary, as I revisit it now.¬† We really never know what’s just around the corner or what’s going to happen at school from day to day or, even more so, from class to class.¬† Therefore, it’s good we know Jesus isn’t it dear teachers?

Knowing Him makes all the difference in any situation.¬† Just think about this:¬† What if we didn’t know Him?¬† How frightening would that be?¬†¬†

All of us have our Had I Not Known Jesus stories.  Think back to the past, or even recently, to an event where knowing Him changed the outcome of your story, especially those from the classroom. Remember, it would have been worse had both you and I not known Him. That, my friend, is the goodness of the Lord.  Praise His name!

Knowing Him¬†(and 1st John 4:4!) even makes Parent/Teacher Conference Day go a whole lot better. ūüôā

God bless you, dear teachers, and be thankful you know Him.¬† Stay devoted, and I’ll see you right here next week.

#HadINotKnownHim  #GodIsGood  #WeAreHis  #Thankful  #GodIsGreater

 

Jesus: Serving Savior & Serving Teacher

Jesus is a serving savior!

And…

Jesus is a serving teacher!

Fellow teachers, if we want to follow in His footsteps throughout the school year, let’s examine ourselves inwardly, before we gather our chicks around us in our classrooms, by asking ourselves two questions that will produce fruit for the kingdom outwardly.

1- Are we a serving teacher?  

2- Are we serving our students the way Jesus would?  

Now that we’ve completed our first week of school for the year in my district (four pre-planning days + one day with students), this thought has been on my mind especially after completing our first day with the kiddos yesterday. ¬†I know I briefly touched on the subject of serving last week, but I want to add a little more icing on top of the cake if I may (or more chocolate on the donut, syrup on the waffle, or more whip cream on the milkshake…God’s word is that good!).

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon with this same title as we were honoring military members and first responders. ¬†It’s good to hear other perspectives on serving. What really resonated with me, though, was the fact that what he was saying about them could also be said of teachers, too.

Therefore, I’m tweaking it for my fellow teachers out there who are reading this blog post. ¬†Let me say, if you are as exhausted as I am already, it will give you fresh energy and insight as to what’s important in the long run in our classrooms, because when we serve our students, we serve our Savior.

In order to accomplish the mission of service, our spiritual antennas must be sensitive to receive signals from our Father and our students, in order not to miss any opportunities He sends our way. I know sometimes I may sound dramatic, but nothing, I mean NOTHING, is more important then when eternity is at stake.  And eternity is definitely what is in the balance here.  Make no mistake about it!  Selah.

So here it is in a condensed version tweaked for teachers…

  • Serve others because Jesus served others – rephrase –¬†serve students because Jesus served students. ¬†I can think of at least 12 students Jesus had close by most of the time!

  • Jesus served people in crisis – rephrase – We have students (too many sometimes) who are in a crisis. Let’s serve them in their crisis’ situations. ¬†The woman who was caught in adultery, the officer whose daughter was sick – too many to count, just like us!

  • Jesus served people who didn’t care about him – rephrase – sometimes all the work we do serving our students and their parents will go unnoticed or unappreciated, because they simply don’t care. Some students and parents can even be down right mean. ¬†Let’s serve them anyway. ¬†He died for them for goodness sake!

Serving others opens the door to a person’s heart. ¬†Thus, serving students opens the door to our students’ hearts. ¬†It’s both a natural (and a supernatural!) thing. ¬†We want those doors open fellow teachers! ¬†Why?….

While we certainly can’t be our students’ savior, by serving them we can introduce them to Him! ¬†I find that to be the most gratifying act of service there is. ¬†Bar none. ¬†Now that’s something that will keep us energized as we press on toward the high calling. Amen?!

God bless you dear teachers.  Until next week, serve, serve, and serve some more!

#JesusServes  #SoShouldWe

Fruit Frenzy, Continued


                               

                                           Welcome back teachers!

Have you ever been around a student who just makes you feel badly?  Chances are you have, and unfortunately, chances are there have been times when both you and I have acted likewise to a student or two through the years.  It happens, amen?

This week, we are continuing the series Fruit Frenzy, specifically kindness and goodness, and are tackling the question, How can we combat this type of behavior in our students and in us?

Image result for bible verses about kindness and goodness

The answer to that question is really very simple…

We combat ugly behavior in our students, as well as ourselves, with the weapons of Christian kindness and Godly goodness.

Don’t misunderstand me – bad behavior in the classroom must be addressed. The sooner, the better. ¬†Amen? ¬†However, our tone afterwards, and in the days to come, must be one of love and reconciliation, followed up with acts of kindness reaffirming our love for the students under our tutelage (and that God has given us, I might add).

