On the first day of school, a first year middle school science teacher welcomed his students as they casually made their way to their seats. After getting to know his students names with a rather boring ice breaker game, the teacher then began to lay down some ground rules. As the students began to interrupt his explanation of the rules, the teacher stopped the lesson and lectured for 10 minutes about the importance of raising hands in order to avoid such interruptions. The class was silent and uninterested until the bell rang and the class was over. The teacher watched his students leave his room as he felt a surge of pride dwell within him. He had managed to quiet the class and achieve order on the first day. To him, this was a good first milestone to have been reached.
The next day, the students came into his class and as they were ready to begin their first lesson, the teacher asked them to open their books to chapter one. He then asked for a volunteer reader. No one raised their hand. After waiting for 30 seconds, the teacher grew impatient and being to read out loud.
When he came to an interesting part of the text, he attempted to start a group discussion. Again, no one spoke, and no one raised their hand.
The rest of the class period followed this trend. The teacher reading, the students listening, and no one learning. When the bell rang, the students grabbed their books and traveled out the door. The first year teacher was distraught and went back home to think about what he could do better to engage his students.
The next day, when the students arrived, the teacher again asked them to open up their books and turn to chapter 2. Instead of asking for a reader, the teacher began to read with a more energetic and almost hyper tone. As he read, he noticed his students began to perk up and gain interest, not so much in the text, but at their teacher’s strange behavior.
Then the teacher asked, “So what do you think about that?”
A couple of students blurted out a coherent answer that related to the text. The teacher was ecstatic to see that by changing his energy level, the students were responding, even if they were blurting out without raising their hands. The rest of the class carried on in the same way. By the time class was finished, the teacher was ready to go home and rest after losing so much energy in the delivery of his lesson.
The next day, the students came in to the classroom to find their teacher a little bit tired. He couldn’t find the energy to give his lesson on chapter three in the same way he did for chapter two. So, he told the students to open their books to chapter 3 and he asked for volunteers to read. Once again, no one raised their hand.
Just then, a couple of students began to start reading out loud to fill the silence without raising their hand. The teacher, frustrated once again, stopped them and informed them of the importance of raising their hands.
One student spoke up and said, “But yesterday we didn’t have to raise our hands. Why do we need to today?”
Just then, the bell rang and the students walked out the door. The teacher remained in deep and tired thought as all of the students passed him by. Even the one who just humbled the new teacher through a simple question slid out of the room to arrive on time to her next class.
The teacher thought to himself and realized the promise he had not fulfilled and the physical weakness that caused this truth to be revealed. He went home to rest.
Every teacher I know has gone through a situation similar to the one mentioned in the aforementioned story. Some have been given the grace to realize the importance of consistency in their teaching and management while others do not.
Where are we in this decision?
Where were we when we were beginning our first teaching job?
May Jesus live in our hearts forever!