Giving Away Rights

Thank you to everyone who welcomed me home this summer and caught up with me. I also want to thank everyone who was praying for me as I travelled back. Despite a stressful period trying and failing to do early check-in, all of my airport transitions were smooth, I got through immigration easily, and I arrived at my house in Las Fuentes when I had expected. I had the rest of Sunday and Monday to prepare my classroom for school starting on Tuesday. Sunday and Monday were a whirlwind of mixed emotions.

Oh rats, I was expecting more to be done already.

I’ve got this.

I’m feeling behind!

Almost caught up.

Nope not really, ahh!

But, at the end of the story, I was able to start school confidently and be okay that not everything was perfectly in place yet. I am so thankful for wonderfully behaved students and for how I have been able to use what I learned last year to make sure I am clearly expressing my expectations right from the beginning. Things have been running smoothly and I have already completed most of the individual reading assessments and taught two of the four reading stations we will be using on a regular basis. I have 14 students and my new co teacher, who has already been a great source of fresh ideas, has 13. I have a few more students than I had been expecting, but so far they have all been able to fit into the class okay without too many problems.

My biggest struggle since I have been back has been has been adjusting back to limited resources. It was really frustrating to open up my classroom two days before school started and realize I was still missing several chairs for my group table and the large book shelf to hold all of the awesome books I was able to collect while I was at home. I had requested and gotten permission for both of these things before I left for break. When I e-mailed about it, it was frustrating to hear that I needed to wait and I might not get them at all because other teachers who had come to the work week were still waiting on their requests. I felt like I was being punished for not coming to the work week even though I had gotten permission for those things a couple months before. I wanted to bring to their attention that Lincoln was going to be paying quite a bit to reimburse me for the extra suitcase of books I had brought so it would be in their interest to make sure I got the shelving I needed to actually utilize the books. I felt that I as a teacher had a right to certain materials that were necessary for effective teaching. I fortunately refrained from replying, but went home discouraged that day with a couple boxes still unpacked just for lack of space and my suitcase of books still sitting at the house.

The Lord is always faithful to provide a way out of temptation. Sure enough, the next day I was reading I Corinthians 8. He reminds the Corinthians of their freedom, but cautions them not to allow their rights to cause someone weaker to trip. Paul says he would be willing to give up eating meat entirely if that were necessary for looking out for someone else. I guess when we think about rights, we are usually looking out for ourselves more than anyone else.

The next day, I read chapter 9 and the theme continued. It was really sobering to think of the apostle Paul choosing to give up the right to be supported by the churches and instead working for a living as he ministered. That is pretty big deal! He makes it very clear that he did have that right to support, but that he would “endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.” If I have all of the supplies I need to teach reading, but do not have the humility or patience to wait, the friction I cause will be a bigger hindrance to the gospel than the lack of materials. A few days later, another opportunity came to put in my request and my coordinator made sure something was special ordered to meet my specifications. I am still waiting to receive it and am hopeful it will provide enough space.

Later in the week, I had another frustration with the teacher’s lounge (our only access to printing) being closed at 3pm every day. I again was tempted to dwell on the fact, “if we were in the states this would never be an issue!” I had to again remember that Christians give up rights for the gospel, not hold onto them. If I want to make an effort to live in unity with the Mexican Christian who is in charge of closing the teacher’s lounge, I cannot let my rights or my frustration at the system get in the way of treating him as I should. I Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”

I am happy to be back and excited to get into teaching content next week. I will keep you posted.