Saturday, August 15, 2009

Discipline, Patience, and Goals in General

Well, this semester is shaping up to be quite good! It started out very busy for me, with an extra class plus being in charge of two extra-curricular activities. I was feeling overwhelmed, so I asked one of the new teachers to take over the worship team, and I was feeling a lot better about that. Then I was told that one of the senior parents wanted to be in charge of fund raising for the class trip, so now I'm just helping out and am no longer in charge. Yay! Then just a few days ago we heard that yet another teacher is coming down (he taught here several years ago and has been back for many visits, so I know him), and he's going to take my extra class, along with the extra classes of the other teachers. I am a little sad about this, because I was kind of enjoying the math class, and the kids really liked me. I had gotten attached enough that I feel a little protective or territorial. :o) Plus I'm afraid they'll be disappointed. But it's a good chance for them to learn that change isn't necessarily bad. So what started out as a busy semester, has turned into quite an easy one, especially considering that I've already taught these classes, so half of the prep work is done. But this is good, because it gives me time to work on things outside of school. And this leads me to the main reason for this post.

I'm trying something new this semester. I'm setting very specific goals for myself. It started with wanting to set goals for myself as a teacher. How can I improve myself this semester? I feel like I have a handle on the prep work and all that, so I figured it was time to work on one of the skill sets that I've had to put on the backburner. And two things popped immediately into my head, and in a way they go hand in hand.
The first is that I want to try to maintain patience. I used to think I was a very patient person, and then I became a teacher of teenagers. And I'll be honest. Those kids drive me crazy sometimes. I don't know if it's because I have too high expectations or what, but I get so frustrated when they complain or slack off or talk incessantly, especially the older kids. I feel like they should know better, but they're the worst ones! So I'm going to work on not letting it get to me.
And this leads me to my second goal as a teacher. I'm going to try to be mean this month, and maybe longer if necessary. What do I mean? Let me tell you. I know these kids well enough now, and I've seen how the school runs, and I know what they are capable of and what they get away with. So first of all I'm not going to let them talk so much. This is difficult to control, but I have a few ideas. I need some more though. I'm also not letting them get away with late homework anymore. No more excuses. They should know better. So basically, I'm trying to teach them responsibility. They haven't really had to learn it all that much because the school is so small and the teachers have the capability to be understanding. It's a family environment. So these kids get away with a LOT. But not anymore. There have already been a few instances where I haven't been lenient when I usually would be. I view this as my last opportunity with these kids, so I really need to make it count. I know I still need to crank it up a few notches in some ways, but I'm working on it.

So my mind was already in goal-setting mode, and I was sitting in church my first week after being back from my vacation. I had been moving and traveling so much over my break, that I had very little time for devotions. Or should I say, I made very little time for devotions. I and could tell. I was getting upset much easier at things, and a small "trial" in my life was still eating at me. I was having a hard time dealing with it. So I decided to change all that by setting a very specific goal. Usually I say things like, "Ok, from now on I'm doing my devotions, that's it." And that's as good as it got. It was too vague, too hard to keep up with. If I missed a day, I kicked myself and grew discouraged and frustrated. I'm learning this about myself. I need more specific deadlines, but reasonable ones.
So here it is. I've set three very specific goals for myself in the three things I know I need to do and have a hard time staying consistent with.
1. Every Sunday, I should be able to sit in church and know that I did my devotions 5 times that week. (I told you I needed to set reasonable goals. If things go well, and they have been so far, I'll bump it up to 6, etc. We shall see.)
2. I need to work out 4-5 times a week. (My trainer had already set that goal for me, and since I have him as accountability, I usually get it done.)
3. I need to floss 3 times a week. (I know, it sounds silly, but I really need to take care of my gums!) :o)

So, I'm trying to learn discipline in my life, trying to teach discipline in the lives of my students, I'm doing it through very specific goals, and it's going to take a lot of patience on my part! We'll see how it goes. So far it's been going very well. It's been so nice to spend time with God pretty much every day, and it makes all the other difficulties much easier. I know it's an obvious lesson, but sometimes after so many years we forget.
So I'll let you know how it goes. It's good for me to have accountability. :o)
Until next time...

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