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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: "A Word Fitly Spoken"
By Elizabeth Budd
11/14/07


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“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” – Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)


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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This article has been read 420 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 11/15/07
Yes! My daughter's favorite teacher in high school was her dear English teacher who taught boring old grammar, too. Thank you for sharing with us. It's wonderful to know there are Christian teachers out there, available to be a good example to our kids!
Laury
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/15/07
Encouragement sometimes comes years later, but never too late! Your story will be found quite timely to many.
Jan Ackerson 11/16/07
Oooh, I want to take your class!

I'm a teacher, too, and I know how wonderful those encouraging words are. I enjoyed this piece.
Karen Wilber 11/16/07
I thank God repeatedly for those English teachers who made me work hard, despite my naive complaints. You picked a great verse!
Joanne Sher 11/17/07
You made me laugh - and nod my head in agreement. I'm also a "grammar nerd" (I can still recite the 23 verbs of being). This one was just fun!
Beth LaBuff 11/18/07
Aren't the proverbs wonderful? I think I NEED to take your class. You received wonderful confrimation from your former students. I like this! The only negative is that you've written six paragraphs instead of the five you require of your students. :)
Seema Bagai 11/19/07
Great entry.