Oct 11, 2010

Of Juggling and Dinosaurs

(Reader alert: This may or may not be a bit of a rant. Feel free to ignore this entire post.)

So, I've heard the phrase, "Fake it 'til you make it," before, but I never really felt like it applied to me until now.

I am having a hard time as a classroom teacher. I don't know why it's so much different from last year, or from student teaching, but it is. I feel like I have about 108 extremely-urgent-and-need-your-attention-at-this-very-second-or-the-world-will-end balls that I'm juggling at the moment (hyperbole added mostly by my supervisors, but also by me). And I don't know what to do about it. I thought my first year of teaching was tough. To emulate a dear friend, I. had. no. idea. I feel like I'm having to fake teaching experience until I actually have it. But there's no room for the slightest mistake. Piece of cake, right?

Here's an example.

I'm not a dirty person, by nature. I'm not the cleanest, but I'm not dirty. The way some of the other teachers comment on my classroom, you would think that I have a herd of muddy, book-throwing dinosaurs making Brachiosaurus-sized messes at every turn. Three times today (three!) I was approached about how my students tend to leave their books on the floor.

Yep. They do.

I'd rather have that than have them running to their lockers at all times of the day. And that was a conscious decision.

But nope, evidently students at ACA cannot learn if their books are on the floor (as for the it-messes-up-the-books argument, some of my co-workers allow their students to SIT on their textbooks!).

I have enough on my plate in class with trying to be a full-time ESL teacher, a constant behavior modifier for three students, an LD specialist, a judge, a consoler, a teacher, and a caring Christian influence. To be honest, I don't care if my students put their books on the floor. I need to pick my battles.

Once again, though, as in the last post, I have to remember that God is my strength. I must rely upon Him alone to get me through the difficulties of teaching. He can safely guide each of the 108 juggling balls back into my hands (the analogy seems a bit weird at this point). Good thing. 'Cause I would be out of this career path pretty quick otherwise.

1 comment:

Nate said...

Warren - I have another analogy for you that has helped me numerous times. Being a "woodsy" person, I gravitate towards analogies dealing with God's creation. This one deals with trees. Here is an excerpt from a 1920's textbook, "A Year in the Wonderland of Trees" by Hawksworth and Atkinson:

"When the body of a tree or a branch or a twig is bent by a gust of wind, the sap-cells are compressed on one side of the bend and stretched on the other. In both cases the result is that, as the bent branch or body straightens again, and the sap-cells reopen, an extra supply of sap is pumped, by suction, to these points of strain. Thus the tree is not only made to grow larger and stronger at these points, but the whole tree grows faster and stronger; just as the exercise of your legs and arms not only strengthens them, but affects your whole body.
Where a limb joins the trunk of a veteran that has weathered many storms, you'll sometimes see a big, bulging mass like the muscles of the strong man's shoulders. The bending strain is especially great in the case of horizontal branches bearing thick clusters of leaves that are always catching and being tossed about by the winds. Following the admirable methods of tree architecture, the branch not only springs upward in an arch -- evidently designed, as arches are in human architecture, to resist strain -- but, in the case of the older branches, you'll notice a heavier growth of wood on the under-side. In other words, it is not only an arch but a buttressed arch! "

I think the analogy is very apparent! God always has a purpose for the wind events in our (and trees) lives. God is always working to make us holier to glorify Himself. I hope this helps as much as it has me. I too needed this reminder.