Thursday, September 13, 2012

Because the Teacher Learns, Too

It happened again today. It happened after the worst lesson of my student teaching experience; a lesson on addition story problems gone totally wrong. I'm sure the kids learned something, and they probably saw nothing wrong, but it definitely left me flustered, teary, and more than a little sweaty (of course). We dropped the kids off for special area, and I was finally alone with my supervising teacher so that I could begin apologizing for the past 45 minutes of class time...

But instead of adding to the 57 terrible things I had shared, she said something like this:
"Your planning was excellent. Making a lesson run smoothly just takes practice."

I was horribly uncomfortable with what she said.
It meant that I couldn't possibly do everything perfectly right now.
It meant that I would mess up.
It means I can't have complete control.
It means I have to be vulnerable.

It happened again today- I realized my humanity. I realized my enormous need for grace. I realized that, no matter how many nights I nearly pull an all-nighter and stay up long enough to see the sun peeking through the trees into our little apartment so that I will be prepared, I will not be perfect. And God's okay with that.

I proudly made quesadillas tonight for dinner. I've cooked dinner twice in the past 2 weeks. Am I failure as a wife? The former me would say yes, you awful wife who can't even make time to make food for your loving husband who does so much for you. How dare you forget to sweep and mop those hardwood floors and scrub the bathtub once a week and keep the toothpaste from caking onto the bathroom sink?! The former me (and sometimes, the current me) likes to say that I need to have everything together, sing happy songs with my first graders all day, have a budding social life, and have a gourmet dinner on the table by the time my husband gets home at 6:30. Ha... when I write it out it seems so silly, but isn't that what the picture-Pinterest-perfect woman does?!

Maybe that's what we're supposed to look like when we create an image of ourselves online. Maybe we can fool everyone on Facebook and blogs (and Twitter and Instagram and... there are way too many social media sites...) into thinking that every single day of our lives run perfectly and happily. But God knows better, and you darn well know better. He knows that you've had a rough day. He sees the pile of clothes you've been accumulating in your closet, even when the rest of your bedroom looks nice and clean (guilty guilty). He sees the number of sad/boring/difficult times you have that may often far outweigh the happy moments we celebrate on the outside. And He most definitely knows when I'm scared to death to begin my first day of solo teaching tomorrow. AND HE STILL LOVES ME.

I'm learning. I hate learning, but I love learning. As I've mentioned before, the tight and hard spaces we wedge through in order to find our way to a better understanding of Jesus are oh-so-worth it. Being vulnerable and a new, inexperienced teacher is good for me. It means learning to be teachable. It means learning to be humble. It means learning I am not perfect. It means learning to lean on Christ's strength. It means learning to love my husband in new and creative ways.

It means learning that going for a weekend trip to Chi-town with great friends in the smack middle of student teaching is sometimes not entirely wise but extremely refreshing:

And I'm thankful that I'm learning.


  1. I love you sweet Emily! Praying you will always be a student of grace. There is nothing more gracious that God can do for us than remind us of our need for the Savior provided us. :)

  2. Emily, I know you are doing what God called you to do. Remember our plans are not His plans always and sometimes we have to "mess" up to see that He is still in control. Over my 13 years in the classroom I have had days of complete disaster, but knowing that you can start fresh and new the next one helps me press on. Also, you have learned a valuable lesson early in your career. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you plan and see something working it is not the way the students see it and make it work. You have to have an alternative plan in place to bring out of your hat of tricks. Iam praying for you and this journey. God has showed Himself to you early in the journey and may you lean on Him and know that we are not all the "Pintrest" woman so many desplay!

  3. Hey Emily Please cheer up! you are absolutely the best girl I have ever met! I am sure you will go through this tough time and become a great teacher!!
    I am having the worst time of my life now. I hate my job and my boss is not satisfy with me. Everyday I am struggling. I hope things will get better soon!
    Miss you!!!!!