Technology drives our living and learning. An effective tool I used as a high school teacher was the interactive white board. We called them SMART Boards, and were they ever! My favorite task was to highlight information by dragging my finger across the screen.
These boards are commonplace, thanks to television sports announcers and news commentators who navigate playing fields, maps, and charts by the tap of a finger. During an election year, political pundits are in their element as they highlight the red and blue states with up-to-the-minute voting results. It’s overwhelming but fun to watch as they energetically draw lines interpreting data.
Highlights are not new. Remember the bright yellow, pink, and neon green pens? We mark what we must remember, what is important, and what touches our hearts. Whether we use a gel pen or drag our finger over an electronic screen, our highlights facilitate learning.
And, we have much to learn. The following readings focus on a person’s growth in his or her walk with God. Read one a day and in sixty days, you will find yourself communicating with the Creator of the universe on a personal level. The chapters are loosely structured along three thought lines: (1) knowing God and developing character, (2) receiving protection and strength, and (3) reaching out in service and simplicity. Know, receive, reach. Join me on a journey of growth.
After many years as an at-home mom, I entered the teaching profession. Finally, I got to enjoy my own classroom. I spent nearly twenty years teaching in a large public high school and I loved every day. I never tired of the beginning of the school year with the newness of sharp pencils, new notebooks, empty planning calendars, and first chapters of textbooks. Most of all, I liked meeting new students who would become my responsibility, at least educationally, for the upcoming year.
I once told a committee of administrators I would teach for free if I had to, I loved it that much. Every day of my twenty years I felt butterflies in my stomach as I drove to school, knowing the day would be unique, interesting, and creative. There were bad days, to be sure, and even some tragic ones since I worked with high school seniors grappling with all sorts of heavy issues. However, those days were few compared to the joy of working in a classroom, trying to convince teenagers English literature and grammar were, if not interesting, at least vital.
I saw many changes in the field of education. White boards replaced chalkboards, Power Point replaced white boards, SMART Boards replaced Power Point, Internet learning replaced encyclopedic research, and online submission of essays replaced reams of paper in the march toward becoming paperless.
Now, online classes are even replacing teachers like me, an educator with butterflies in the tummy willing to teach for free. Go figure. Amid the rapidly changing classroom, however, good instruction is necessary. The delivery may change but the need for good teaching never will.
What also never will change is God wanting to teach us how to grow closer to him. My ultimate joy is that I am a student in God’s classroom. No matter how old I become, he loves me enough to keep teaching me how to do life with him.
Are the lessons tough? Incredibly tough sometimes. Do they produce results? Yes, if I am attuned and teachable. Too often I must repeat the lessons until I finally get the message. The bottom line is, God always will be involved in my life, and I feel privileged he loves me enough to show me who he is.
The Bible is God’s textbook and has answers and advice on whatever a human being might need to know. How happy it makes me to turn to this book, the Word of God, for anything occurring in my life. Reading scripture, no matter what version or medium used—e-book, tablet, phone, wrist computer, eye glasses computer, or even a book with real pages—enriches lives.
All kinds of students make up a classroom. There are eager-beaver over-achievers, reluctant learners, at-riskers, and specially challenged students. There are rebellious ones, emotionally needy ones, and many front-row students. Each brings special challenges and rewards, but the most desirable trait is their teach-ability. Are they willing to learn? It’s the same for us. God accepts us and wants to teach us about himself and how to trust him. Are we teachable? No matter what kind of student we are, there’s a seat for us. He is the Master Teacher.
I’m not in the classroom anymore but the start of the school year still excites me. I love to watch neighborhood children trek off to their bus stops, some enthusiastically others reluctantly dragging their feet and backpacks the whole way. I know they must have new notebooks and sharpened pencils and maybe even pointy crayons in their bags, just waiting for school to begin. They get to go and I must stay home. Sigh.