Saturday, April 25, 2009


As a substitute teacher, I walked into the classroom yesterday morning with the familiar sense of trepidation and anticipation. One always HOPES for a good day but middle school students can be a handful....especially on a FRIDAY!!! However, I felt positive and was praising God for the opportunity to interact with 8th graders and earn a living!!

As first block students came in I greeted them with a smile, introduced myself and gave the assignment the teacher had left on the desk. Most students began doing the work quietly. But there were five boys at one table who seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a teacher in the classroom and I quickly lost control as they became disruptive. They talked loudly, began walking about the room, and throwing paper wads.

One boy was extremely rude and argumentative. He went from one table to the next doing NO WORK at all. After about thirty minutes he suddenly became studious and asked me to help him with the pronunciation of words. When he brought his book to me I saw that he was on the WRONG chapter (purposefully) and only wanted me to pronounce the words because they were about body parts that were a little embarrassing to say out loud. I asked him to sit down. He refused and continued to whine, "But I can't read these words. How do you say THIS? How do you pronounce THIS? Ms. Klass, you won't even help me." He kept this up for three or four minutes really trying my patience. He was a problem the entire time.

Another little boy was so defiant that I wrote him up and sent him to the office. A girl offered to escort him but I heard one of the kids whisper to her, "When you get in the hall, tear up the discipline form." So I called the office and told them he was coming alone.

A couple girls came to the desk at least four times and stuck their paper right under my nose in a demanding way saying, "I can't get this question." I think they had sprayed something on the paper because they would rudely push it in right into my face!

When the buzzer rang for dismissal I couldn't believe what happened. As the children RACED out the door I was hit with a barrage of paper wads and balled up paper!!! They had to have planned this final insult!!! I felt like bursting into tears and going home. (Later, when I thought about it, it seemed rather funny but at the time I was devastated.)

Fortunately second block was a planning block so I collected myself and decided I wouldn't let the situation get the best of me. (Actually, I HAVE been in MUCH worse!!!) I called my husband and mom and asked them to pray for me. I had brought some scripture verses in my bag to try to memorize so I got them out and read the following:

"....and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET......" (Eph. 1:19-22a)

God prompted me with the thought, "Put the verse into practice!!!" I felt impressed to begin a "prayer walk" around the classroom!!! I walked to each table praying over EVERY CHAIR asking God to give the students a desire to learn. I prayed for a quiet, peaceful, classroom where the students would be respectful and do their work. I quoted the scripture in Ephesians several times as I prayed. God's spirit seemed very close.

When the third block students came I sensed an immediate difference in the atmosphere. They sat quietly, did their work and were respectful. There was minimal talking and even when we went to lunch and recreation time outside, they stayed together and I had NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER with this class and it was STILL the 8th grade and a LARGER class than first block.

The fourth block was about the same.
So, yes, there IS STILL prayer in PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!! He will answer our cry WHEREVER we are!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Problem of the Day

I'm sitting in a Special Ed class. All the children have learning disabilities of one sort or another. An eighth grader brings me a "Curious George" book and I listen as he stumbles through a couple of pages. A Downs Syndrome child smiles, shyly inviting me to help him with a learning puzzle.

The PROBLEM OF THE DAY is on the board. It simply says, "SOLVE. WHAT IS 25% of 448?" The students now pore over their calculators thinking hard. "What is 25% of......????" They hopefully lean over their notebooks writing their answers. To them THIS IS SO DIFFICULT.

If only THIS problem of the day was MY problem of the day because I know the answer to THIS one. I smile because it is SO easy. Without a calculator or pencil and paper I can tell you the answer.

The lead teacher makes an announcement. "I'm going to get a drink. WHEN I COME BACK, THE PROBLEM OF THE DAY IS OVER." She quickly leaves the room.

I think about MY problem of the day. I don't know the answer. To me it is very difficult. I imagine God smiling because to Him it is SO easy. He already knows the answer. Then I remember that He said He's coming back. And when He gets back MY PROBLEM OF THE DAY IS OVER!!