Core scripture: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Message: It has been quite the school year! Stealing an idea from my boss, I thought it might be fun to finish the year with a top 10 list as she did last week. No specific categories needed. I want a bit of everything. The highs. The lows. The moments you celebrate. The times you shake your head and wonder. This top 10 list comes in no particular order. They are simply ten moments I will remember this school year by.
- Baby Shark. My 7th graders amaze me. They want to be seen as adults, yet they cling to their past. They might listen to songs with lyrics you’d be ashamed to show your mom, but guess what? The number one requested song for the Blue Team iMovie was—you guessed it—”Baby Shark.” Play that song for a bunch of middle schoolers and they will rise out of their seats like giddy kindergarteners and sing it loud and proud.
- The blackout. It is every teacher’s worst nightmare. Last fall the power went out for over an hour over lunch. My 5th hour class came back to me, and I took them to the library where the windows’ light allowed us to play a game called Pass-the-Story. It backfired on me like a firework gone wrong. Note to self … always assign seats if you take your class to the library on the fly.
- 7th grade boys basketball. They dominated this year, getting second place in City. I was only able to make it to one of their games, but they delivered that afternoon, frustrating the other team with a lethal combination of outside shooting and low post presence. Hats off to Austin, Reid, Joel, Julian, Jayden, Luke, Erick, and all the others who were a part of it.
- My 1st hour girls. They were so sweet. Hard-working. Consistent. Nothing against other classes, but they took it to the next level. They put up with quite a few boys who struggled in the maturity category, and they made the beginning of my day so pleasant. They were leaders by example. I will never forget them.
- Paper wads. All it took was one kid. One kid who saw me attempt to sing—key word there is attempt to sing. God did not bless me in that category, but I sang nonetheless to entertain my classes. The paper wad flew by my head and missed. That of course led to a few others to do the same. When I told the next class to NOT throw paper wads, they did the opposite. It became a joke. Every time I sang, the paper wads took to the air.
- The gossip lesson. It took place last Monday after a hurricane of chaos swept through my classroom the Friday before. It was the perfect storm, a storm that settled in on the day of a full moon, and it gave the kids plenty to gossip about. That discussion went deep in not just one class but all my classes. It taught them to use their words for encouraging others, not spreading stories that paint them in negative ways. I was reminded how God works everything for our good.
- My amazing team. The four of us have been together since the fall of 2012. Seven years of getting to know one another has led to a deeper relationship where we can be real with one another, sharing not only our trials at work but also personal trials at home. We pray for each other, and we live life together. We would not flourish without one another’s love and support. This past school year was filled with plenty of adversity, but we made it through.
- Pie day. Yes, some celebrate pie day on March 14. Me? I decided to celebrate last Tuesday during Cougar Time. After an embarrassing moment where my class was playing mum ball and I accidentally hit one of my students in the … uh … you-know-what. Yeah, there. Ouch! I offered him the opportunity to drill me with a whipped cream pie in the face in front of the entire team. He readily accepted and delivered. I was still wiping whipped cream out of my ear that night when my head hit the pillow.
- Mental Health awareness. I traveled to two different middle schools during the last month of school to speak out, sharing a generic yet powerful version of my testimony. I shared the same story with my students in class all day after my first presentation. When you get real like that and allow students opportunities to dive into real life issues like that, amazing things happen. This is only the beginning of my odyssey to reach out.
- The Ron Clark Academy. On the last half day of students, the bigwigs from central office showed up in the library as our team was signing yearbooks. They awarded our core team teachers with an all-expense paid trip to the Ron Clark Academy this fall. We had applied on a whim the week before, and much thanks to an incredible iMovie that our science teacher organized, we won! They said what won them over was the passionate way we talked about one another. Praise God!
Summer is here. I smile as I look back on the memories above. Believe me, some of them I was NOT smiling at when they happened! But God is so good. He can take the messes of our lives and transform them into stories that glorify Him. I am reminded of this when I read Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” His purpose is indeed standing firm. Now and forever.
Challenge: Where did God take you this year? Commemorate those moments with your own top 10 list. Write them down to remember the good times and the times you wanted to pull your hair out. It will provide wonderful time for reflection.
Prayer points: Take time to pray this week for students returning to home environments that are unsafe and difficult. Pray for that awkward transition into summer for students, teachers, and administrators alike as all of our families shift schedules.
Quote: “School’s out, school’s out. Teacher let the monkeys out.” (My Mom sang this song every last day of school when I was a kid. I can still hear her voice singing it now.)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the blessings and lessons learned throughout the 2018-2019 school year. We know You are behind it all, making it all work out for our good. Amen.