Friday, June 1, 2007

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

After several weeks of wondering, I found out yesterday that I will be returning to the same school next year - this time to be a 5th grade teacher.

I was talking to a good friend, Katie, yesterday, contemplating the irony of this whole situation. Just 2 years ago, I was living in Florida, ready to go overseas (and would not be satisfied with anything "less"), definitely not wanting to teach in America or really teach anywhere. God is crazy good to allow my heart to be changed in the ways that it has. First of all, by His grace, I am now a part of a local body who seeks to spread a joyful love for Jesus Christ to all people for the glory of God. Until
Treasuring Christ Church, I had personally never seen ministry, pursuing racial harmony or loving people really done well or efficiently in America. Thus, the reason my heart was so jaded toward "here" and inclined toward "there" (so long as "there" was in another country). Through God's word and His Spirit, I am learning that it's not so much where I go, or what I am doing, but that I am seeking to joyfully obey Christ in all He commands. Whether in America or overseas. Whether in Florida or North Carolina.

For all those who knew me several years ago, I'm sure you each heard me say (more than once), "I will never teach in America. I just don't want to have a 'normal' life. I can't see being content staying here, teaching, when I could be going and sharing Christ overseas." Looking back, I think that what I really wanted was adventure and for people to look at me and think, "Wow. She is amazing." Of course I would tag on an "It's only by His grace..." but my heart would be relishing in the praise of men for my boldness to go to a foreign land and share God's wonderful news. Praise God for a church that doesn't tolerate this kind of false humility! And praise Him for those who have learned this and are able to go in true humility to share the love of Christ overseas and in our own nation.

Though I don't know what my future holds, I know that God has brought me to a place of contentment in Him as I teach next year. I am so thankful for learning the importance of joyful obedience to Christ, no matter where I am or what my life looks like.

There are many reasons why I am so excited to move forward into teaching:

-I will be able to daily fight for social justice.
-I will be able to teach the kids that free breakfast comes from tax payers.
(See my blogging friend Ben Robinson's
recent blog about the public school system...)
-5th grade math is way more interesting than the 2nd grade math I've been teaching.
-I will be able to attemp modeling/teaching character and integrity, and wise decision making.
-I will be smarter than (or at least as smart as) a 5th grader by the time next June rolls around.
-I have the benefit of the Spirit of God living within me to give me constant wisdom, comfort, and discernment in the classroom. I could not teach apart from Him.

I am still looking for any advice or ideas for creative consequences, loving discipline (and what that really looks like), and ways to not get walked all over by these precious little jewels. (These will be the same group of kids that I blogged about last month -"
Freedom Writers"). Any ideas? Let me know! Even if you're not a teacher or a parent, I would appreciate any input you can give. A big thanks to all of you who have labored with me through this process of learning truth, and especially to Kristin and Nicole who daily listen to my stories.

God is ever so faithful!

3 comments:

Nicole Wilson said...

you can DO it!
~nw

Ben said...

alicia-

i understand your story. i used to be eager to get the heck out of America too, for all the same reasons. now it is looking like i am going to be here a while. and i am ok with that.

i was an inch away from public school teaching this time last year. while i probably wouldn't send my own kids (i don't have any to send) i think i would teach there, for all the right reasons. i would probably get fired, but i would so teach there until i did. i hope that you influence your kids for the glory of God. i think the number one frustration you might encounter is not being able to stand on the authority of God's Word whenever you need to correct behavior or teach practical things like hard work, forgiveness, obedience, etc. i hope that you do whatever it takes to be faithful to God in your work. i will try to remember to pray for you and the 5th grade.

proud for you!
ben

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions