Last week, I started up a semester-long job to go with my research responsibilities: I am teaching a class.
This is the opportunity I have been waiting for since starting grad school. It is the job I hope to engage in on some level when I leave grad school.
All that being said, I’ve never actually been responsible for a whole class before. Sure, I’ve had project presentations for my peers, I’ve organized and led smaller academically-oriented camps for kids, I’ve TAed a few classes, and I’ve given the occasional guest lectures at my alma mater. But those have in no way prepared me for the
awesome and enlightening discussion that goes on every minute in my classroom stares of sleep-deprived souls who really don’t want to be hearing about the importance of ethnography at 9:30 in the morning.
OK, so it hasn’t been the steady stream of classroom chatter I was hoping for some days.
As I have replayed that first week, trying to figure out how to improve my teaching style, I’m struck by how much God really is our teacher, how much I can learn fromHhim. But more importantly, I wonder at how much He has to deal with in educating us and His infinite patience in doing so.
When I look out into the sea of students, I have gotten used to some of the vacant, uninterested stares. Rather than be deterred, I am reminded of a God who constantly deals with our lack of interest in His plans.
When I feel like I am rushing through the material too fast, talking too loudly, I need to tell myself to take a breath and slow down. I am reminded of a God who never yells, only whispers. He never rushes us, only meets us where we are.
When I am answering a question and the student just isn’t getting it, I dig deep to come up with new approaches, new analogies, new case studies which will hopefully illuminate the issue at hand. I am reminded of a God who always finds innovative ways of guiding us. Through prayer. Through parables. Through life.
And if that student still isn’t getting it? I try to ask for the grace of persistence. I am reminded of a God who will always keep trying. He will never give up on you, on me. He will always find new ways to engage us, to help us stretch our bounds and grow in holiness.
When those students aren’t even listening – well, that’s the most difficult for me. That they show up to class and won’t give me, the material, or their peers the courtesy to contribute. But then I am reminded of a God who I constantly ignore in favor of my own desires. He doesn’t give up. Our Father will forge right ahead, eventually inspiring us to get back on our feet, to give Him another shot.
And in the end, despite the tired eyes, the forgotten assignments, the tardy students, I love what I do. I’m still new to the experience, and I’m sure there will be days where I want to throw up my hands in resignation. But when I think of our God, who is constantly putting up with an entire earth full of negligent students, I can’t help but feel more loved that He persists for our sake.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Picture-038-e1313148209919.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Allie Terrell is a 2010 convert to Catholicism after dabbling in a few different trains of religious thought. She graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2009 with a degree in computer science, and is now pursuing her doctorate in the hopes of teaching some day. When she can spare a few hours, Allie likes to visit religious sites and work on her photography. She blogs about her journeys at Here Is The Church.[/author_info] [/author]