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Reflections after the first day

August 9, 2018
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Virtually every high school teacher in the world can identify with me when I say that here, after one day at school, I am exhausted.    Getting our bodies back into the bell-dictated routine is never easy.  At fifty-nine years of age, I can tell you that the ritual gets harder as the years go by.

We’ve kicked off the year here at GCA.  Hit the ground running.  Left the launch pad.  You name the cliche.  The fact is, we’ve begun the school calendar here. Students smushed themselves into the cafeteria in yesterday’s early hours to hug and high-five their old classmates with a camaraderie that you would have expected from veterans of the Normandy Invasion.  At the morning bell the students stepped into  my room and found their assigned desks.  Some were chatty.  Some were more reflective.  Others didn’t know what to expect, and it seemed obvious by their looks that they wanted to figure me out.

Oh, but I was ready.  I was ready.

The bell rang.  The first students shifted in their seats and looked up expectantly.  I was more than ready.

Okay, now, we’re going to teach Bible with a fervor that few have seen…

The first three classes were almost graveyard-quiet.  Crickets.  To be sure, the morning-class students were awake and wide-eyed, but overall they were unresponsive to the simplest of my questions and comments.  Now, I would like to think it is was due to their high respect and reverential fear for such a leonine figure as me, but in reality it’s obvious that it’s the annual first-day fatigue that was lurking in the rows.  Students were quietly trying to re-shape their hands into the pencil-note-taking-mode (Right now I have a “no laptop” policy due to abuse of privileges last school year) and after a summer of disuse, they’re finding it quite a challenge.  Some were mumbling incoherently.

I pushed on.

I want to give you the Koine Greek definitions found in 1 John 3:2…

This is it, my friends.  This is what I’ve praying about all summer.  This is the first day of seeing God take over my classroom completely.

I continued hard in my intensity and near-restlessness.  It wasn’t coming too easy.  The eyes were still in a vacant stare.

Now, we’ll be talking about the canon.
The binding of the many books of the Bible into one …

Suddenly I saw the students eyes light up and even gesture toward the screen. A surge of self-confidence welled up in me.  I’m getting through.  They’re responding, even physically reacting to the truth…

Then I turned around and saw the cause of all the excitement.

My Powerpoint screen was going berserk.  It was splashing colors crazily into a total grotesque pixelation breakdown all over the board. Something was going wrong with the communication between my laptop and the projector; the display was splattering odd multi-colored hues all over the screen.  The whiteboard was melting into what looked like a painting that was something like a Salvador Dali/Jackson Pollack hybrid.

“All right,” I coughed as I casually went over to my desk and furiously typed on my keyboard, “we’ll just go to a lecture until this settles down.”  It was like trying to teach in front of a fireworks display. I finally had to turn the projector off.  Okay, not a great start…

The computer gave me fits throughout the morning, and my carefully planned PowerPoint was a virtual loss.  By noontime I plopped down in my desk chair and typed a few notes while a new transfer student sat down on the other side of the room and shuffled through some papers.  We both sat alone in our thoughts for quite some time.

I looked up.  “Marcie, could you tell me what’s holding up the rest of the class?”

She pulled out a paper and looked at me.  “I think it’s because they all went to lunch.  That’s where we’re supposed to be.”

I gathered up my ego and walked calmly down the hall to the cafeteria.

The afternoon seemed better.  The teaching on the doctrines of the Bible, even for the first day, were especially appealing to a young man over on the left side of the room.  He was the most emotional character in the classroom, seemingly hanging on every word.  He was animated.  His eyes were bright and he kept shaking his head.  He finally raised his hand.

“Yes…”  I checked my seating chart, “… Mr. Brosnan?”

He smiled apologetically.  “I’m in the wrong class, I just realized.  May I go?”

It was near the end of the day and I found myself dutifully humbled.  It’s God’s class, is it not?  If there is going to be a spiritual awakening, I must step back and let His glory have full access.  Today was a good lesson for me.  Still, it seemed a bit depressing.  I sat down slowly behind my desk as the class filed out after the bell.

On the way out, a student said, “Thank you.  I really enjoyed the class today.”   A second one nodded and said, “I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Okay.

I am ready to go this morning.

 

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