Married to the Empire

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Working and Reading and Writing and Praying

I'm currently working on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a middle school. I tutor students who need a little extra help and practice to get them prepared for the reading portion of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) next month. This is my 4th year to do this.

We do some group activities each day, but mostly, the students spend their class period with me reading passages and answering questions that cover all the necessary concepts. I average 2 students per class, so there are no behavior issues, apart from the occasional whine about having to be in reading, rather than athletics or art or drama or whatever. (They miss electives to attend tutoring.) They read and answer their questions quietly while I sit and wait to check their answers.

It's a bit boring for me, to be perfectly honest.

I use this time to read mostly. I can loftily look at it as modeling for them, but truthfully, I'm just occupying my mind so I'm not staring off into space while they read their passages.

I've been drawing closer to God on these tutoring days. My cousin lent me her copy of Mudhouse Sabbath, and I liked it so much that I bought my own copy. I recommended it to my church small group to study, so that's what we're doing. I've been reading through that carefully, underlining and making notes as I go. (This even helped me drive home a point with students about using reading strategies to help them on their tests. I showed them that it's something I still do--see above photo.) I've been challenged in a lot of disciplines through this book. (Can I be honest and say that I really don't want to fast?)

I've been praying a lot, too. I start my day asking God to give me love for these students who really don't want to be in my class. And I pray for various needs of people in my life and my church. It kind of makes me laugh when people say that public schools are a mess because prayer has been taken out of them. (I've never understood why a prayer being recited over the intercom is supposed to somehow make all social ills disappear.) But really, prayer is only gone from schools when the faithful choose not to talk to Him.

I've also spent a small portion of time writing notes to people: thank yous, notes of encouragement, messages letting them know I'm praying for them.

Here's the funny thing: I was bored with tutoring last year. After 3 years of it, I found it mind-numbingly dull to sit there while the students read quietly. I'd seriously considered not doing it again this year. But I'm so glad I decided to continue with it. I really do like knowing that I'm doing something to help these kids pass the TAKS and succeed, and if I can draw closer to God while doing it, it's even better.


Anonymous said...

Hello from a fellow Texan. Thank you for helping the students pass the TAKS test. As the mother of a student who needed extra help I appreciate all that teachers do to help the children get through.

I also wanted to pass on a small thing my high school history teacher used to say. I was his office aid in the 1970's and he used to let me grade his papers. He always said "as long as there are tests in school, there will be prayer in school" and I used to laugh at him. He was so right.

Blessings Roxie M.

Allison said...

I like your take on school prayer :)

I'm a big fan of fasting! Maybe I'll post on that sometime.

*carrie* said...

That's a great book, Anne Marie. It's been several years since I've read it, so maybe I should grab it from my shelf for a re-read.

Have a blessed Easter.