Friday, February 16

I Just Don't Get It

I'm currently taking a class which is called Introduction to and Foundations of Middle and Secondary Education. Could they have made the name much longer? I think not. In any case, I'm taking it, and for this class we actually go to downtown Chattanooga to a middle school where we are assigned to a teacher and classroom and thrown into the teaching world. I have taught a lesson, mini-lessons, tutored kids, read with kids, and it's great. I love it. Now, I must make something clear. While I do love the kids and interacting with them, that does not mean that they are perfect angels, nor do they always listen to me or behave properly toward each other.
The way that this school works is slightly odd schedule-wise. For sixth grade, the kids will only have two teachers; my class is with the English/Social Studies teacher all morning, and then in the afternoon they go to the Science/Math teacher. I help the English/Social Studies teacher, Miss Rekston. For the past few weeks, maybe months, Miss Rekston has been holding a competition between her morning and afternoon classes. The rules go something like this: When a kid gets 100% on an assignment, they get this neat little paper worm with their name on it that they get to plaster on the wall in the hallway. Whichever class has the most worms on the wall by the end of whenever it is (in two weeks I think) gets some sort of prize (I can't remember what).
This has been an amazing motivator for the kids in both classes, as I have noticed from the growing collection of worms on the wall. In fact, the kids get so excited about it that they take any excuse they can to go to the hallway and count how many each class has.
This past Thursday I was on my way to the classroom and noticed that quite a large number of worms were missing from my class's side of the wall. "Oh dear," thought I to myself.
Later in the hallway, three of the girls from my class were out in the hallway on their way to the computer room and they stopped me and said, "Miss Thomas! They stole our worms!" They then proceeded to point out to me where their line of worms had been before said burglary. I did my best to placate them saying, "Yes, I noticed that your worms were gone, but Miss Rekston knows about it, and I'm sure she's going to do something about it." "But they stole our worms!" they exclaimed again, making certain that I had understood them. "Yes, I know, but like I said, Miss Rekston knows about it, and she will take care of it." "Well they should be disqualified!" their anger rose a bit. I calmed them as best I could; we went through almost this exact dialogue a few more times before I was able to ply them away from the wall, assuring them that retribution would be made in some way or another.
Not five minutes later, I was in the hallway with two boys (I promise, I don't just stand out in the hallway with kids, both times I was on my way to the library with some of the kids), and they saw evidence of the rumor floating about that the afternoon class had kidnapped their worms. "Miss Thomas, they took our worms!" I attempted to grasp the patience I knew I must have lurking about deep within. "Yes, they did. And Miss Rekston knows this, and she will take care of it." "But that's wrong, they stole our worms!" "Miss Rekston knows they took the worms, and I know that she is going to take care of it," I said for perhaps the twelfth time in the past 10 minutes. One of the boys decided that he would try to fix it and took a few of the afternoon class's worms to put on their own side. "Cedric, let's think about this. I just told you that Miss Rekston knows what happened, and she's going to take care of it. Don't you think that she's going to notice that you took those worms and put them on your side? And don't you think that she will then punish you in some way for cheating?" "But they took our worms," he said with somewhat less indignation. Again, I took a few minutes to reassure both boys that Miss Rekston knew what happened, and would not fail to make things right in whatever way she saw fit.
As I was riding home with my roommate and our other car companion, I was recounting this adventure and I told them, "I just don't get it. This is a chronic problem with them; someone does something to wrong them, and they decide they must fix it themselves. It didn't matter how many times I told them that Miss Rekston was going to take care of it. They just didn't get it."
However, as I sat there thinking about the discourse on children and their tendency toward self-reliance I had just delivered, a very startling thought presented itself to my mind. Don't you do the same thing? I do.

This sudden realization that I had the same problem as these sixth grader who I just could not understand was rather humbling. You see, something will happen- something small, something unexpected, something overwhelming or unfair- and my worry alert starts flashing red and white lights, sirens blaring in my mind. I get anxious and troubled, and wonder how in the world I'm going to be able to handle it, how I'm going to fix this or get through this. And as I'm stressing over how to solve it, it's like God says to me, "Kristin, I know about this and I'm going to take care of it." "But God, how am I going to manage?" "Kristin, it's ok, I'm going to take care of you." And on and on the objections come; again and again God reassures me that He, the God of the Universe knows each and every situation and He is personally going to take care of me.
But sometimes, I just don't get it.


Paul said...

Another great post. I think you've hit on a battle that is a universal touchstone for Christians.

I have trouble trusting too...

CJK said...

wow, guess in some ways we're still very much like 6th graders. i can definitely learn a thing or two from this.

Alex said...

Good illustration! I know I wouldn't have had that much patience - I'm thankful that the God we serve does.