I cannot believe it....but the school year is almost over and right now....as the kids are bouncing off the wall I found myself sitting at my desk wondering "What does it mean to finish well?" One of my favorite verses is found in 1 Timothy 4:7 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."I have to be honest with you....for the past twenty + years in April I begin to feel like a failure at my job. The students don't want to listen and ones who had excellent grades before Spring Break just don't seem to care anymore. I have to be honest with you right now I'm tired, and quite frankly, I too am lazy. I have given everything I have to give over the past 180+ and there is nothing left in me. The funny thing is....that no matter how wonderful I may have been this year I am never satisfied with what I have done. That my friends is the mark of a perfectionist....and a teacher. I mean come on, I know the quirks in my students' personalities well enough. We have some mutual respect, we have had some bonding and I made some personal connections. Here is where the big BUT is.....I have to admit to you, and myself that sometimes I was too serious, maybe I wasn't silly enough....or maybe I was not the fun teacher. I know there have been days when I was too snappy, too quick to pass judgment and definitely get angry. I told them all one day last week I was going to change my name and not tell them what it is. I am tired of hearing "Mrs. Korb...., Mrs. Korb....Mrs. Korb." I didn't finish the book, but that is ok because the new State Course of Study does not expect me too. I didn't do the new project I developed in my ACCESS elearning class back in the winter....Nope....we lost six days to bad weather. . We didn't get to read Don Quixote in my Spanish II class and that makes me sad....so....here it is the end of the year. I could have done a better job, we all could do better jobs. I could have given 100% every day.....but I didn't. I teach in Public School and I have to be honest with myself and ask myself some pretty tough questions For me, finishing the year well is about this: Did I disciple my students? Did I show them love, and teach them how to be loving? Did my passion for life shine through, and did I encourage students to follow their God-given passions? Did I set my students on the paths they should go and instill in them the desire to grow and become more than who they currently are? Did I model AND teach them perseverance, patience, kindness, and self-control? Was my focus on teaching with intention--not perfectly at every moment, but as a whole, from the first day to the very last--did I keep sight of the ultimate prize, which is eternal? I am living proof that God has a sense of humor. He does a huge belly laugh every single day I walk through the doors of the place I spend most of my day. You see, I hated high school. It was a nightmare for an introvert to maneuver through the four years known as high school. How many of my own students feel this way? Clearly the race set before us is difficult to run, and we as teachers run it imperfectly. But it's not up to us as teachers to determine our measure of success. We plant some seeds, we water others, and the increase comes from the Lord. I have two more days this week of class (with of course the cheerleaders missing to do the Prom at the Veteran's Home) and Senior Honors Day on Friday (most of the kids will either stay home, skip, or check out)....then Monday....exams will begin for seniors....they will finish on Tuesday.....and the rest of the school will take theirs on Wednesday and Thursday......and then the halls will be silent.....And the feelings I have had of being a failure....will pass when I see the seniors I have had walk across the field to get that piece of paper that says, "You Did Good!" I will sigh....and I will know...."Yep....I did!" I will leave the stadium and know that the year was a success! Summer will begin for me....and for the students who will return in the fall. We will go to the beach, we will travel, we will attend classes, we will rest.....I like that word....rest. In August I will return.....to once again tackle students....I will be rested.....I will be excited.....but today....I am just tired.....and I am not alone. It's not about ME at all, it's not about how well I did MY job. God has a greater plan, of which I am only a small part. How easily I lose sight of that fact....especially when I'm made to feel that my job, my salary, and my worth is based on a students test scores. So....what do I do....I let go and let God. He tells us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). What freedom we have in Christ. I don't have to measure my own success or worth, or figure out where I stand with Him. He is my identity and my source. I can...Be confident of this, that He who has begun a good work in [me], will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 1:6). I cannot believe you are still here as I ramble on about being a teacher. I hope my rambling thoughts make sense. And I hope they give you a bit of peace as your school year comes to a finish.
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
7 months ago