Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pie in the Sky

Objective: The teacher will write objectives that are observable and measurable before beginning instruction.

Education is pie in the sky if we don't do our jobs right. The process of passing down the legacy of learning and thinking is one where we literally make the intangible tangible. We are taking ideas, thoughts and concepts and placing them into the minds of our students through words, songs, discussions and lessons. This process becomes muddled when the people involved become distracted and disillusioned. Parents become distracted by test scores, students are disillusioned by edutainment, teachers are often distracted by the very task of teaching itself. Often the very nature of teaching leads us to fill time instead of using it. We have books, materials, resources but one thing we often lack: objectives. Observable and measurable objectives often seem to nag us into figuring out what it is we're trying to do the way a mother scolds her children to clean up after themselves. They nag, but yet they are needed. Unless our objectives can be seen, as in "list the wars that the Greeks had among themselves," they will never be accomplished. To seek to accomplish the goal to "understand that the Greeks had many wars," is nebulous and unattainable. I cannot know whether my students understand anything by asking them if they understand and why waste time with "many" when they can know the names themselves! This seems like semantics and nit picking, but when it comes to the education of young minds, I think the nit picking is worth it. I must accomplish my goals. They must be goals that can be accomplished in the first place. And because I am not omniscient, I must be able to observe and measure those goals and objectives. Otherwise, I'm filling up time reading a bunch of books, singing and bunch of songs and teaching nebulous lessons. Just pie in the sky.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hiking Without Fear

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe."
Proverbs 29:25
Life is hard. It is a challenging and often painful journey. I've been reflecting on that a lot lately. Laura and I have recently finished a class with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation that has challenged both of us to examine ourselves more closely. Each of us was required to complete a self-counseling project where we walked ourselves through areas in our lives where we felt we needed to grow in our faith and dependence on the Lord. We both chose projects that forced us to deal with fear of man. Solomon taught that fear of man is a trap, whereas fear of God leads to freedom and peace. My struggle in life is that I care about what people think of me. It's a tricky thing to want to have a good reputation. On the one hand, the Bible teaches that if we don't have a good reputation, we shouldn't be in leadership. On the other hand, if we are ruled by our desire for a good reputation, it becomes a trap.

Life is a journey. Walking that journey with the balanced perspective of fear of the Lord instead of fear of man is the key to keep from stumbling. During various phases in my self-counseling project I encountered stumbling blocks where my perspective was completely skewed by what others might say or do. At other times I was completely aware of others but unconcerned because my focus was on honoring the Lord. My eyes were fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. It was in those times that I felt most free. I confess that I wasn't a big fan of hiking in Maryland. Ticks bother me. Snakes scare me. Both cross the hiking trail. But hiking in Hawai'i is fun. There are no snakes and no ticks! I am not afraid that while I'm hiking a giant snake will cross my path (yes, it's happened to me!) and a tiny tick won't ruin my health (yes, that's happened to my daughter). Imagine if I could walk the journey of life as if I'm hiking in Hawai'i. No matter where the trail takes me, I'm safe in His love and care.

Hebrews 13:5-6.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”