God hasnt seemed to be making "big" strides in my life lately, and that has felt kind of lonesome, but i know he isnt far off because i am still learning. i am starting to learn about:
- exactly how important loving well is, for the Christian;
- how God responds to our prayers because of our boldness and persistence, not because of our status;
- how the waiting God makes us do, is where the magic happens.
anyhow, the purpose of this post is to write about what He showed me this week, one of the most exciting, albeit frustrating, ones of late...
SETTING: we find ourselves in late january, where the protagonist (also the author of this post) has many days which blend into each other. it is course selection week at school. its a non-thing for many teachers, i think, but for me, it. is. everything. it HAS TO BE everything. as a german teacher, recruitment and balancing rigor/fun will always be something of which to be mindful, and course selection is where the pudding can prove itself, so to speak. this year, recruitment has been something i can never push very far from my mind. it seems that, this year, at every juncture, beginning on day 12 (yes, that early), i have been reminded that german is a white rhino at my school--it is up to me to fix that, and what am i going to do about it. this year, i have been more vocal about needing help, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears which lie behind a foot-thick wall of concrete. the ideas never stop, as the pressure never eases.
PLOT: our little program has a meager 70 students, and i (more on that in a bit) am determined that it will grow.
RISING ACTION: ANyhow, this week was eighth grade night here at school, and i was blessed to have MANY freshmen boys (and a smattering of other kids (non-fish, and girls)) stay to help me beat the rug for german potential we havent seen, yet. that was a blessing for a few reasons, not the least of which being that it came on the end of a weirdly frustrating, exciting day. it was the day before selection forms were due, and i have to sign off on anyone who wants to take german three or four, because they are "advanced".
CLIMAX: WELL, retention rates have always been my thing, and this year proves the rule. my numbers. are. OUTSTANDING. barring scheduling conflicts, i should retain 60% of my eligible-for-german-three students, and 67% (could soar as high as 80%) of my german threes into german four. seriously, those numbers are OUTSTANDING, and i would put them against any foreign language in any school in my district, i am so proud of them.
FALLING ACTION: this exciting point is not without frustration, however, because, since the overall programs numbers are low, the amazing-ness of the retention percentages still only equal small numbers. it isnt enough. its awful.
RESOLUTION: this is the Gospel made real, again, to me. i always ALWAYS want to be able do to things on my own. I am determined to make my program grow, even though the Holy Spirit made it clear to me, on two separate occasions last school year, that it is not my prerogative to determine the success/growth rate of my german program. i cannot save either myself, my program, or anything else, on my own, without God's help and intervention.
what i have really learned, the hard way, again, is this:
i could have the best (insert measuring stick/idol here) EVER, and have done everything i needed to/wanted to get things how they need to be, and it still will not be enough to get me where i need and want to be. i cannot accomplish my own salvation. believe me, i have tried...and in many ways, apparently, hence the lesson, i still do. i want to do it. i want to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" because i have accomplished something of note, not simply taken advantage of the love, faith, hope, and joy that God offers through the effective sacrifice of Jesus, His son.
trotzdem, the old man is still around, and this is still really aggravating; i still fight for recognition that i AM doing a good job, and i AM worth the school districts money.
however, i am thankful that this place shows me, anew, that my successes or failures do not--cannot--determine my results, endpunkt, or worth, and i am not without hope. i do not purport to know all of God's mind or plan for my life. who knows, God might choose to overwhelm our efforts (those of myself, and my students) with rich blessings poured out in the form of enough german students to prevent my having to teach a fifth prep. i do know, though, that God WILL choose to continue to chip away at me--sometimes, it seems, with a sledgehammer--because i have been adopted (Hebrews 12,5-8).
what's crazier is i think i might be growing fond of this crucible, for it is hope-giving. it is me-ending. and, it means i dont have to be good enough (Romans 5,8).
ps--i apologize for the formatting discrepancies. its yet one more means of sanctification for me, and one of the main reasons i dont blog often.