More than the blistering heat, annoying curriculum (and sometimes unresponsive leaders), sun spiders and other invasive insects (millions on millions of ants), my students failing classes is the most difficult thing to deal with this year. It has gotten to the point now where I grade my best students last so that I won’t be torn apart by my students who consistently get every single problem wrong. That way I can be comforted by my students who care and try hard.
The problem is that of the ones who do poorly, all but one of them is discouraged by it, and tries even less the next time. If none of them cared, (like me in Jr. High), then I would be happy to give them the “F” they so willingly embraced. But as it is, they wish they did well, but don’t. There are a number of reasons for that, such as them not really appliying themselves, or going above and beyond to remedy the situation. They prefer soccer or friends over study…..just like I did.
Yet I am still left discouraged. Why? I am not quite sure. It gets under my skin that my students are failing. I feel as though I have failed. It is my charge to instruct, teach and walk along side these students, and when they fail I take it by implication that I have failed. Bitterness, frustration, and even straight up anger result.
Pastor Kelly (Crosspoint) and Pastor Irwin ( CPC) have both told me that they experience this constantly in the pastorate. After teaching something for 10 years, one of their parishoners will finally get it at some conference, and come back raving about the speaker. That would just be salt in the wound if that were me. The difference for them is that they don’t get to grade their parishoners lives, and the tragedy is immediate and grave when the people of God don’t live as they ought.
My prayer has become one of submission; Lord here are my efforts, I lay them at your feet. Here are my students, I lay them at your feet. Here I am at your feet, wash my efforts with your blood, bless my work for your son’s sake. I look forward to your return, groaning with the rest of creation.