Wednesday, April 05, 2017

I Would Know

This is the busiest time of year, when a bunch of stuff confluences for me, as it does with many in my profession. Besides the normal teaching load, I am planning my seventh July in Vietnam- got my tickets already! And for the twenty-second year in a row, I'm involved in my schools' efforts to collect loose change to build and sustain Christian orphanages in Honduras and now, Haiti. Throw in a near total renovation of my apartment only four days after commencement exercises in May and I'm struggling to keep my head above water. Plus, there is this little thing called a blog every night.......

One thing we've incorporated into our pennies/nickels/dimes/quarters work the past seven years or so is art work. I have students who are excellent artists design coloring sheets which highlight our themes. I have one wall saved for these masterpieces. My student teacher aides, which this year is the wonderful Jean, staple them into the wall, which is book-ended by the flags of Haiti and Honduras. It's a time consuming process but like I said, I've been blessed by amazing aides.

Last week, Jean was stapling the latest batch of artistic treasures. We used five different sketches this year; I give the kids for the most part the right to choose which one to decorate. (I should note we go through three large boxes of CRAYOLA markers each year!) While I was working at my desk, Jean asked for the staple remover, something not often used when affixing paper to the wall. I asked why  she needed one and she said she had inadvertently broken her pattern. Starting with the inimitable Betsy Kelly, who graduated six years ago, these aides have used patterns whenever they attach our various art assignments to the wall. I stay out of it; they know exactly what they are doing. Jean had her pattern figured out as you can see in the picture above. I told Jean not one of my students would ever notice. Her answer?
"I would know."
That's why Jean is such a good classroom manager for me. It has to be right by her standards before it's right, even if the rest of us are unaware. And I'm usually unaware.

We've talked in my classes recently about honesty. I referenced a teenager in Georgia who had almost $32,000 mistakenly deposited in his bank account and spent it. A lady close to him defended his choice, blaming the bank for the mistake while absolving him of any responsibility. (The authorities, predictably, did not agree.) I asked my juniors what they would do if they discovered I had accidentally credited them with a 100% on a test in Renweb, our computer grading program, when they knew they had in actuality made a 70%. The chance of my uncovering my own mistake is close to nil. The ones I asked told me they would let me know of the error. It became a bit murkier when I changed the scenario to number of absences which affect exemptions on the final. Let's say the qualifications are three absences or less and an A average in that class. You know you have four absences but one got lost in the system so you are given the exemption in you haven't truly met the criterion. Do you tell? That's tougher because your grade would not change (probably) but it is a huge advantage to having one less final to cram for/more time to cram for the others. It goes back to Jean's statement about the pattern:
"I would know."

Look, we all know believers who feel guilty all the time, probably due to the way they were raised, maybe combined with a sense that the Lord is so disappointed in them. On the other hand, we were given a conscience for a reason; to be aware when we are being disobedient or perhaps even rebellious in regard to God's laws. Jean knew when she had erred and could not live with the mistake, even though it was not sinful. I would have never known if she had not informed me. Most of our sin, I am convinced, is known only to us and the One who created us. He still loves us but for our own good, wants us to make the course correction. Jean already did. I need to be more like her.

Applicable quote of the day:
All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns. 
Bruce Lee

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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