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Chasing Down Grateful
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It’s that time of year. Students are grumpy and unmotivated. Teachers are tired of students’ annoying behaviors that have been going on all.year.long. Last week, I had spent some time planning a class activity I thought the students would enjoy. Tim helped me think through it. As we discussed it later and the lack of enthusiasm, he said, “Man, I really thought they would...

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The Stumbling, Humbling Job of Working with Students (teenagers)
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I spend roughly eight hours five days a week with teenagers.  This is my job as a high school English teacher.  I love my job and it is rewarding, but I do have some observations about working with teenagers. It’s often thankless.   Teenagers don’t say thank you for speaking truth into their lives.  I was a pretty decent teenager: no rebellion, good grades,...

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How to Say You’re Sorry
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She was uncouth, to say the least. Big, crude, often crass.  Once when a beloved student was in the hospital with a life-threatening concern, she wondered out loud whether school would be canceled if a student died.  For this reason she wasn’t always received well by her classmates. She was loud in her joys and sorrows. She needed a lot of attention. She didn’t...

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Dear Sweet Sixteen,
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Dear Sweet Sixteen,   You gave your everything to that boy.  Your heart was so full, so ripe and ready, and it opened like a flower to the first sunlight that fell on it. He was there and willing, and you held nothing back of your whole, shining soul.  But he didn’t know the value of the gift offered, and he was like a...

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Given
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Given

Nov 22, 2016 by

I wake up Sunday morning to a bed boiling over with children. Abby is curled up beside me, Isaac down by my feet, and Susanna up by my head. Tim’s spot, vacated over an hour ago in order to allow quiet prep time at church, has been triply filled. If I draw a bath, children try to climb in with me. If I get...

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Second Year
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Second Year

Nov 5, 2016 by

This school year is infinitely better than last year. I was hoping for a fresh start this year, and I got it. Thank you, Lord. However, at this point in the year, I do find I have a certain amount of teaching fatigue.  It could be that I just finished walking my English 3 class through a research paper.  After two weeks of carefully...

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To the First Year Teacher Who’s Struggling
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Dear first year teacher, You are trying to smile as you pass in the hallway, but you are drowning on the inside.  People ask how it’s going and you smile stiffly and say, “It’s ok,” but really you aren’t sure.  You aren’t sure that you can do this teaching thing.  You are overwhelmed in every way.  The grading, the planning, the curriculum. The discipline,...

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