Friday, February 15, 2013

Once in a while, I have to post about a teacher moment

I wonder if anyone else would’ve found it ironic. Really, for the email to come, that week, that day, with that title... “Become a Model Educator This Year.” 

Of course, the human heart always dreams of being the best. I CAN educate all of my students to the level of proficiency required by the state - in my dreams. I CAN finish the paperwork to become a lead teacher or get a master’s - in the visions in my head. I CAN make a difference - so I believed.

And then there’s reality. .. There’s the week of testing, when only 45% of the kids rise to the bar and the others: two skip the last third of the test, one nearly passes out, and three just don’t perform. They’re the ones who are SUPPOSED to perform, though. This is messing up my dreams.

Everyone is tired. My patience is low (which means my tolerance rises because I can’t draw rational lines). The kids’ levels of self-control are low. We’re all sleepy and we combat it with activity and attitude. The volume in the room rises.

I decide we all need a break and we head outside. Walking down the hall I encounter the librarian and the school’s tech assistant. I greet them, “Long time, no see.” (I’ve been fixing my own tech problems.) One laughs and responds, “Do you know I can hear you every day, all the way at the end of the hall?”

I am sure I nearly cry. Any other day it might be a joke, as it was intended. Today, this day, it is beyond what I can handle. Here, too, the dreams of a quiet, orderly class are crushed. There’ll be no model class for this teacher.

And so I come home. I check my email. Become a model educator. Not today. Not this week. Not this year.

I read somewhere that Jesus, my Jesus, came to bind up the broken-hearted (well, I read that part in the Bible), and my brokenness might not be the popular sort. My brokenness, then, is this: my imperfections, my failed ambitions, my unrealistic dreams.

I’m glad Jesus loves me anyway. Even if I’m not a model educator. This year or any year.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spanish poetry

Actually, let me preface this by stating that in using the phrase "Spanish poetry" I refer more to the country of origin, to Spain than to the language, as one might expect in a blog based on travels in Colombia.

No, my friends, I only want to pass on a little bit of light that shone through culture today. We had an inservice for the "bilingual program" in our district, an inservice led by a educator from the Spanish Resource Center - an educator from Spain - and meant as a workshop on teaching techniques, particularly, of course, teaching Spanish. The activities: primarily reading, listening, and watching Spanish literature and media and discussing the view.

The first poem was entitled "Para que yo me llame Àngel Gonzàlez" (How I came to be called Angel Gonzalez). Our task? To determine the mood of the poem. It was a bit of a sad poem, the poem of a man looking back on his life and forward to approaching death. What struck me though were the lines of reflection: in journeys, in beatings, in shipwreck, in dangers, in weariness, in brokenness... my life has come to this.

Where else do we hear the echoes of tones of hardships? Where else has a man reflected on a life so full of the bitter?

Tell me the lines of the ancients do not influence this poem of our modern era. Tell me that you do not hear the echo of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 11. Tell me things of Jesus Christ do not influence our world, just as Paul used the poetry of the Greeks to influence their world in Acts.

But then. Tell me how sad is it that this man had only the moments of his old age to reflect on what he'd become, while Paul could glory in the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.