Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion.
"I am dying of thirst," said Jill.
"Then drink," said the Lion.
"May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
"Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill.
"I make no promise," said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
"Do you eat girls?" she said.
"I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
"I daren't come and drink," said Jill.
"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.
"Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."
"There is no other stream," said the Lion.

-The Silver Chair

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I was grading my eleventh graders' journals. They are so precious to me. I love these kids so much. They are a gift from the Lord God to me for this year. Even when I have a really terrible day with my other students, knowing that I get to go in to my 11th graders makes me get up in the morning. They are so bright, and funny, and inspiring.

This evening I was reading their journals that they turned into me. One of my kids shared about missing his Mom and the last time he saw her, another shared about the a family vacation where nobody argued and they were all happy for just a day. Another shared about how he was too busy trying to hide from his Mom the day his daughter was born, and how if he could go back to any day in his life, he'd go back to that one. Before I knew it, I was weeping into toilet paper with the dog looking quizzically on.

Dear Father, please continue to break my heart for things that break yours. Please draw these precious children to your heart. Let them somehow know that they are beloved and so valuable. Somehow.

Currently listening to: Imogen Heap

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I misplaced my journal somehow in my move.

In his essay "How to Write a Letter," Garrison Keillor says that shy people need to write letters so they don't "dry up and blow away." People forget so quickly. People disappear unless they write things down. That is why I journal. I must carefully chronicle for myself. I hate not knowing where all my thoughts, and prayers, and favorite quotes are. I actually feel a bit lost. Part of me considered going and buying a new one. I don't want a new one though, I want my old one.

My Juniors read this Friday. I wonder if they understand it the way I do.

"Now there are some things we all know, but we don't take'm out and look at'm very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars...everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All of the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being." - Our Town, Thornton Wilder

Monday, February 15, 2010

Reality Check [1, 2, 3]

I have a student who sometimes stays back from lunch to stay in my room. Usually he takes a nap. Today was one of those days and while we were chatting, he asked me what I was most afraid of. I said it was a toss up between failure and being alone. I asked him what he was most afraid of. He said prison.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


One of my favorite characters in all literary history, Anne Shirley once said, “Each day is always fresh with no mistakes.” As I experience teaching for the first time, I have been surprised to see that these wise words apply not only to my life as a teacher, but to the lives of my students. I have high expectations for myself and at times, I forget that I am still a learner. One day, I was very excited about my lesson on Walden where I was going to break my students up into groups. They were going to read and teach the class what they learned. Unfortunately the students weren’t able to understand Walden as well as I thought they would. They tried to explain the section they had read to the class, but they couldn’t. I had given them wings before they were quite ready, so I slow down and show them how to read such a piece on their own. Even as a seasoned teacher, I know that there will be days when my lessons will not go quite as I planned, or days when I am not as patient or kind as I should be. This is when I am reminded that tomorrow will come. I will have yet another chance to make things right, to try something new, and to do things better than I did today. Each day I will improve because I have the courage to embrace what is given: a fresh start.
I have learned to allow the same opportunity for my students. I am not the only one who deserves a second chance, or three hundred and sixty five chances, for that matter. My students also are given the liberty of a future free to make mistakes. A teacher does not have the time to hold a grudge. The popular phrase “turn the other cheek” comes to mind, but in a way teacher’s cheeks turn limitlessly. If teachers do not exhibit this forgiveness, they will handicap their students by not allowing them a bad day or not allowing them to work past their prior experiences with a given subject matter. This past semester, one of my students advised me to give up on a classmate of theirs because “everybody else already had.” This attitude shocked me but caused me to realize that some children think they have run out of chances. If we expect failure, why are we surprised when it occurs? By giving students a chance to learn from their mistakes, we communicate that though we know they have failed in the past, we are eagerly anticipating the day when they succeed.
Based on all I have learned, I would encourage beginning teachers to allow themselves to have bad days and to allow for failures. They are unavoidable; we might as well embrace them because through these we will learn more than any success that we might have. Likewise I would encourage them to allow for their students to have bad days. It is too easy to write a child off, to assume that what we have heard about them is true, or to send them to ISS so they’re not our problem anymore. I am not saying that there is no room for discipline, but that it is also right to give students opportunities to prove themselves. We must offer our students the knowledge that we believe that even though they have been rude to us or have not been the best student in the past, we know that they are capable of success in our classroom.
Each day is full of mistakes, and we shall be limitless learners as we redeem our failures.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I feel like all my best friends move all over the world and I am content to just stay here in this little place.

It makes me wonder if I will ever have community again.
I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened with men. - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov

What a long sentence, but it makes me long for Jesus to come back.

Come soon, Lord Jesus. And until then let me be a part of causing your kingdom to come here on earth.