Back in my teaching days, I asked high school students in a writing course to write down the ideal age of life (12? 21? 35? 65?). Students had to present reasons for their choice. Most chose an age older than they were at the time. A solid minority chose an age they had already passed. Why? Hardly any decisions to make; no chores; plenty of playtime
Over time that led me to consider not the ideal age of life but the age at which most adults have settled in to their worldview, to commitments in relationships, and to handling stuff: money, property, environment. That age seemed to be 35. In today’s culture, with more than one sociologist claiming that young adults are unsure of jobs, relationships, church, residence, etc., often as late as 30, maybe the settling in comes a bit past 35.
If we want to excel in teaching, our teaching needs to match the spiritual reality that is ours in Jesus Christ. In Christ we have been graced, loved, forgiven, guided, blessed, and comforted. We live in a story where creation is being restored, people are being forgiven, the future is good. Out of that reality, we teach. (Although different in content and scope, I derived this opening paragraph from an article in the Banner (April 17, 2015) entitled “The Grace of Giving” by David Vroege, pastor of All Nations CRC in Halifax, Nova Scotia.)
Passionate teaching is a spiritual activity. In fact, passionate teachers often relate how Spirit-led original thoughts come to them during the very act of teaching! In this writing, I reflect on the spiritual realities of being graced, loved, forgiven, blessed, and comforted.
This case study is offered as a discussion starter. The incident happened. The names are changed, but the facts are straight from the principal’s mouth. How did it end? I’m holding that, for now. How should it end? What reasons would you offer for that decision? Discuss this case with colleagues in leadership.
The principal was to meet with Abe in a few minutes; she had written some notes the night before on an evaluation form in various categories about Abe’s teaching, the same form on which she hoped Abe would have jotted some about himself. She doubted he would have done more than four or five terse “OKs” and a couple of “Goods.” She knew he hated these “conferences.” Two years ago he had told others on the faculty about how “silly” it was to have gone through an evaluation session with her. Now she wondered what she ought to say to him when he came in.
It’s an old joke. The teacher asks, “Do you think ignorance and apathy are big problems?” The grumpy student response is: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” In our current culture, many young people are morally adrift and uncritical. It’s not “This is true; that is false.” It’s “Whatever.”