Having had a semester’s sabbatical—having time to read, study, take a seminar, plan—having presented to teachers on how to design curriculum and engaging lessons—this week I met my students.
I am completely beguiled.
When I ask them to read, they read, and engage, and apply. When I ask them to write, they share what they love, what they fear, what they hope for. When I ask them to discuss, they research, connect, and find complexity.
This week we built "to-read" lists, read the poem "The Creation" by James Weldon Johnson, studied Genesis 1:26-28, and discussed the summer reading of Things Fall Apart (10th grade) and David and Goliath (11th grade).
Some shine more in the writing, some more in the research, some more in the discussion. How can I let each know how amazing he or she is? And how can I challenge each to build on her strengths, to minimize his weaknesses, and to rise to the calling of using language to understand the beauty and brokenness of this amazing world, and to work for a place where all can flourish?
I come fully armed with grammar, connotation, close reading exercises; with novel studies, journal questions, and essay prompts…and I hope and pray that as I interact with each of you, you will know that I find you amazing—the very image of God. And that since God offered Adam the partnership of creating the words to name the animals God had created, this adventure of language is part and parcel of how we exercise the stewardship of creation we’ve been entrusted with.
We all impact the world. I can help you to it more wisely and effectively with the gift of words.
I also hope you will understand how I have found that walking with God is what gives the perspective, the motive, and the strength to use His gift of language as it was intended—furthering delight and truth and compassion and justice.
What a trust. What an honor. What fun.
Thanks for coming with me.