September 8, 2008

lessons learned

i've organized class presidencies in my classes. i've been told (and i've witnessed for myself) that class presidencies are key to having a happy, cooperative, and edifying semester. when students feel ownership in the class, they are more apt to have positive attitudes and better behavior, helping their classmates to do the same. . . i'm still waiting for this to happen. it seems the students, though they are very intelligent, want me to tell them every single thing to do. the point of giving them positions is so they could take that ownership and run with it! well, they're not running yet.

i'm getting worried about my classes and being able to discipline. i need to be firm, yet i'm not completely sure how to do it. and in being firm, i don't want them to feel like they aren't allowed to have fun. seminary is three parts church (reverence and the spirit), two parts fun & games, and one part lots and lots of love. they've never had that before. a big part of my job as a seminary teacher to 9th graders is to teach them what seminary is, how to behave, what to expect ... basically molding them into seminary students. that's a hard job!

my dad continually reminds me that his 9th grade seminary teacher changed his life. after hearing that thirty-seven times, my mom pipes in, "oh lacey, my 9th grade seminary teacher changed my life too! that's where i gained the foundation of my testimony!" they're telling this to a twenty year-old first time teacher. yes, it's 9th grade. yes, i know the responsibilities that lay on my shoulders. yes. i know. but expecting miracles from me will only bring disappointment. it's the spirit who will come to their hearts, waiting for the students to open up and let the Savior in. it's not me, and i only want to shy away from my responsibilities when i think of how much i should be doing.

i've always been one with a special sense of judgement. by that, i mean that i am often able to feel what a person is thinking, struggling with, or feeling. i can see the confusion in most of my students' faces. in others i see complete desperation and hopelessness, often covered up by the "i don't care" attitude. i remember myself in 9th grade. i was internally rebelling against my parents, trying to impress my peers, and attempting to figure out why my life was "so hard" ... i can only assume that i've felt at least a tiny bit of what they're feeling. they're dealing with a lot of stuff - from a mom in chemo to a friend doing drugs - that puts them on the 'fence' of life and/or the gospel. do they jump in and trust that the Lord can heal their hearts? or do they fall off the other side and decide that they're alone in this world and nothing is ever going to change that.

i love them. i really do. i love them so much it hurts, literally. i want so badly to be able to help them with the adversity they feel in their lives. all i can really do is pray that the spirit will touch them with its peace and love, assuring them that the gospel is the only place they will be able to feel true joy. ... a few lessons learned, a couple million or so left to go.