Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'll admit it: the last few weeks have been personally challenging. I've felt as though I've been in a perpetual state of unrest, I've felt lonely, I've felt burnt out, and my enthusiasm and patience for teaching have been wearing thin. Today helped to reverse the trend a bit.

I had the freshmen in class today for the first time in four days (they'd been busy preparing for and performing their Greek Day skits for English class). Last week, they had finished presentations on leaders for the ancient world, and I informed them that they'd have a take-home test due next week that connected themes of human nature with the personalities, decisions and ruling styles of four different ancient leaders. To review, I thought it might be fun for the students to do something creative, so I asked them to write a personal profile for the leader they'd presented on, like you'd find on a dating site (the whole, "I enjoy long walks on the beach and candlelit dinner" type of thing). However, instead of candlelit dinners, it might be plundering cities and not sparing women and children that the leader enjoyed...

Well, one girl's hand went up right away and she asked, "Could we write up how their facebook profile would look?"

I thought about this and could not suppress a smile. What a GREAT idea! I said yes, absolutely, and praised the girl's creativity. My mind started running through all of the brilliant possibilities for such a project:

Recent Activity:
6:45 pm Nero added 63 new photos to his album "The Burning of Rome."
6:46 pm Nero "likes" his album "The Burning of Rome"
6:55 pm Status update: Don't look at me, it's the Christians' fault!

...and so on. When you factor in the inevitable back-and-forth that would come up in the photo and status comments, and wall posts, you've got some fairly solid critical thinking taking place in a creative and engaging medium.

I didn't even try to contain my excitement: "Guys, this is a really great idea--I'm definitely going to use this later in the year and make a bigger project out of it!"

I think my enthusiasm was contagious--I heard lots of good planning and discussion happening, and for the first time in several weeks, I was genuinely happy with how a class had gone. I'm grateful to God for moments like these that seem to alight at the exact moment that we're most frustrated and exhausted.

I am still exhausted and at a low ebb for energy and motivation, but I think that today energized me enough to finish out the next few weeks before vacation with strength and passion.

The familiar thought now echoes in my head: I need to take better care of myself...

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