surviving high school

Well that was a nice break from blogging that I didn't know I was going to take. Whoops. As we taught Caroline, "My bad."

Brief update:
- still very pregnant. new bump and letter are forthcoming.
- Brent got to go and watch ku capture the big 12 title.
- I had a wonderful baby shower thrown for me [more on this later]
- Mom made me supper the other night and it was like mana from heaven
- my next door neighbor passed away of a very rare form of cancer. I have two of his sons in class. This has been very tough, but it has been incredible again to see how this small community comes together for the family. [has also sparked the below thoughts]
- Kali was able to come to help throw the aforementioned shower and brought Ellie-girl with her. So good to see them both [even though I think Ellie gave me a cold]
- It's crunch time now and I have to go to the doctor for appointments every week. It's getting so close.

One other thing that I've been thinking about lately:

How did we ever survive being teenagers?

I mean really, if you think back to that time it is amazing we all survived the drama, our own stupidity, and the raging hormones in our bodies. As I'm grading my students' writing to wrap up 3rd quarter I am thinking of this all again. Don't get me wrong: I actually loved high school. But it is a tough place. Though we may think that what they are dealing with is minor, it is all- consuming for them on a daily basis. Some things my students think/deal with, for example:

Drinking. It may seem harmless until one of my classmate's brothers ends up almost dead on the side of the road. How do I reconcile that with what others want me/pressure me to do?

Dating. I really think I love him/her. But why does he still talk to his ex? Why doesn't he treat me better? It is really worth it? But I love him.

Loss. How do I talk to my classmate who just lost his father? What am I supposed to say? How am I supposed to act?

Athletics. I just tore my ACL. I'm out for a year. Where does this leave me now?

Bullying. Ever day I am made fun of. I've tried ignoring it, joining it, tattling. Nothing seems to work. I just want to disappear.

Law. I know I shouldn't have stolen that, but my home life is a wreck and I needed the extra cash. What will I do if I lose the case and have to do jail time instead of just reporting to a parole officer?

Divorce. My home life is falling apart. Is it my fault? Why can't it be like my friend's house?

Appearance. Why can't I look like her? Why can't I lose just 15 pounds? Why don't the "good/trendy" fashions fit me?

Friends. Why does she pretend to be my friend and then talk about me behind my back? Why can't I make any "real" friends? Why don't I get invited to things?

And so much more. Acne. Bad Hair days. Detentions. Flirtations. Homework. Peer Pressure.

Yes, we all know now that most of this will work itself out in the long run. We know that there are other responsibilities in life that are far more pressing. But not to them. To them it is their life and it is all the time and it is all consuming.

My mom gave me a little book she found one time called "Prayers of a Dedicated Teacher." It is woven through with quotes from leaders in the Christian faith, and prayers for teachers to pray. Here are few quotes I marked after thinking about what my students deal with, and what my role may be in their day to day struggles and lives.

"I've never met anyone who became instantly mature. It's a painstaking process that God takes us through, and it includes such things as waiting, failing , losing, and being misunderstood-- each calling for extra doses of perseverance." - Chuck Swindoll

A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could." - Zig Ziglar

"Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love." - Zig Ziglar

"Beware that you are not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge." - John Wesley

With all those thoughts, I thought I'd combine a few of the prayers in the book to create a prayer for myself right now. A prayer that can get me over my pregnancy tiredness, away from myself, and closer to Christ so he can show me how to love my students where they are at in this very difficult time of being a teenager.

Lord, help me always show my concern for my students, not only in the classroom, but also outside of it. May the words of truth I share with my students be the same words of truth that guide my life. Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to express my love and concern for my students through words and in deeds. Thank you for the opportunity to teach. Help me to be an influence for the good in the lives of my students. Help me care for the whole student. Help me be sensitive to the needs of each of those I teach, and use me, Lord, as Your tool to draw my students closer to you.

I know that my role as a teacher is an awesome responsibility. Help me to always be mindful of that. Lord, help me love your children more. You first loved me, let me share that. May my teaching be filled with your love. Lord, I am thankful for all the joyous times that teaching has brought me. Thank you for the happiness that I share with my students. Use me to teach these kids with joy always in my heart. Amen.


Amanda said...

Your post prompts me to pray an extra prayer for teachers. My goodness. I can think of many teachers who made a difference in my life, especially in middle school and high school, and I'm praying that the Lord will use you to bless those you interact with!

I was mentoring a HS girl before I moved, and I'd often gaze across my coffee at her and see myself 10 years ago and wonder that exact thing - how in the world did I make it out of HS intact?! So much swirling around...

Anonymous said...

Oh,Kelsey,how I wish every teacher could be like you! You're the best!

Kelly K