“My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you.” (Proverbs 3:1-2 NASB)
It was a hard decision to leave my grade 2 classroom in northern Ontario and move to warmer climates; but once the new school year began, I realized how much I had missed teaching the older kids. Oh, I missed the affection and innocence of my grade 2s, but somehow I felt at home in this junior-high classroom.
The school year began with me experimenting to see how I could best capture the interest of these kids and stimulate them to want to learn. Again, God gave me the ideas I needed. I began to use the game of chess as a motivator. If they did their best, they could play a game of chess. The students loved it, and they worked hard and did their best.
Even my principal, who wasn’t quite as likeable and supportive as my former principal, loved the idea of chess. He also liked the idea that my students weren’t being sent to his office very often. He loved peace in the classroom, and that is what we had.
I would soon learn that these students loved music. I was their music teacher, as well as teaching them everything else, but unfortunately we didn’t have any musical instruments. Instead, the students were encouraged to work together and prepare a few songs to present in class. In the end, the class got to vote on which “band” they liked best. I’ve never seen students work so hard in music class, before or since.
One of my biggest challenges was to ensure that the students were never bored in my classroom. This meant that I had to always be prepared to give more challenging work to the more gifted students, all the while encouraging and supporting the weaker ones. It wasn’t easy, to say the least; but God gave me the wisdom and the ideas that were needed, and as a class, we were never bored.
Naturally, this didn’t mean that I never had any problems in my classroom. When I approached my Father about this, I was impressed to go to school early to pray for each of my kids. I found myself praying all the harder for the students who needed it the most, and I was privileged to witness how God worked mightily through those prayers in the lives of those kids, and how even the worst problem students came around.
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:1 NIV). The most important lesson I learned from this teaching experience was that I needed to trust my heavenly Father with each and every problem that arose. Whenever I did, He guided me into the right approaches and in the end, the entire class advanced well.
What workplace (or homebased!) problems are you facing today? “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:1 NIV). Trust in our heavenly Father and He will guide you to the best outcomes possible.
In His love,
(To view the entire “Lessons From the Classroom” devotional series, please click here.)