Several times recently, I’ve been reminded of my first few years of teaching. I taught high school science for sixteen years. Now I work as the Science Curriculum Specialist for my school district, so I still work very closely with teachers. I support teachers. Two weeks ago I was tasked with acquainting our new teachers with how we teach Science in our school district. To do this, I asked myself, what advice would have benefitted me as a first-year teacher. Monitor and adjust.
Last week we visited the Freedom Tower in New York City. We saw a video recalling the events of September 11, 2001. My family all recalled what they were doing and how they heard the terrible news. I am a bit embarrassed to tell my story, but I will share it here! I was teaching Physical Science—a task I took very seriously. When the bell rang, around 10:15am, to dismiss class, the teacher from next door stuck his head in to tell me a plane had struck the World Trade Center. I thought, how do you know that? You had a class, just like I did, how do you know what’s going on in New York? And the plane probably just grazed one of the antennae on top, anyway. It’s probably nothing. So, my next class was entering the room and this was all they wanted to discuss. All I knew was what my colleague had told me. I had plans for the day, and those plans would lead us to the next day’s work. My test was already scheduled, and I would allow nothing to break my focus. I battled with kids wanting to change the subject for the whole class period. It was 11:45am when that class ended and I went online to finally figure out what was happening. I had seriously failed to monitor and adjust.
To monitor and adjust is a strategy I was taught as an education major. I, however, did not realize the need to do this until several years into my career. To monitor means to constantly check on progress, to take cues from the audience and surroundings. To adjust means to make changes based on the cues and progress. While this was taught to me as an education major, the ability to monitor and adjust is important in many aspects of life. Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” I am a planner, and I can be very rigid in the execution of my plans. Over the years, I’ve learned to calm down, pray, and not to take my plans so seriously. I may have a plan, but the Lord may have a different plan, and I must be willing to yield to His plan.
What unforeseen circumstances have occurred in your life? How did you react? We always have a choice. We can be unwavering and continue on as if nothing has happened, or we can change course as dictated by the situation. The choice not to waver can lead to our demise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but we must always be willing to yield to the purposes and plans God has for us. We never know what wonderful works God has planned for us, and we will never know if we do not yield to His will.
On September 11, 2001, my students needed to discuss the events occurring in the world. That was a very stressful day, and to be a teenager, trying to understand it all was impossible. Something I said may have put them more at ease, may have given someone a new perspective, through my faith, I could have given them peace. I didn't. I failed to monitor and adjust.
Today’s kids have access to more information than ever before. They come to school having seen things they should never have seen—things that should never have been done and should not have been recorded. They spend time on all sorts of social media, they get their news from friends’ posts, headlines, and memes. For many students, their teachers are the only adults to whom they will give their attention on a daily basis. Teachers have heavy burden to bear. In addition to the curriculum, teachers must help students to put what they see and hear into perspective. It may not be written in the lesson plans for the day, but teachers must be willing to monitor and adjust as the class needs dictate.
As schools begin to resume session, I ask that you all be in prayer for our teachers. We all have teachers to thank for our progress. They taught us what we needed to know academically and they gave of themselves for our success. If you know a teacher, tag him or her, and let them know you will be praying for their strength, sanity, and wisdom this year. Please don't just say this, let’s all be in prayer for our teachers and school staff this year.
Thank You for our teachers and thank You for our schools. Lord, our teachers need You. Lord, they need you each and everyday. Lord, our teachers need You in their classroom from the first bell to the final bell. They need You guiding their lessons, guiding their thoughts, and guiding their words. Help them to be willing to smile, give extra to those who need it, and to always be willing to listen. Lord, protect our teachers, our students and school staff from anyone who wishes to do them harm. Be with them all, Lord.
In Jesus name,
Happy Back-To -School!
Be Blessed this week and always!
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.