Sunday, October 17, 2010
So about 8 weeks ago I started working at Dillard University in New Orleans. Basically my job is to teach their first year students how to be really good at college. I get to meet with students one on one and I also teach 7 sections of the first year seminar course.
I am not a great teacher. I think I just lack some essential classroom management skills. I do alright when the class is naturally a good group of students (they engage without being rowdy). But when the class under-engages I find it difficult to draw them in. When the class gets rowdy I find it difficult to redirect them back to classroom behavior.
Last Monday one of my coworkers sat in on one of my classes. I have a pretty strong need to impress others (or at least not look like a total idiot) and with him in the room I felt especially inept. With every comment I found myself wondering what he was thinking an what he would have said if he were responding in my place. As it became more and more difficult to focus on students the Holy Spirit pricked my heart as if to say "Where are you Shan?" And I shut off the voice in my head telling me I wasn't good enough for long enough just to be present with my class. I had to put their need for me to be present and listen to their needs before my desire to look smart, witty, intelligent or successful. Later that morning I was going back over the class in my head thinking of all the brilliant things I should have said. I kept thinking about my weak areas as a teacher.
Ironically, my coworker walked into my office just then to discuss my class. As it turns out, he was pretty impressed with how the class went. While I was ruminating about my shortcomings, I forgot about the big picture. You see the class I teach isn't about me at all. It's about the students coping with the obstacles of their first year. My coworker reminded me that I really need to focus less on myself and more on the students I work with.
Isn't that how it often is in our lives. We get caught up on saying and doing the right things at the right time around the right people. But really, God calls us to worry less about our status in the world and more about the business of His kingdom.
Where ever I am Satan is always coming for me... usually through my pride and need for approval from others. I am so thankful that I serve a God who loves me despite my bad attitude, vain conceit, and jealousy. Most days I hate that I am a work in progress. But tonight the spirit keeps telling me that in somethings, the journey is the reward.