Do you ever have thoughts rattling around in your head, conflicting thoughts that seem hard to reconcile? I've had several such thoughts in recent days.
A couple Saturdays ago several of my colleagues and I traveled to Columbia, SC, to attend the annual conference of SCFLTA (South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association). The key note speaker challenged us to think of ways to meet our individual students' needs and desires as learners of foreign language. One of the slides in her PowerPoint had a poster something like this one:
She was trying to inspire us to hone our skills and to experiment with ways to encourage our students to be more engaged in the process of language learning.
It did get me to thinking about the immensity of what I'm trying to accomplish and how inadequate I sometimes feel as a teacher. Most of my days are filled with what seem like pretty ordinary tasks, some of which, honestly, I don't particularly enjoy, like paper grading. I tell my students it's what I do to get to be with them.
And yet as I am almost 3/4 of the way through my 40th year of teaching , I am still eagerly trying to refine my methods and to use various technologies available today. We can now do things in class that were unimaginable at the beginning of teaching career to help my students get a better grasp on what they're trying to learn.
I was just telling one of my classes recently that if I could relive my life, I would want to do what I've done these last 40 years. In spite of all the work teaching requires, it has to be one of the most rewarding things one can do in life. It's been wonderful to be reconnected with so many of my "old" students through Facebook and to learn what they are doing with their lives. I love that I have been able to be a small part of their formative years.
One of those former students tagged me in a post on Facebook which featured the following picture:
The young lady who tagged me in that post was a former high school German student of mine who went on to teach high school German herself. Amazing stuff, isn't it?!
I am blessed and humbled to know that the Lord has used me in some way in the lives of some of my students. It is truly His doing, because I'm well aware of my limitations and weaknesses. It's definitely not my superpowers — it's His supernatural powers at work in, through, and in spite of me.
I love the following poem by Emily Dickinson. It helps me keep things in perspective when people tell me I have, or should have, superpowers.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us
Don't tell — they'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public — like a frog —
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Whatever it is that the Lord has called and enabled you to do in life is the way you can best serve Him. Before you know it, if you haven't already done so, you will be looking at your fast approaching retirement. Life goes by so quickly. Make every day count, in whatever you've been tasked to do in life.
"If an apple tree doesn't produce apples, something is bad wrong." — Ted Allston
2 teach is
2 touch lives
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