Building Character, Not Just Academics

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On my very first day of teaching EVER, I invited my students into the classroom and instructed them to write on the board in response to three prompts:

  1. What are your expectations of me as your teacher?
  2. What are your expectations of each other as classmates?
  3. What are your expectations of yourself this year in my class?

After about five minutes I had everyone sit down, and we reviewed their responses as a class. These would become our social contract for the year.

In each of my six class periods, I was largely pleased with their responses. Some students wrote a teacher expectation of “no homework” and the like, but for the most part, I saw phrases like “be patient with us” and “be kind, not mean”. Against such things there is no law.

However, in second period when I asked, “Is there anything else anyone wants to add that they may not have written up on the board?”, a large, dark-haired boy in the front row raised his hand.

“Yes…” I checked my seating chart, “…Art?”

His brows drew together angrily. “One of my expectations of you as our teacher is that you get kids out of here who don’t deserve to be in this class.”

The previously silent classroom seemed to get even quieter. Perhaps I had heard wrong. “Excuse me, what?”

He repeated himself. “Like those two.” He pointed down the row at two smaller boys, Ernie and Kevin. “They’re not smart enough to be in Pre-AP, but their parents put them in here anyway. You should kick them out of your advanced math class or they’ll hold back the whole class.”

Stunned, it was purely by the grace of God that I managed a reasonable response. “Well, Art, that leads us nicely into our next topic, which is ‘Expectations of Each Other as Classmates’. You’ll see all over this board words like ‘kind’ and ‘respectful’.” I looked pointedly at him. “So we’re not going to have any more comments like that in my classroom. Is that understood?”

Art stayed behind after class. He told me again his concerns. Totally flabbergasted at his blatant arrogance and prejudice, I suggested, “You know, Art, I’m happy to have you come alongside me as the teacher and help tutor some of these other students if they need to be brought up to speed. Instead of tearing down our classmates, let’s work together to build them up, okay?”

Art laughed – a hardened, angry laugh. “They’re beyond help.” And he walked out of my room.

Yesterday I gave my first test of the year, and I marveled as I graded the papers from second period. The high-and-mighty Art only got 20% right. And little Ernie got an 80%.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs 16:18

Authentically Aurora

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Why I Write

Some readers of my blog might think that I amLittle Girl Lipstick

Self-absorbed.

Arrogant.

Narcissistic.

 

It’s true that I have described myself as “an intelligent… talented… successful young woman” who is “ridiculously attractive” and “a speed dating rock star”.

It’s also true that most of my posts involve some sort of explanation about why one guy or another isn’t a good fit for me. Some are socially awkward. Others have poor grammar. Still others hide the fact that they have children. No biggie.

I can understand why some folks might get the impression that I have a victim mentality and that I either believe I have already attained perfection or that I am completely absorbed with my own brokenness. I readily admit that I have walls up and have become cynical about love. But I also openly acknowledge that I am in a season of refinement, and I wholeheartedly believe that God is in the process of taking away my heart of stone and giving me a tender, responsive heart of flesh.

Dear DiaryI don’t write because I think that the world revolves around me or that everyone else should be enamored with the daily dramas of my life. In fact, I barely have any followers – less than 50 – and most of them don’t even know my real identity.

I write because it’s therapeutic. I write because it helps my mind process events and observations. And I write publicly, even if no one is reading, because it keeps my journal entries from veering into the realm of the depressed and the truly “woe is me.”

Writing publicly forces me to change my mindset to see the humor in life situations and to try to learn from the experiences God allows to come into my life. And if someone gets a laugh out of my adventures in the process, all the better.

Authentically Aurora

The Macaroon Monologue

I recently got matched online with this amazing 29-year-old biomedical engineer:

David eHarmony

Better yet, this handsome fellow initiated a conversation with me and even asked – after a few rounds of emailing – if he could take me on a date! He seemed as entranced by me as I was with him. Could it be… love at first profile read?!

David was self-described as an athletic, adventurous, well-traveled, laid-back man who values quality time with family and friends. He is a team leader at a medical device development company who teaches bible study at his church and does volunteer work in his free time. Also:

Eharmony first impressionAdorable, right? I couldn’t wait to go out with him. David seemed like exactly the kind of guy I’d want to be with. Unfortunately, it turned out that David also thought he must be the kind of guy I’d want to be with. I discovered this fact about two hours into our date when I had yet to complete a full sentence without David interrupting me to tell me more awesome facts about himself.

Don’t get me wrong; I go on dates to learn more about the other person. Mission accomplished.

The thing is, I figured David might actually have asked me on this date to learn more about me. Wrong. Silly me.

Three hours into our date, I had given up trying to tell David anything about myself. At that point, I was just trying to get a word in edgewise so that I could excuse myself and LEAVE. I had been unwittingly taken hostage by a dashing, intelligent, accomplished and entirely self-absorbed man.

Long after the ice had melted in his iced mocha, David glanced down and took his first sip. I took the opportunity to “glance at the time” and tell him that I needed to head home. David smiled (I’ll admit it; he was right about having a great smile) and excused himself to get something that he’d left at the cash register of the cafe. Five minutes later, David returned with a box of two dozen dark chocolate macaroons, which he handed to me with a flourish.

“Your favorite, right?” His eyes twinkled.

I grinned and laughed inwardly, recalling that the only full sentence I had been able to get out was that I love dark chocolate. If only I’d mentioned that Tiffany watch I’ve been eying! C’est la vie.

Authentically Aurora