Adventures in Teaching I

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
— Psalm 51:10

Brothers & Sisters,

If you're reading this, then I survived and so did my class! Today was a learning experience for both myself and my class. They were all great, and I was consistently having my mind blown by the level of conversation we were able to have.

I'll be the first to admit that I went in with reasonably reserved expectations and was pleasantly surprised when those expectations were blown entirely out of the water. One of my challenges to them through the morning was asking for definitions and then asking for their own interpretation of the definition, and I was impressed with their ability to take what was just read and put it into their own words. It sparked some great conversation and questions.

One of my primary goals for the next two weeks is to make sure that we as a class not only learn about our faith but also strengthen our relationships with the Lord. I feel very strongly that we should not have our noses in our books for the next two weeks but be having conversations about our assumptions and what we're learning about. I firmly believe that learning doesn't happen just with our noses in our books but also in the questions that come out of focused conversations around what we're reading. I was concerned going into today that we wouldn't be able to have these conversations and yet here I was again, pleasantly surprised at the capacity to have a conversation that enriched the entire class, including myself.

It was fun to learn about their thoughts on the traditions of the church and most of all prayer. For most prayer seemed to happen before dinner (Grace), when in the most need (a miracle), and when things were quiet at night. One of the things that impressed me was that we all agreed that God is always with us. One of the questions I then posed to them was "If God is always with us why don't we talk to him more than we do?" The range of answers I received was incredible. From "I never thought of it that way" to "can I just talk to Him like that?" These are 7th graders giving me some pretty deep thoughts on prayer and faith!

In conclusion my friends, it should be clear that today was terrific. If the next nine days are even half of what today was I'll be incredibly happy. In a way, I'm glad that I didn't go in with high expectations but yet if I had the class would have far exceeded them. 

Yours,
Jeff