Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: "A Word Fitly Spoken"
By Elizabeth Budd
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For the past six years, I’ve been teaching English composition and grammar in a small Christian school. I “encourage” students to memorize the 19 linking verbs and the 23 helping verbs, learn the three types of verbals, and recognize subordinate clauses. I drill vocabulary lists and assign endless numbers of five-paragraph essays.
While I love my students and the subject itself, it can be very discouraging to teach a subject that most people detest. Students claim grammar is boring and complain about diagraming sentences and conjugating verbs (can you imagine?)! And they don’t mind saying so in front of their English teacher.
In spite of this negativity, I am generally an upbeat, cheerful person. I try to inject humor into my lessons (joke: “When is a verb not a verb? When it’s a verbal!”). I create posters and once even made a mobile of verb complements! I know I’m doing what God has called me to do, but there are days when I start feeling sorry for myself and feel I’m not doing anything important. After all, I’m not teaching the Bible.
I was pitying myself one particular day this school year. This “just happened” to be a day when some former students were home from college and visiting the school. One of them that I had taught for three years said to me, “Mrs. ****, I’m so glad you made us do all that grammar stuff. You have no idea how much easier it’s made my college classes.” Ahhh – words fitly spoken!
Another day, two seniors who are suffering through their SAT and ACT tests told me they were “ace-ing” the writing portions of their tests because I made them learn to write logically and well. Ahhh – more words fitly spoken!
I needed to be lifted up and encouraged, and God knew that. I am grateful to be serving Someone Who cares and can give me the “oomph” to get in there and help a few more students to someday be successful.
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