Well, I've made it through the first three weeks. The first day was rough. I was so nervous and I think the kids in my class were even more nervous that I was. We broke the ice well, but when I went home that first night I felt totally overwhelmed. I felt so incompetent. However, I went in for another day and things went a little better. I enjoyed a weekend to recover, and every day since then has been better. I have found that I really love teaching, and I love my class too.
I've had a few surprises about the generation gap that exists between myself and my students. I was talking to them about a book that we were reading together and we were just looking at the publication information. I noticed that the book was published in Wheaton, IL, and I said, "Do you know what's in that city? Wheaton College. That's where Billy Graham went to school." Do my surprise, I heard one of my students say, "Who is Billy Graham?" The sad thing is that he wasn't alone. I don't think any of them knew who he was, but a few started to have a light come on when I told them about Franklin Graham and mentioned Samaritan's Purse.
The other surprise came when I brought in a donation of a set of encyclopedias. Before telling the class I asked, "Do you know what an encyclopedia is?" and I actually had several who said they did not. I guess when you can look up anything that you want to on the Internet in a matter of seconds, a bulky set of encyclopedias is just not that practical. I did try to convince them, though, that what they would find in print in that set of books in our class is more reliable than what they would find in a google search.
During the second week of class I had to take a quick trip home to Illinois. My great grandmother passed away and her funeral was on Wednesday morning. We left after school on Tuesday and I was back in time to teach Thursday. By that time I felt comfortable enough as a teacher that I don't think I missed a beat when it came to the classroom for the remainder of the week.
The first few days I was mostly nervous because I didn't know how I was going to fill up a whole day with what little I had to say. Now, only three weeks in, I realize that the day is so short I can barely cover the things I need to in the short time I have with the students.
The first week or two I was probably too much of a push over when it came to keeping an orderly classroom. They all had so many questions and many of them were not pertinent to what we were talking about in class but I let them ask anyway and I did my best to answer. I've discovered that much of this was a waste of class time and I've started to be a bit more strict about how the classroom time is run. I'm sure it won't be long and we will have a good routine established and they will know what I expect.
My favorite part of the class is my time reading with them. We've started out the year reading Bruce Ware's book Big Truths for Young Hearts. It has been a great and fruitful time. We have already finished the chapters on the doctrine of Scripture and the Trinity and we're now beginning creation. The kids are enjoying it and it is probably the material where I feel most at home.
Three weeks in is pretty small considering I've got to keep this up till May, but I'm feeling pretty good about things so far and I'm looking forward to more surprises and more things that I can teach the wonderful kids that I have now come to know and love.
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