If I had the time AND the money, I’d be in school myself every semester; I also love inspiring and engaging kids about learning. and often tell them it’s actually fun.
The kindergartners play right along, but when I make this announcement to the Big Kids (i.e. 6th graders) my enthusiasm is often met with the rolling of eyes or a yawn or two.
I stepped into 6th grade that day with fear and trepidation. Things were not going well; students were chatting and generally ignoring me and my attempts at getting their attention were mixed.
Then it was time for US History, the time period during the settling of the 13 original American Colonies. I knew there were a number of God fearing men who led the movement during that time and was curious to see what kind of God language there’d be in the text. People often assume God has been written right out of most of the history books, at least in Elementary School.
I was pleased to find this was not the case.
Students took turns reading paragraphs as we went around the room. It was joy to hear the mention of God and worship as they recounted the settling of the colonies.
I never knew that…
I stopped short as it hit me, exclaiming with an ‘Oh……..so that’s where that word came from.’
The students paused. What’s with the teacher? It’s a history lesson. We’re talking about slavery…
I proceeded to unpack the words in the sidebar a bit for them, attempting to engage them in seeing what I saw. I asked for a piece of notebook paper, held it up in front of the class and folded it vertically.
I slid my tongue along the paper (yes) then opened it and carefully tore the paper in half.
I pointed out the indentation in the middle.
“Boys and girls, this is what it means to be an indentured servant. To fit seamlessly into the life of your master. The slave and the master were connected in life just like the folds in this paper.”
My mind and heart were overcome with the implications as I stood in front of them. My thoughts ran to my Jesus, about being a bondservant for him, as the Apostle Paul says.**
Oh, to be a servant like that, to fit so seamlessly into his side, connected and folded into his heart.
The object lesson left me a little bit giddy with the revelation. As the words of one of my mentors came to mind, I blurted them out to the class.
“This is such an awesome illustration, don’t you think? To learn the meaning of this word?
“Aren’t you glad you came to school today?”
The 6th graders stayed cool as noisy cucumbers as I segued to the next topic, puzzled over my excitement.
“Mrs. Collins, why should we be glad we came to school today?”
“Ahhhhh, because maybe you learned something you never knew before, that’s why.”
Like I said, I love being a teacher. I was very glad I came to school that day.
Linking with Kelly and the Small Wonder Community and Jennifer for Tell His Story