Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back In The Gym

As noted weeks ago, I have put my arborist business on hold for three months while I accepted a long-term teaching job in Verona. The first thing I tell people is that the kids make me laugh. Remember that show with Bill Cosby, Kids Say the Darndest Things? I feel like I’m on the show when I’m playing with these kids in the gym. It fascinates me as they are learning about games and activities in the gym. I am lucky enough to have a front row seat as they grow and develop their skills and accomplish things for the first time. Jumping rope is new to a kindergartener. Then they learn to jump backwards. But when I challenge them to do “criss-cross,” they quickly make it known that they can’t do that, yet.

The question I get the most is, “Will this turn into a full time thing?” Unfortunately the answer is no. I’m filling in for a teacher who’s taking three months of paternity leave. He’ll be back January 22. And I’ve been asking all around about other jobs in the district. Bad news for gym teachers. They cut one at the high school, and they reduced one from 100% at a school to 50/50 between two schools because enrolment dropped 50 kids at one of the schools.

Note to reader: I am so frustrated at the lack of funding in the public schools. Even before I became a teacher, I felt it doesn’t make sense that the people teaching our kids, the future of our country and world – it doesn’t make sense that they make such little money and there’s not enough for additional teachers. Another blog for another day.

So I’ve been trying to pray about my situation. God certainly has refreshed my desire to teach, but the question of “where” is still unanswered. I’m thinking about the traditional idea of a gym teacher, but I’m also thinking about how else to “market” myself as a self-employed teacher. Sorry if this is boring you or you’re confused. But basically I’m trying to be more effective and more independent than the public school teacher. It’s just hard for me to ignore experiences I’ve had with business and thoughts and dreams I’ve had concerning my career. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What else? Merry Christmas!!

As I sit with my wife's family, it's a gathering like so many others. We're all on our laptops, iPods, cameras, and updating Facebook.

We've watched Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Christmas Story. Now we're starting National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. You need to go watch that right now.
"Going for a new, landspeed record..." Griswald is the last real family man.

You're probably reading this after Christmas, so all the rentals are back at the video store. Go rent it now and write me a comment.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Insight into Leadership

I have been doing leadership with the college ministry at Blackhawk for over five years now. As my experiences grow, I am learning so much about what it takes to influence college students, and particularly college leaders. I love to read books and go to conferences on leadership development, but so often we learn best by the experiences we have with those we're leading.

This semester, as I was writing out my thank you cards to those on my leadership team, I was able to reflect on what these students have done in the last 16 weeks (or so) for the ministry. This wouldn't have happened if the card read as follows:

Dear Leader - thanks for your help and service this semester. Looking forward to next semester. Here's $10 to use at Starbucks.

I don't mean to slam you if that's the extent of your thank you card, but I guess I kind of am... If you are serious about leadership, you're serious about making an impact. There is no impact in that thank you.

So I made sure to write a few sentences of specifically what I was thankful for in their service, what I saw in their efforts with the ministry, and (specifically) what I was looking forward to as we prepare for the second semester. This was such a great reflection for me - it's really going to be a springboard as we begin thinking about the spring semester.

Are you a leader? Do you want to influence others? Imagine the impact you can have when you get specific with your thank you cards and pour out praises for team members... Celebrating victories and encouraging spirits go a long way in the heart of the leader.