I’ve been teaching at my current school for almost sixteen years. I began teaching after eight years of home schooling, eighteen years of mothering, and three years of teaching right after college. I’ve taught Sunday School, coached Bible Quizzing, and been a small group leader. I’m fairly familiar with teenagers. (Long, long ago I even WAS one.)
While I am well aware that I am getting old and crotchety, I am also convinced that times and teens are changing. Attention spans are shorter, listening skills are shrinking, blame-shifting is rampant, apathy is real. I see articles posted on Facebook or sent by email at least once a week blaming everything from technology to teaching methods and parenting. I have participated in plenty of discussions about the matter and spent many an hour tossing and turning in the middle of the night seeking to understand what is happening and why. I want to know because I want to help. It’s my job. It’s my calling. I love kids.
The truth is that some of the changes are a result of changes in society. That’s just the way it is. I teach history. I know. We have been in a time of transition from the modern to the post-modern for a while. Change is inevitable, and I’m finally beginning to realize is that it isn’t all bad. It’s challenging. It can be exhausting, but it can also be pretty great. This post is for the purpose of showcasing an example of change that is fun and inspiring. Here goes.
I like a lot of things about teaching. I love planning, preparing, reading, researching, creating lessons, teaching, discussing, and building relationships with my students. I am NOT fond of grading. It feels a lot like cleaning out the refrigerator–which is my least favorite household chore. I’m bad about putting it off. When I manage to keep up with it, I am a happy camper. When I have a bunch to do hanging over my head, I am, well, unpleasant. One of the good and positive changes I have seen in my students has made this dreaded chore into a bit of an adventure.
Post-moderns are all about expression. The arts are coming back, and they are seeping even into my paper grading. I first noticed it on a dreary winter Monday as I was grading Apologetics homework. I finished a paper, turned it upside down on top of the pile and this is what I saw:
I was immediately moved by the beauty and the precision of the piece. It did, in fact, bless my soul. After that I began to notice other doodles. Some were just for decoration.
Some were comments or notes about the subject matter we were discussing.
Some were illustrations to go along with test answers:
Here’s an English longbow and this is a Bubonic Plague rat.
There are even little encouraging notes to me along the way. They keep me grading.
Others are devotional.
And maybe even a little strange…
or even patriotic.
But all of them are welcome and all of them make me smile, or shake my head, or teach me something else about these wonderful people I have the privilege to teach, and instead of complaining about grading, I am learning to
the time I spend on it.