Saturday, October 13, 2012

Twelve Choices (Grace Park)

I wrote this entry several years ago but I'm updating it tonight. The assignment is outlined below and I used it as a test question again two weeks ago. I have inserted the essay from Grace Park, one of my students from South Korea, in place of that of a young man, Stephen Scott, who did a tremendous job on his test two years ago. Ask yourself: who would you choose as your apostles?

All of my Bible classes took tests last Friday. The good thing is that with the MLK Holiday on Monday, there was time to grade them. My tests are old fashioned without SCANTRON, the electronic grading system. I just prefer the interaction with written-in answers, including memory verses. Also, it lets the students add prayer requests and lets me know what is going on in their lives. Occasionally, I also get a "Coach Hawley, YOU MATCH!" shout out. Not often but enough to let me feel I'm making progress. On Friday, my eighth graders and my Gospels class kids had the same final question on their exams. One of the first memory assignments each year is to list the twelve apostles which I teach by use of a Sunday School song. As the year progresses, we begin to note the strengths and weaknesses of the eight apostles we know more about. (Peter, Andrew, James, John, Phillip, Thomas, Matthew, Judas.) We note that although they were individually and collectively fallible, Jesus used them to help change the direction of the planet. The test question, which we spent much time before hand discussing, went like this:
"You are going to pick twelve others to help you change the world, knowing that you will die in two years. Your choices may be either gender and age is not a factor but you must have known each 'apostle' personally. Additionally, you must describe why you picked each of them, telling what they would bring to the team."
It was not an easy task for some. Jenny Ngo, one of my excellent students, came in for a review and told me she doubted she could find twelve people up to the task for her list. I told her Jesus selected those best suited and not perfect candidates. She ended up doing a superb job in composing her apostles.

The essay was worth twelve percent of their test score but most kids spent considerably more than twelve percent of their time working on that question. It would be an understatement to say that I was pleased with their efforts although, as always, some did much better than others. I was fascinated to see their thought processes and I found a few trends. Very few picked their boyfriend/girlfriend, maybe as a concession to the distraction factor. Some picked only adults and some picked only kids. Some chose only family members and some included no relatives in their group. A good number opted to include faculty members and their coaches. Some were humorous, like the young man who picked his aunt because she is a good cook and they were going to get hungry. One selection goes to the blood/water syndrome as a girl selected her sibling who is also in her sixth period Gospels class. And I quote: ''And I would take my brother because, even though he is annoying, I just couldn't leave my brother behind.''

In the spirit of having to make a choice among many good options, I am reprinting Grace Park's answer from this year. Grace is in my class for the first time and doing a terrific job. She chose an interesting slant to her picks:
If I was given the responsibility to change the world, I would choose 12 partners based on the fruits of the Holy Spirit and my additional preferred qualities. For ‘Love Section’, I would pick Nancy Hardin, my favorite math teacher from my old school. She is the sweetest person I have ever seen and I am sure she can love every person in the world. For the joy, I would choose Hayoung Jang, my best friend in Korea. She has power to make people joyful with her smile and it will make every member in the team happy. For Peace, I would choose MJ Nelson. I haven’t seen him mad or yelling but always smiling and peaceful. He will make people calm down. For patience section, I would pick Jennifer Ransey, my old host mother when I was in Oklahoma. She is the one who can patience and calmness in every situation and that will help everyone learn from her. I would pick Yesenia Martinez for ‘goodness’, Andrea Guevara for ‘kindness’, and Apple Zhou for ‘gentleness’. Those girls are the examples that show how to treat others. The example of self control is my mother who always tries to control her anger. For ‘faithfulness section’, I would choose Jessica Kim who is my church friend. She is the great example of faith. In my additional choices, I would pick my father (Taejin Park) for Bible section because he knows everything about God and Bible! In hope section, I would choose Colleen Carlson, my best friend, who always has hope in her life. For the last, I would pick Rebekah Park who is always respectful and obedient to other people. 

I don't pretend to know the mind of Christ enough to predict His thinking but you know, I think the Master would approve of Grace's Dozen. The only reward I could give Grace was a perfect score on that part of her test... and that is what I chose to do.

Applicable quote of the day:
“I do not forget that I am a mechanic. I am proud to own it. Neither do I forget that . . . the apostle Paul was a tentmaker; Socrates was a sculptor; and Archimedes was a mechanic.”

President Andrew Jackson

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Clint said...

Totally sensational post. And a totally sensational question for a test. It makes me think about what my answer would be.

Thanks for sharing.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Very cool! And to think he picked an artist :) This is a great way to help us think about why Jesus chose the 12 He did. Thanks for sharing this!