School has always been fun for me. I wouldn’t say that it was easy, but I loved seeing my hard work rewarded and I did well, especially with anything that involved reading. However, in my senior year, reading out loud became a painful experience and I couldn’t figure out why. I usually loved reading out loud, but as the year progressed, I constantly stumbled over passages and regularly heard groans from my classmates when I was called on to read. I quietly focused on just doing better, but nothing changed.
Eventually, headaches became a regular occurrence and it was clearly time for me to see our family eye doctor. As it turned out, my growing love for piano and its practice time had brought out the fact that I have astigmatism and needed glasses. While the glasses fixed the visual problem, it did not change what an embarrassing time that was for me. Quietly enduring my embarrassment seemed right, but it was doing nothing for my outlook on life. Some people are openly emotional about being embarrassed and some simply become very private and look at it as a reason to be incredibly hard on themselves; I was the latter.
Fast forward several years and I am a pianist who loves the classroom. I have degrees in Music Education and Elementary Education and have taught several years as both a specialist and a grade-level teacher. The classroom has taught me that some students wear their emotions on their sleeves and some have a private mental list of all the things they did wrong, whether real or imagined. The focus on these emotions increases as they try to fit in to the world around them.
Students, like the rest of us, have a need to know that they matter. The world that we live in has many ways of making us think that we are just a part of a crowd that needs to be swayed and pushed to believe whatever is popular. However, Psalm 139:14 shows us that we are, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of a “plan” with “a future and a hope”.
A design by a Creator is a beautiful and clear truth. Focusing on who we are in Christ and learning to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit allows us the freedom to serve the God who made us and enjoy the confidence of being who He has taught us to be — children of God. The purpose for that freedom is found in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, (brothers), only do not use your freedom as opportunities of the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
One of my burdens for the classroom is showing my students the confidence and freedom from fear that we have in Christ. The refreshing truth of 2 Timothy 1:7 is that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” In life and in the classroom, true confidence is not found in believing, “I’ve got this,” but in having a personal relationship with Christ and the effect that has on our quality of work. True success will speak for itself. I believe the classroom is a place where my students and I should be growing spiritually and academically. The truths of Scripture are the best glasses to see and enjoy true life.