Sunday, September 23, 2007

Year 3 Begins: Teaching the Next Generation

Shortly after returning from my summer vacation, I got a position teaching a Grade 5/6 French Immersion class here in Edmonton. I was offered it 2 days before teachers began work for the year. This wasn’t my ideal, considering that I prefer grades 4 and 5 to 6, and that I was hoping to know where I was teaching before my summer holidays so I could prepare more for it then. But the Lord has his ways, and I’m still trying to get caught up and prepare for the whole year.

That being said, I am loving it and I can’t imagine what I would trade my current circumstance for. The fellow staff are great. In fact, 2 of the teachers who also teach 5 and 6 F.I. are Christians and have gone out of their way to help me out – as have many others there.

And even my kids are a good group. The “fabulous 5’s” live up to the moniker I ascribe to their age group, and the “scary 6’s” have contradicted theirs. There are plausible explanations for this. I learned a lot when I taught a 5/6 class in North Vancouver, and have been careful to keep the kids busy and on-task whenever they enter the classroom. The other thing is I only have 19 students – significantly less than the 28 I had in North Van.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, folks: this is Alberta where “mean-and-nasty-right-wing” Ralph Klein put significant resources into reducing class sizes, after the “lean and mean” nineties when he successfully not only balanced the books but wiped out the debt. In light of my faith and what the Bible says about God selecting our leaders, I have grown to be by and large apartisan and apolitical. But there is a lot to be said for Ralph Klein, at least in the bulk of his term, running government responsibly within its means. They were thus able to do what more left-wing governments always aspired and promised to do, but were unable to because they refused to take courageous steps to pay down their crippling debts (and accept the odd pie in the face). And speaking of BC, I’ll let their political history of much of the past 2 decades speak for itself.

But I digress. In a society and age designed to make the raising of children exceedingly difficult, I have come to see the role of a teacher an awesome commission and responsibility to have bestowed on one. As Solomon prayed for wisdom in leading God’s people in Israel, I too pray that God will give me the wisdom to impart to my students what they need to function as the image of God in the world he created. I also pray that in God’s timing, he will raise up his labourers to impart to them what they would need to function as his redeemed, that is, what is outside of my commission and mandate given me by the authorities in this world. Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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