Holy Cross High Teacher Development camp Day 1
Scripture: Matthew 7:7-12
Old Testament Reading: Esther 14:1-5,12-14 [C:12,14-16,23-25] (Deutero-canonical portion)
Today we start with our staff development. The learners are happy, they only come back Monday. The staff is hopefully a little more relaxed and looking forward to team building. I have penned the (punched really) the following thoughts to coincide with the Gospel message for today.
Ask and it shall be given unto you
As teachers we often come into a type of conflict with our calling. When we are already stretched in our task and it just seems that somehow, we are not gaining any ground, then we easily started wishing for what we believe to be better. We ask, why can’t we have well-mannered learners who are endowed academically, socially and spiritually? It always seems so much better at other schools where resources and material means make it so much simpler. When a learner becomes very unruly, we ask ourselves why that child is still here, she doesn’t belong or fit in what we idealise as our school. Why hasn’t she been removed yet or allowed to return?
However, in truth I believe we all should be asking, what can I do differently to help the learners I have? Ask the Lord for the guidance and grit to serve those who are placed in my care. Ask the Spirit to strengthen me in my task rather than remove an obstacle. Ask Jesus for the patience of a Saint as the children falter seemingly time and time again.
Seek and you shall find
What do we seek as educators? Is it just a race to finish the syllabus and get the learners through? Do we seek more assistance with the problem children we face rather than seeking the root cause of the problems? We teach learners who in some cases come from very unstable and unsavoury circumstances, at times we are callous enough to call attention to this even indirectly when admonishing others. Do we seek to assist or be assisted? Surely in seeking to assist the least of the learners we find our calling and an echo of the one true teacher, Jesus.
Knock and the Door shall be opened
Which door are we knocking on? Which doors are we closing? As teachers we may easily close or restrict opportunities for our learners. Often, we do not even realise this, in fact, I dare go as far as saying we do so by omission rather than commission. Have we prepared adequately for the lessons we are teaching? Have we really used our resources to the maximum effect? Do we set the example when arriving at class or finishing early? Do we ignore the noise when the lesson is done? Do we speak respectfully as a mother or father to those in our care? Do we point out poor behaviour or mistakes in an acceptable manner? Now let us think of the learner who would have benefitted from a class that was well prepared a door or opportunity may have become more feasible. The learner who gets to engage with you in class in a respectful and firm manner may now also have more doors before her. And where you may have fairly admonished the child, she may avoid doors which lead to ruin. I believe that good teaching is the knocking on many doors. The better we perform our task the better and louder we knock on worthy doors.
It is easy to ponder the thoughts here when one does not stand in front of the class as regularly as an educator. I know very well the constant barrage of challenges that teachers face. I do realise that no one is perfect. However, as long as we seek to become better, we can hold our heads high and know we have done well. I am also very confident in stating that I know our staff is working well beyond the call of duty and that truly we are winning.
Thanks one and all