Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Than A Feeling

In premarital counseling, couples are often asked if they realize that love is an action, not a feeling.  Teens get asked if they know the same thing about living out Jesus' love.  Folks who are dealing with forgiving a person who has wronged them will be posed with the same question.  It's true you know.  Love is more than a feeling.  It's an action.

This is true for teaching too.  Maybe it's true for any job.  I've only been a nanny and a teacher, so I don't know about the rest of you.  Here's the honest truth: I LOVE BEING A TEACHER!  But right now, this summer, I'm not feeling that love.

Before anyone begins telling me I need to get out of the profession, because we all know there is nothing worse than a bitter teacher, let me explain.  Last year was phenomenal.  I mean absolutely just about perfect.  I had the best group of parents to work with yet!  I planned a perfect field trip, had lots of kids I'd known since infancy in my class, and came up with some super fun, engaging, new ideas to teach my kids.  I was on a role, and everything felt right.  I was asked to help re-write our Pre-AP/GT curriculum, which I have a huge passion for doing.  Then, to top it off, my student Kate took my challenge to change the world and rallied the school and community to raise just shy of $14,000 to build a clean water well.  2012-2013 was just awesome!

Then this summer came.  We went to Zambia.  I adore Zambia.  I feel such purpose there.  I feel purpose here too, but in Zambia, my purpose is different.  It's immediately visible, where as here, it's not always evident for years at a time.  The rest of the summer was spent loving on precious kindergartners and high schoolers, sharing the truth of Jesus with them.  That feels like a lot of purpose too! 

My faith in my calling as a public school educator began to waiver.  I sometimes feel so constrained by public school's split on church and state.  Oh, it's there for good reason, but when I see kids suffering and can't tell them I'm praying for them or point them to Jesus, it's tough.  Then, doubt that I'd be able to inspire my kids to be world changers the way I did for this year began to plague me.  It shouldn't have...that's never in my control anyway, but it did.  I felt unable to create new lessons that would engage students and be inviting to them.  I felt drained after all of the curriculum writing and training I helped lead for our other teachers.  I just wasn't feeling the love.  I began wondering if my time as an educator was finished, that it was time for another calling.

But, love is an action.  Love for something or someone shouldn't dwell in despair or uncertainty, even when those feelings are present.  So, I did what everyone always talks about doing with love.  I acted.  I lead another training and fed off the energy of other teachers excited to hear about the new curriculum.  I bought school supplies.  I Googled new ideas for arranging the desks in my room.  I prayed.  I talked to Isaac about my concerns.  I began really looking at my lesson plans and figuring out ways to change them up and involve more technology.  I started using my NASA resources to create better ideas, because, let's face it, NASA makes everything more fun!

Did I enjoy each of those actions?  Was I excited about all of that?  Was I jumping up and down, giddy with glee to be starting a new year?  No.  Some of these actions were hard and overwhelming and incredibly time consuming.   But, little by little, the feeling of love has returned.  My job is still to teach, still to inspire.  I still had a minor panic attack when our brand new AP asked us yesterday how we were going to inspire our kids this year.  I'm not sure I can ever top this past year, but again, that's in God's hands.  But, the desire to try has never been stronger.  Trying leads to feelings of love.

So, kids, your teacher loves you.  She might not always feel like she loves her job, but her actions are going to speak love anyway, because the bottom line is, she is madly and totally in love with her job.  This job is a calling, and as long as God wants me here, this is where I'll be.  I don't know when this season will end, and that's ok.  For now,  He's not done with me yet, regardless of my feelings, and for that, I am eternally grateful!

1 comment:

The Roberts' said...

It is encouraging to hear how you are walking in obedience, regardless of whether or not you feel like it. That's when we walk in blessing!

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