“That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen,” a student openly told another after I showed them (what I thought was) a funny video clip.
And we’re back. School was in its opening week and I already felt as though I was in the thick of it. Of course, my pride felt a little wounded at such a declaration. I was quick to think, “That is rather unlikely. You’ve probably seen far stupider things.” Another part of me wanted to put her in her place immediately.
In the middle of an activity and while trying to learn names in another class, a couple students decided to try to confuse me. Let’s call them Jim and Travis.
“Jim, right?” I ask as I move to him for the question.
“No, he is Jim.”
“Oh, and you’re….” I look on my list for another name.
“I’m Travis.” Some laughter takes place.
“Ok. So, you’re Travis and he is Jim?”
“No, actually I am Jim.”
“Really? You guys can’t mess with me, I’m trying to learn all of your names.” They laugh some more and I laugh, too.
“Alright, everyone listen, Jim is going to tell us the answer.” The class laughs. “Isn’t this Jim?”
“No,” a few of them say, “That is Travis.”
“Seriously, guys. This is no longer funny.”
Fairly confused and only certain that some of the other students seemed sincere, I gave Travis (I think) a hard and steady gaze as he answered the question. I have become far more easygoing (by my standards) than I was the first couple years teaching, but the daunting task of learning nearly 160 names as quickly as possible made their joke less than funny to me. Silently, I remind myself to love them, even in the eye rolls, incessant talking, and sassy responses.
Yet in the midst of these situations, I have a student from last year who stops by one or two times each day. She openly calls me her favorite teacher and I have to say it warms my heart. I don’t need to be liked by them all (thankfully), but, as a human, I do enjoy when people like me and aren’t afraid to show it. My group of girls that meets once per week is nearly triple the size it was at the beginning of last year. I’ve laughed with all of my classes, I believe. Slowly, but surely, I’m working on learning their names. And the little lecture I gave one of my class periods on Friday seemed to gain me a little more respect in some of their eyes.
The Lord is present here and I am excited to see what He will do. He is working on this heart of mine even when I wish it would already be the finished product. In the good and in the bad, He is the faithful Potter, sculpting His piece of clay into a masterpiece. No matter how much the clay seems to be spoiled or how far it seems from being a lovely piece of art, He is working, He is laboring, and He is loving. And it is very good.
The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. (Jeremiah 18:4)