Sunday, September 25, 2011

They Call Me "Teacher"

It was the first day of classes. My assignment was to teach English to grades 5-8. I had never been a teacher before - especially a teacher of English as a foreign language. I hadn't even been a student at a grade school, and now I was walking into a whole new chapter of my life. I had spent many hours working on an English teaching course; I had tried to come up with some semblance of lesson plans for the first week of school, but my experience that first day wasn't quite what I had imagined it would be. Not knowing what my students already knew or didn't know, I started with the basics. I soon realized that what I had planned for the first week was only enough for the first day and even at that my students seemed to know everything I came up with.

With the first day of classes over, I realized that I was in for something far beyond my ability. Once I was home, I sat down to figure out what I would teach the second day, and settled for what I had planned on teaching in the second week. All the plans I had made before the start of school were now becoming rather useless since my estimation of how little they knew was far from reality.

That second day, I headed to classes a little less sure of myself than the day before since I now knew that they were far ahead of what I had imagined. Nevertheless, I proceeded with the lesson that I had planned even though most of what I shared seemed just about as old to them as what I had taught the day before. I do have to say that there were as few who seemed rather unfamiliar with what I was sharing since they didn't have any background in English, but the majority of my students have been here a few years and know a fair amount of English.

Classes over, I found myself back on the floor of our house wondering what in the world I would teach next. The question wasn't how to teach it was what  to teach. I did feel like I had a little bit better idea of what to teach since one of the students had said that she wanted to learn grammar, but that didn't answer all my questions. Feelings of discouragement and inability began to overwhelm me as I thought of the many weeks of teaching that lay ahead. How I wished to be released from the responsibility and see someone of more experience take my place, but that was not to be I and knew I was in for the long haul.

That first week was filled with experiences that I will never forget. At times I was tempted to despair. I knew that I had a friend that would bring me through, yet I had never tested His power to this extent and I found myself doubting. It seemed like each day I was hanging on the edge, wondering if I would ever be able to relax. However, as the days progressed I began to trust my heavenly Father more and more as He proved Himself faithful time and again. Needless to say, by the time classes were over on Friday, I was looking forward to Sabbath more than I had yet since we'd been in Thailand.

The next week I found myself getting more comfortable while in the classroom and much less exhausted after teaching, but the lesson plans still seemed like an insurmountable challenge. I struggled, and I doubted. I prayed, and I sang. The challenges were many, but I began to see God's power and love more and more and to trust Him more completely.

The third week was a week of extremes. Things started out a little rough since I was fighting a sinus infection which had started on Friday. I was planning on teaching on Monday but had to come home early from morning worship. Sharon ended up teaching classes for me that day which was a wonderful blessing. Not only did I get to rest, I also got to do some things that had been waiting for a long time. That evening, however, I found myself discouraged and overwhelmed to the point of tears. I poured out my heart to God, and from that point on I had peace, real peace. In fact, I had such peace that I actually relaxed so much following day that I hardly thought twice about helping with several situations that needed my help that afternoon that I didn't finish the next day's lesson plan. When I felt the call the next morning to help someone once again, I realized that I was being tested, and I laid it in God's hands. He gave me just what I needed to finish the lesson plan before classes that day, and I lacked nothing. As the week came to a close I simply could not believe the peace that I had about it all. And on top of doing all the things that had previously kept me busy all day, I found time to do other things.

While it's hard to believe that three weeks of school have already gone by, it also seems like I have gone through enough for six weeks rather than three.  If I had known before hand what I would go through, I don't know that would have chosen to walk this road, but value of this experience has been proportionate to the challenge that it has been. I now find myself more convicted of my own weakness and a stronger believer that all God's biddings are enablings.

Yes, they call me "teacher," but I would venture to say that I have learned more in these last three weeks than any of my students have. I suppose I always will be a student. . .and a teacher. :)

"Workers for Christ are never to think, much less to speak, of failure in their work. The Lord Jesus is our efficiency in all things; His Spirit is to be our inspiration; and as we place ourselves in His hands, to be channels of light, our means of doing good will never be exhausted. We may draw upon His fullness and receive of that grace which has no limit." -- From the pen of Inspiration

1 comment:

  1. God is so good! He is the ever present help for every kind of trouble, even in the classroom. Keep praying and leaning on Him and He will guide you and teach you in the way which you should go.