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School Day 3: I’m kind of shocked

August 11, 2018

1Friday’s school day finished up, and as I climbed into the Jeep and turned the key, I took a moment to reflect on what’s been going on during these first three days of school here at Grace Christian Academy – at least, in my room.

The best way I can describe the atmosphere is to give you an example.

I need to back up in order to set the scene:  Last year, our 9th grade Bible teacher left to take a church position out in the Midwest, and the administration could not find a Bible teacher to take over his classes for the second half of the year.  The most practical thing to do was to split the the four 9th grade Old Testament Survey classes among current teachers, and I took the first hour, adding it to my workload.

As I “adopted” the class into my room I quickly noticed that there was an unusual personality in the room: “Alice” was a ringleader wannabe – it’s really the only way I can describe it.  From almost the first minute I took the class I saw that she was obsessed with crashing into everyone’s personal space.  She would flounce into the room in a grand entrance with a volume that was enough to shatter windows – I mean loud, and in the first thing in the morning, too.  (As my great grandmother would say: “Yoy!”) and proceed to interrupt everyone’s conversations with vapid chatter.  As I took attendance and organized paperwork before the bell rang, I couldn’t help but notice that her conversations were always extemporaneous; there was never any depth.  She was punching out words to get attention and rule the room.  It was working, too, as I guess it had been for the first half of the year in the other teacher’s class.

Oh, Alice was respectful enough to me, and once the bell rang I didn’t have an outright rebellion problem – I would never put up with that – but what did occur was a different sort of resistance.

Of indifference.

Many a teacher – especially Bible educators – can relate to what I am going to say:  Alice was playing for the grade, not for the education.  Especially not for the wisdom.

She would “forget” paper before a quiz until the very last second so that the room could see her fuss about “nervously” and “desperately” ask for a sheet.  Grinning to herself, she would give a sideways glance during a reading segment and with a quick whisper try to distract those around her.  She would ask an off-subject question that had nothing to do with the passage we were studying.  Small things.

And for reasons I cannot understand, she had captured the authority of the other students.  Her sheer volume and hyperactive reactions could not be grasped and overcome by the rest of the room.  Even the largest ninth grade football players would  acquiesce to her dominance.  In particular was one young man who would follow her conversations to the letter, hanging on to her every word, agreeing quietly and turning his attention to her whenever she so much as coughed.  The relationship wasn’t at all romantic, but it was very odd to witness his submission to her at every step.  I would find this highly puzzling.  The atmosphere of the room was stale as students would learn “just enough” to punch into the “B minus” range.  My conversations and even debates with them would fall flat.  They just didn’t care.

Overall, the school year was frustrating in this way to me;  I felt that there was not a bit of Biblical wisdom grasped or spiritual attainment whatsoever in that class.  When I finished in May I listed that particular class as one of my great failures.  Alice’s leadership of indifference had held sway and the rest of the class followed.

As it so happens, Alice is in my 10th grade Bible Doctrines class this year.  

And on the first day, she made her move.

Her conversations started as she entered the classroom, as per schedule.

However, when we stepped into the first stages of eschatology, her sidelong glances and attempted whispers went totally unnoticed.

Totally.

The students around her were fixed to the message. I rarely see such an aggressively positive reaction to the Bible from the first day, but there it was.  When I instructed everyone to turn to the passage in 1 Thessalonians or Revelation, the classmates fairly flew to the Scripture in an immediacy that I surprised me.  When I gave a quiz, virtually everyone aced it.  They were locking in.  They were zoning.   I tell you, I could almost feel God’s spirit of understanding moving in the room.  At one point I shared the vision of Christ in Revelation chapter one, and so help me, some of the students gasped.  They gasped.  I can’t remember when that has happened.

There was one student who was in slow shock over the change in the spiritual climate – you know who I am talking about.

Alice’s grin was starting to fade.

She turned to get the attention of the boy behind her, but he looked more deeply into his notes.  She tried to display a flippant response to a Biblical passage but was utterly ignored.  She made an attempt to talk to the student next to her, but he brushed her off and asked me a question about the Greek word found in Revelation chapter one, verse three.  As I answered, I stole a glance at her.  She was blank.

But then… slowly, over these past days  … I have been seeing her eyes starting to change.

She is starting to listen.  Not hear, but listen.

And that, my friends, is what I am seeing in my classes this first week.  I am thankful for those of you who have been praying for our Bible classes; it is evident that God is moving.  How long it will last, I do not know, but I will say that I am highly encouraged in the way the train has left the station.

As if that weren’t enough:

As I pulled together my papers and stacked them into my satchel after the final class of the day, two young men came up and stood by my desk.  I looked up.

And they reached out their hands.

“Thank you,” they said, as I shook their hands.  “Thank you for this.”

Yes, this has been a good start to the school year.

 

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3 Comments
  1. Wow! That’s all I can say at this point. Just wow! Blessings

    • Thank you, G.W. We have been praying all summer for a breakthrough and I believe God is showing it to me!

      • Just from reading your recording of events, I must say I heartily agree with your conclusion. It sounds just like Him! Many blessings as you faithfully continue showing your love for Him in teaching His word!

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