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I am announcing my retirement

July 30, 2018

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Here is a picture of what my classroom looked like this morning.  Don’t worry, nobody came in and trashed the place;  I accidentally knocked those books off of the bookshelf whenever I started moving furniture around.

Well, this is it.  I’ve had the summer to prepare for this.

A lot of prayer and study and quiet-time reflection has led up to this day.  I am in the room alone.

I have two private days of classroom prep, and then we start the Teacher In-Service days.  For those of you who are not familiar with the educational system, Teacher In-Service is the time when we teachers become students in order to learn to be better teachers of our students.  Plus, we get snacks.

It’s quiet right now, and after an hour of moving stuff, I’ve committed to sit at my desk (with a new chair!!!) and write on my blog.  I have made a decision to write an entry every school-day of this year and reflect on what happened.  Obviously I will not use the actually names of students but I will relate what has happened in my classroom, both my victories and my failures.

It is important for me to keep a tight journal.

Because, as you saw in the title, I am announcing my retirement.

Well, not at the end of this year.

It’s just that I am facing reality.

In seven years I will be turning 66 years of age.  Although there are exceptions, let’s face it – there are very, very few teachers are still in the classroom at that age.  I would like to think that I will be casting pearls of wisdom before hungry pupils until the day I die, but I realistically believe I have  – including this year – a good seven years of high school teaching left, taking me to around the 2024 – 2025 school year.  If the Lord would allow me to live that long and the school would allow me to stay employed, I feel that seven years sounds reasonable.

My birthday is in May, so I will just be turning 66 at the end of that final year.  I believe I have this math figured out right, but I might be off a bit.  I defer to my more math-inclined colleagues for accuracy; I am so weak with numbers that I have trouble keeping up with vacation receipts.

Seven years.  It puts everything into a more intense perspective.

I want every minute to count.  I want to be selfish about the class time I have with each of my students, whether they are in my Bible Doctrines, Psychology or Bible Leadership class.  I want to see chapels have deep, deep meaning.  In fact, I hope to be a speaker in some of those weekly chapels.  I want to counsel, I want to pray alongside, I want to have a fascinating Bible Q & A time each week.  I want parents to come sit in and listen.  I want to share the Mariana Trench-deep treasures of the sacred Scriptures and about this eternal Jesus Christ.

And I don’t want to waste time.

I am praying.  I am praying for a mouth that will give the proper God-led education, and a heart that will respond to the students’ needs.  I am praying for patience as well as impatience so that I have patience enough to slow down and reiterate proper teaching, and impatience so as not to suffer fools gladly.

I want the students to see Jesus and Who He really is.  Many teens will stop at the “Great Teacher”  or “Miracle Worker” title, while others will shrug their shoulders since their local church neglects to teach anything beyond “proper Christian behavior” and self-help instruction.

I am reminded of the conversation that Jesus had with the Pharisees in Matthew 22: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?”  And they left it at “David’s”.  They were partially correct, but oh, how incomplete.  They thought the Messiah was a very good man, a dynamic leader, a powerful warrior … but a man, nonetheless.  Nothing about Godhood.  Nothing about deity.

What a shame.

What a similarity to many students’ belief of Christ today.  “Jesus is important.  Jesus is a savior.  Jesus is, well, the founder of Christianity…”

I keep remembering the numerous polls – even ones that I have taken in the past – that revealed that over 25% of the students in my classrooms are not Believers in Christ.  I personally believe this to be a much higher number.  You see, my classroom is my mission field as well.

I have students who are victims of divorce.  I have students who fight depression.  I have students whose egos are massive.  On the other hand, I have students who have virtually no self-esteem whatsoever. I have students who are deep into sin, with many flailing about, trying to escape the downward spiral.   I have students who are experiencing deep changes in their lives and just need someone to listen and pray with them.

It’s almost time to start.

There is so much to pour into my classroom.  God could move mightily.  This year could initiate a dynamic change in my students’ eternal direction.  I want to be part of that, and I pray that I might be God-empowered to do so.

I ask you to pray for me.

 

 

 

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