“A good teacher is like a candle- it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
Today I ended a long, wonderful journey of seeing God’s redemptive plan on a daily basis. The experience was phenomenal. In my opinion, clinical practice as an education major at Bob Jones University is worth the $65,000 dollar education. Walking across the stage in two days seems so minute compared to the life-to-life connections and relationship experiences that I have encountered over the past four years, but more specifically in the last four months. Teaching in a public school in Greer, South Carolina has taught me a plethora of lessons, which I will try to abbreviate. 🙂
To get everything out on the table, I know that there is controversy of teaching in a Christian school or teaching in a public school. My peers and I have discussed this in depth and have come to the conclusion that teaching in a public school isn’t for everyone and teaching in a christian school isn’t for everyone. God has a perfect place for us and guides us to that end with unique gifts, talents and abilities to fill the place He has planned for us. My peers and I have agreed that we are incredibly thankful for the opportunity that Bob Jones University provides for the education majors to acquire state certification through teaching in a public school. Though, no organization is perfect or flawless, I am so thankful for the privilege to attend a liberal arts university with a christian basis to not only be skilled in a profession but to be well-rounded to reach a broader scope of effectiveness in the world around me. As I get older, I am more thankful for a university that gives its’ students the chance to live out their faith practically in the profession they have chosen. I cannot even put into words how thankful I am for the chance to teach in a public school. Not only was I able to get fully state certified but I was also able to experience life with people I would have otherwise never come in contact with. This future-shaping mission field has many times been left to the way-side.
To try to sum up clinical practice in one word would be near impossible. However, one of the greatest lessons i have learned is BALANCE. Balance is defined as: an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. I don’t know about you, but the words “upright” and “steady” don’t seem to be descriptions of the world we live in. Even the word “remain” doesn’t seem to be understood by many in my generation. Remaining = boring to the Millennial generation or generation Y. Though sometimes it was very hard, I thank God for the opportunity to practice balanced living during my student teaching semester. God also allowed me to practice “remaining” even when things were harder than I imagined. Balance means deciding to go to bed to be energetic and excited for your students the next day instead of reading just one more chapter of that AMAZING book. Balance means waking up early to spend time with God in prayer to dedicate your day to His glory instead of hitting the snooze button 14 times. Balance means NOT over-reacting when a trivial interruption sets your plans off for the day. Balance means recognizing each student is different and cannot be dealt with in the same way. Balance means understanding your student had a terrible night’s sleep and needs that 5 minute power nap to grasp anything during the day. Balance means realizing that most of your students come from broken homes and hurtful situations, and that you as their teacher may be the only positive influence in their life. In the “Tricia Teacher” dictionary, balance means creating an upright and steady classroom environment so that my students will remain in school and work hard to achieve the even distribution of the weight of their life.
Many of you know that over the past few months God has lead and directed me and I have accepted a job in a Christian school and I could not be more excited and thrilled to see what God is going to do.Yes, I LOVE Christian school and I am excited to be able to speak of my Savior in every content that I teach and not just in the designated “chapel” or “Bible” hours. Yes, I LOVE public school and would definitely go back to coming up with creative ways to plant seeds of Christ in my students’ minds; but God’s plan is not my plan and I will wait for His leading to direct me wherever He would have me. I am captivated by my constant companion and guide and I honestly get so excited about God and I traveling life’s journey together. I know that many of you know that moving away from home and living on my own could be potentially disastrous because I can’t even dish ice cream out of the container or open lids for the life of me, but I know that adventure awaits and that God will help me grow as we walk His path for my life together.
But today, I am reflecting on God’s blessings at Chandler Creek Elementary and 24 precious souls that God allowed me to interact with even for a brief moment in time. Tonight, time is standing still as I read all their notes and letters for the millionth time and as I recall their faces as they said goodbye to me today. The majority of my sweet third grade students were crying which made me cry (I know, I’m a softy). However, my heart aches for their soul and as I have prayed all semester, I will continue to pray that someone along the span of their life reaches out to them and they receive God’s free gift of salvation and eternal life. Today, saying goodbye was incredibly hard because I am uncertain if I will see them again in Heaven. I hope and pray that I will. One thing is for certain, I will NEVER forget those 24 students who shaped my career and taught me more than I could ever teach them. Each student’s name is written on my heart and though I didn’t realize my heart had the capacity to feel so much love towards students, I know my life will never be the same and I will cherish each moment and memory for as long as I live.