Also, being good to our students on a continual  basis is another recipe for a healthy classroom environment.  Remember, we reap what we sow.  Sow goodness, reap goodness!  Sow kindness, reap kindness!

The verses listed above are practical ways to demonstrate kindness and goodness, not only to our students, but to others we encounter.  Further, if we sponsor a club, a sports team, or are a grade level teacher, we can aid communities around our schools by engaging our students in these very same kindnesses about which Jesus spoke.

Remember, Jesus said we will inherit the kingdom when we do so! What are we sowing fellow teachers?  Food for thought.  Fruit for thought!

#FruitOfTheSpirit  #FruitFrenzy  #KillThemWithKindness  #GodlyGoodness

The 5 Characteristics of a Christian Teacher (Finale!)

download-1

Pointing our students to Christ – it’s where we began and will end this series. ¬†It’s what Christian teachers are conscious of day in and day out. ¬†It’s our mission, our purpose, our passion, and our commitment. ¬†If we all could have a common mission statement, I believe¬†Pointing Our Students To Christ¬†would be universally agreed upon. ¬†

Indeed, characteristics 1-4 drive us to do just that…

  • Step 1 – ¬†PASSION

  • Step 2 – ¬†BEARING FRUIT

  • Step 3 –¬†¬†RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

  • Step 4 – ¬†WITNESSING

Finally, we come to characteristic #5! ¬†And that is…¬†always endeavoring to¬†IMPROVE¬†our craft. ¬†Christian teachers should be¬†the best teachers in the profession. ¬†Amen? ¬†Of course, years of experience help us become better teachers, but we are by no means perfect. ¬†We can always improve and need to be mindful of that fact.

Jesus

So how can we improve?  By looking to Jesus of course!  Jesus is our mentor and example of the perfect teacher. Who Was The Best Teacher, EVER?  is a blog post I wrote on this very subject.  If we can be just a smidgen of the teacher Jesus exemplified, then we will be just fine, and of course we will be pointing our students to Christ as a result.  Please click on the above link to access the post.

Of course, these are not all of the characteristics our students witness as we endeavor to point them to Christ, but it would be the 5 that would be the most recognizable to anyone who entered our classroom and saw us in action. ¬†Jesus, for certain, is watching and surely smiles at what He sees. ūüôā

God bless you, dear Christian teachers.  Until next week, stay devoted by pointing students to Christ.

 

 

 

To Opt In Or To Opt Out? That Is The Question!

keep-calm-school-is-almost-over (1)

25 days! ¬†Yes! There are only 25 days left after this week until the end of the school year! ūüôā

We are in the throws of testing this week here where I teach. ¬†Testing is no fun, but alas, we live in evil days! ¬†I’m convinced of it! ūüėČ ¬†Seriously though, the scenery of both anxious teachers and students pondering and conversing about the end results isn’t a most pleasant event to witness, but as one of my colleagues mentioned yesterday, opting out shouldn’t be an option. ¬†Opting out of the test is an option here in Georgia, but, as she suggested, what would we be teaching our kids? When times are tough, stressful, and maybe even unbearable, it’s time to close up shop and give up because we can’t handle it? That would be akin to enabling them to fail and we enable them enough!¬†

Similarly, opting out on what God has called us to do should not be an option either, dear teachers! Unless we clearly hear from Him to lay down what He has called us to do and/or change directions, then we are to stick with it no matter the difficulties we face. Consider these verses…

Luke 9:62 –¬†But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 6:9 –¬†Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 –¬†But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

Philippians 3:12-14 –¬†Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14 –¬†You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them…

1 Corinthians 9:24 –¬†Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

Isaiah 40:31 –¬†Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Remember all of these verses were written from those coming before us who persevered through dire trials and tribulations. ¬†I’m convinced they would repeat them to us if they were here today. ¬†Jesus himself prayed for future believers way back in the Garden of Gethsemane and still intercedes for us today. ¬†If that’s the case, then no matter what we go through, as long as we are abiding in Him and His word, we will overcome the difficulties life hands us so that we will accomplish His purpose for our lives. ¬†(John 15 and 17)

Therefore dear teachers, we can make it through testing, we can make it through the last month of school, and we can make it through anything the Lord has called us to do. OPT IN!  NEVER. OPT. OUT!

God bless you and stay devoted!

Fight Fire With FIRE!

download (17)

For teachers who enjoy ordinary, run of the mill disciplinary issues (like me) reading the blog today, life in our classrooms is good.  Amen?!  But for teachers who deal with extraordinary disciplinary cases day in and day out, life in the classroom is not only tough, but can be down right dangerous.

