“Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (Psalms 7:1-2 NIV)
I was still teaching a Grade 5 class the year that I was sent this particular student teacher. She was a very special student, or so it seemed, for it soon became blatantly obvious that she already knew everything there was to know about teaching.
The problem was that even from that first day I had already identified areas that needed improvement…
Now it isn’t a problem for a student teacher to come into a classroom needing guidance. That is what the student teacher program is all about, and it usually proves to be an excellent way for young teachers to learn the skills they will need upon graduation to be able to manage their own classrooms. All the student teachers I had worked with up until this time had been anxious to learn, they had always done well, and I had always, at the end of their placements, been very proud of their progress. As a result, I had always found working with student teachers to be a very rewarding experience. A student teacher who was convinced that she didn’t need guidance, however, was a totally different story…
I did everything I knew to do to help this particular student. I even elicited the help of my principal. However, someone who thinks they already know everything tends to not listen to guidance, and sadly, this was the case with this particular student teacher.
One of the basic skillsets missing in this student teacher was discipline. Though you might think that a classroom without discipline would make students happy, it had exactly the opposite effect on my students. They begged me to send her away, and even their parents began to complain.
Because of the lack of discipline, the student teacher ended up extremely frustrated. She even reached the point where she pulled a student’s hair. I tried to help her understand that she couldn’t touch the students, but she continued. My students could have definitely identified with David, when he says in Ps. 7:2, “they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (NIV)
A few days after the first hair-pulling incident, one of my students confided in me that the class had a plan. She wouldn’t tell me what it was, but knowing this bunch of kids, I was sure it would be appropriate.
When the student teacher began classes that day, the entire class was nearly buzzing in anticipation. They waited patiently for her to step out of line, and it didn’t take long for that her to pull someone’s hair. As soon as she did, all of the class fell to the floor. That definitely got the student teacher’s attention, and that was the last time she touched a student.
Unfortunately, this didn’t make her listen any better to constructive advice, for she continued to think that she already knew everything…
Somehow we got through the final days of her placement. It wasn’t in my power to pass or fail her. Therefore, I simply gave the problem over to the Lord. He is, after all, the ultimate judge! Ps. 7:8 tells us: “Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.” (NIV)!
I saw this particular student teacher a few weeks after she completed her placement with me. She was very unhappy, and she came to me saying that she wasn’t sure she wanted to be a teacher…
God came through. But then, doesn’t He always? Whenever we give our problems to Him, whenever we release everything to Him, He takes care of it! He is the ultimate judge, He knows best how to get the attention of everyone, even those who think they know everything. All I could do was sing God’s praises: “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (Ps. 7:17 NIV). God had truly taken care of this problem.
What impossible problem is facing you today? Whatever it is, follow David’s example: “Lord my God, I take refuge in you…” (Ps. 7:1 NIV). Even when you feel like you’re being torn apart by wild animals, cry out as David of old: “…save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (vs. 2 NIV). Release the problem to Him: “Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.” (Vs. 8 NIV). Then sit back and “…give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness…sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (Vs. 17 NIV)!
In His love,
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)