Saturday, August 20, 2016
1) I've learned to rely on God. My initial response when told about this opportunity was "No way, it's not for me". I'm an introvert. I'm not a natural with kids. I like to plan and be prepared. Subbing was far out of my comfort zone! I took a small step and got my toes wet by volunteering in my boys' elementary classrooms. After becoming familiar with the routines and getting further encouragement from the teachers, I decided that I was going to jump in and pray that I could swim! I found that as my experience grew, so did my confidence. However, I've had to learn to be flexible and take things one moment at a time. Each day is different. Even now, 4 years later, I walk into new situations all the time. But instead of getting worried or anxious, I just say "Ok God, here we go!" and trust that He will make up for my areas of weakness. I may be going out of my comfort zone, but it's become somewhat fun and adventurous not knowing what to expect and rising to meet the challenges.
2) I've increased my capacity to love. We live in a small town and I choose to sub only within our school district (in all grade levels). I stay plenty busy and enjoy the relationships I form with the students over time. I don't just see them one year like a regular teacher...I get to follow them all the way to graduation! Of course some students are easier to love than others, but I've learned to care about them all and want them to succeed. These are now "my kids". I struggle with remembering all of their names, but I do try :)
3) Teaching helps to keep my mind sharp. I was always one of the top students in school. I prided myself on being intelligent. However, when you don't use it, you lose it. I get nervous that maybe I'm no longer "Smarter Than a 5th Grader". Being in so many classrooms helps to refresh my memory and practice skills that are in danger of being lost. (Thank God for answer keys!) I use my "downtime" opportunities in the classroom to read, work on math on Khan Academy, or study yearbooks (see, I really do try to remember names). While I'm thankful that I no longer have to study for tests, I do enjoy the challenge of remembering information and explaining it in age-appropriate ways.
4) I have a deepened respect for teachers. Like most girls, I liked to play school as a child. I would imagine standing in front of a classroom where the students were all sitting quietly in their seats waiting to learn. Then I would grade the simple worksheets and put stickers at the top. That's what teaching was in my mind. But that is not the reality of the classroom! My visions did not include controlling behavior issues, managing IEPs, preparing students for state tests, writing SLOs, and grading for hours on end. I've been asked many times if I want to become a teacher, and the answer is definitely "NO!" I prefer to be a support and blessing to them by being in their classrooms in their absence, and hopefully providing them with peace of mind that their students are in good hands.
As this new school year is upon us, I look forward to getting back in the classroom and seeing "my kids" again. I know that joys and challenges await, but I'm trusting in God to equip me for the job.
** Many districts need substitute teachers, so I encourage you to check into it if you are in a position to do so!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
So what features make this Bible unique?
1) Within the Bible text, 100 Core Memory Verses are chosen and highlighted in a text box. These verses are written in 3 popular translations (NLT, NIV, and KJV) so that you can choose which version to memorize. There is also a paragraph of explanation, a prayer using that verse, a devotion that can be found at the back of the book, and a song which can be downloaded or listened to for free online. A checklist is provided at the back of the book to keep track of your progress.
2) For those who want a challenge: There is a set of "Challenge" verses also highlighted within the text and written in the 3 translations. There is also an index suggesting good Bible passages to memorize and stories to learn.
3) At the front and rear of the book you can find tips and suggestion for how to memorize Scripture and thematic/topical verse finders. These include the core verses and many more. So if I was lacking confidence and wanted to memorize some verses on this subject, I look up "confidence" and BOOM...there's 12 verses I can choose from.
So what about the songs? This feature was the one I was most anxious to check out. The index at the back of the book categorizes the songs by age range and musical styles. These songs are supposed to appeal to people of all ages. So I listened... The verdict? Good songs....for young kids only. I'm all for worship songs that use Scripture, but the voice used in recording these songs and the styles all point to young children. The kids that I know (age 10 and up) would roll their eyes at this music. I have no doubt that it would aide in memorization, but the process would not be pleasant, for them or for me.
Overall: Even if the music is not for you, the other features in this Bible make it a good resource.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
This devotional contains 180 short readings (2 small pages each) that give a bible verse and a story/facts related to common questions that skeptics raise. There are topics such as creation, the resurrection, the divinity of Jesus, evil and suffering, the validity of the Bible, and other religions. Each devotion has a title that can be found in the Table of Contents that gives a clue to its topic. However, reading are not grouped by topic and there is no topical index. This can make it difficult to find information related to a specific question. For someone wanting in-depth information that fully answers questions, I would recommend Lee Strobel's other books. This one is better for discussion starters and small bits of thought-provoking material. (Perfect for short family devotions!)
The author states in the introduction that these devotions were compiled "in a way that will not only reinforce the faith of Christians, but also make the evidence for the Christian faith accessible to spiritually curious readers, including students, who are interested in better assessing the case for biblical faith." By just taking 5 minutes per day, you can use this tool to increase your knowledge and build your faith.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.