While unwinding from a typical day in my classroom last week, I turned on the news to see what was going on in this chaotic world we live in. (Ironic I know!) ¬†To my dismay, on the broadcast was a story about teachers being physically assaulted by their students. Cell phone video coverage displaying fight after fight of out of control students attacking their teachers, hurt me to my core as I watched. ¬†What’s occurring in some of our nation’s classrooms is frightening. Truly, we are witnessing a battle against demonic forces, forces battling for the souls of our students. No doubt about it my fellow teachers. No. Doubt.

download (18)

So the question is this…¬† If you are in this situation, what do you do? Perhaps one solution could be to¬†fight fire with FIRE!¬†

I don’t pretend to know all the answers (or any for that matter) for teachers in the middle of what seems to be hell if that is you, but I do want to encourage you not to waller in the mud of filth the enemy is slinging around, using, of all things, your students. Remember the veil is completely, but not irretrievably, drawn over their eyes presently, and that is why they are acting like rabid dogs.

Notice I said¬†presently, because with the Word of God, the fires of hell are extinguished! Ephesians 5:26 calls it the washing of the Word of God…

just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.…

I believe when we stay in the word, we are cleansed, and when we are cleansed the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11) burn in us, making a straight line to our students thereby robbing the enemy’s fire of its oxygen, extinguishing the blaze. Recall how firefighters set fires to fight fires? ¬†That’s the idea here! ¬†Yes, the firefighter is blameless too, because he was preventing destruction of lives and property. ¬†See the picture?

Since we are fighting fire with fire, I pray that the following acronym will encourage and strengthen you as you face the fire in your classroom. ¬†Remember, Jesus’ fire and the world’s fire are extraordinarily different…

F –¬†Forgive! ¬†Luke 23:34¬† Forgive them for they know not what they do.¬† ¬†Each day as you enter your classroom, you must unequivocally choose to forgive students whom you know are out to harm (or have harmed) you, but you must do it in word and deed! Remember Proverbs 25: 21-22 ¬†21¬†If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;¬†22¬†For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.¬†¬†Talk about fighting fire with fire, well there you go!

I –¬†Instruction is key! Psalms 32:8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. ¬†This applies to your lesson plans (which should be well planned and well thought out as well as relevant) and instruction on how students should behave properly and be at peace with you and their fellow students. Perhaps if you are in an exceptionally frightful environment, spending at least 5 minutes per class each day to instill life lessons would be beneficial.

R – Resolve Conflicts Quickly! ¬†Proverbs 18:15-16 ¬†15¬†‚ÄúIf your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16¬†But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.¬†¬†Redirect students respectfully and if they don’t follow through, then talk to them privately immediately after class. If the situation warrants, send them out auspiciously on an errand so that you may meet them in the hall to talk with privately upon their return. Also, review as many classroom management articles as you possibly can!

E –¬†Emotions Must Be Kept Under Control! ¬†Proverbs 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. ¬†So count to 10, hold your breath, and repeat that verse in your mind before you do something that will add fuel to the fire!

Remember, it’s a spiritual battle! ¬†So above all, put on your armor before the first student walks through your classroom door, dear teachers.

download (20)

 

Imagine looking in the spiritual mirror and beholding this person! Well, that’s how you and I look when we are armed and ready for battle, and that’s the person who will STAND! ¬†Remember when¬†Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tossed into the fiery furnace? ¬†The fourth man, JESUS, came on the scene and stood in the fire with them! Praise God! He will do the same for you and me too!

God bless you in this fight dear teachers.  I have no doubt in my mind that God is with you, and He will reward you for your work on His behalf.  I am praying for you and I invite all my fellow teachers to pray on your behalf as well.  Keep the faith, fight fire with fire, and stay devoted!

#FIRE


“And the point is?…”

What’s the point? ¬†Why am I here everyday in this classroom?¬† Have you ever asked yourself these questions my fellow teachers?

If so, then today’s video blog is just for you. ¬†I know sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest from the trees, isn’t it? ¬†Nevertheless, it’s imperative we do!

One of my students asked me this very same question, which as you’ll see, caught me off guard. ¬†As I thought more and more about it though, I knew that I knew it is a question teachers are asking themselves.

With the state of education being what is today, I read more and more of good teachers, even highly credentialed, award winning teachers, calling it quits. ¬† As Christian teachers we can’t, indeed we mustn’t, take this route. ¬†Eternity is weighing in the balance!

I’m praying the blog encourages you in the “everydayness” of what you’re doing in your classroom. ¬†Remember, by remaining devoted to God we will be better teachers!

#HangethThouInThere