Christ-Like Classroom

in the Public Schools

Page 3 of 3

Setting up a Christ-like classroom

This will be my 6th year of teaching and my 4th classroom (5th if you count a room I set up before leaving for another job). It would be easy to say I’m just getting good at it, easy to take credit.

This classroom is different, though, because today I had God’s help.

In yesterday’s post, I vowed to stop and pray as soon as I entered the room. That didn’t happen… I got distracted talking to a co-worker on my way in. Before I opened the door, she pointed out that she had peeked in my room and couldn’t believe how much stuff there was. Was it all mine, she asked?

My new room is down the hall from my old one and contained all the furniture from my old room plus anything the former teacher didn’t want that didn’t get raided by the rest of the staff.

I don’t blame that co-worker for my increased anxiety. I blame the enemy. The devil successfully took away my prayer. Distracted by conversation and overwhelmed by massive amounts of furniture, boxes and rugs shoved into the center of the room, I forgot to give it all to God and wanted to take control myself.

The devil continued to work his ways. He made me sweaty (3rd floor, no air-conditioning). He made me thirsty (I had left my water bottle at home). He made me overwhelmed. There were a lot of reasons I felt justified for going home before I had accomplished much of anything.

Then I paused and said a prayer. Nothing long or complicated, just “God, put my anxieties to rest and take control.”

A couple of hours later I was kicking myself for not taking a before picture, because this is what it looked like:

Classroom setup

I could never have prioritized, gone into action, and taken control of that situation alone. With limited time before the school year starts, I would be running behind and the students would have suffered because of it. God came through though – and I’m sure it won’t be the last time in this new season.

I’m going in

Tomorrow will be my first trip to school since June 3. Two full months has brought much-needed de-stressing, bonding with my girls, and a fresh perspective on why God put me where I am.

I love the saying that “August is a month full of Sundays.” The anxiety builds, the dread mounts and the enjoyment of time off plummets. It’s amazing that once August 1 hits, it always feels as if summer is over. Yet, I don’t have to officially report for another three weeks after that date. The majority of the workforce, besides teachers, would consider that period of time luxurious.

I am determined to enjoy summer’s twilight. And I am determined to go into my classroom tomorrow with an attitude that brings Him the glory.

Usually I would be so overwhelmed during my first visit to my classroom that I would barely get anything done. I would have a to-do list, but would be distracted by so many other things I would end up making more work for myself.

Tomorrow, my first priority will be prayer. When I step into my classroom, I plan on inviting God into the space. That’s it. That’s the only item on my checklist tomorrow. He will guide the rest. I’ll ask that He put my anxieties to rest and help me shape a Christ-Like learning environment.

Christ-Like Classroom, the book

I’ve always wanted to be an author – a published author. I’ve dabbled in young-adult fiction, short stories, even picture books, but nothing ever came of it. I knew I wanted to work on a writing project this summer, but I had no idea that God would call me to write for him.

I started a couple of small projects at the beginning of the summer. They felt forced and fizzled out. The last thing I wanted to think about was school. To say I had a challenging class last year would be the opposite of hyperbole (is that even a thing? You get the point.). But God started moving my pen over paper, and I started writing about the school year I was coming off of.

I was anything but Christ-like in my classroom last year. I yelled, I threatened, I ranted, I raved. I made excuse after excuse for the year I had. All wasn’t lost, though. At some point toward the end of our winter deep freeze, my need for control melted and I invited God into my classroom. Peace did not come into the room, but it came into my heart. God didn’t change how my students acted, but how I reacted.

As God put the words on the page, I realized He gave me a story to tell. He gave me advice to give. He called me to write a book that would wake up Christian teachers already in the public schools to the fact that despite the separation of church and state, their classrooms can be their ministries. I believe He has called me to start a ministry for teachers who work in enviroments where Christ can be hard to find.

So I wrote, and I wrote, and then I revised. I was about to my manuscript to a self-publishing company when two things stopped me.

First, the word count. I knew I didn’t write an epic, but I wanted to write a respectable book, not a pamphlet. And the 15,000 word count that I finished with sounds more like a pamphlet.

My initial reaction was to get down about this. I worked all summer on it, and now it wasn’t even long enough to be a book!

Through prayer, God gave me advice about what to add:

Second, was what I wrote legit? God-inspired, yes. But can I speak from experience? No. I have not been a model of what I wrote. So this year I will be trying to follow the cliche’ and “practice what I preach.” As God gives me His divine wisdom and energy to do so, I will write application sections of the book and, God willing, submit for publishing at the end of the school year.

In the meantime, I will use this web site to be held accountable and blog about my experiences putting Christ-Like Classroom into practice. Check back for updates and more as they come!

 

First Day of School is Aug. 22

There is a lot of work to do until then. Come back for more soon!

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