I stepped out of my comfort zone this summer and joined a Bible Study for women. Not only that, but I led a table group. I struggle being in a room with women that love Jesus because I feel like I fail in being a godly woman. I do not see myself worthy of being a pastor’s wife.
I listen to 90’s rap and like it. On bad days, I catch myself talking gangsta like in the lyrics.
I am good at doing the stanky leg.
I complain and am idle.
I do not like people in my home and buy goodies rather than bake them.
I do not craft…in fact I hate it.
I just do not feel like I represent a woman of the church. But I love Jesus and so do the women I got to “lead” this summer. I wanted to be at the table with my friends or the table with the people my age, but God had a better plan. I was at the table with a mix of ages and he sat me down so that I could be mentored and taught. I gained new friends and grew in my relationship with Christ.
This is Bible Study.
This is the church.
If you have not studied with Ruth Chou, then I encourage you to study Truthfilled. It takes you on a journey through Colossians to learn your identity in Christ. To rehearse His truths. So powerful in this age where we easily get our confidence from likes, views and followers. Truth is what we say to ourselves is everything…so speak truth!
I fail at this daily. The author of the Bible Recap says “You are a person that reads her Bible, wants to read her Bible or wants to want to read her Bible.” I fall in the middle.
I am on Day 102 of a Bible reading plan, but should be on Day 175 I think. I started strong then stalled. I thought summer days would catch me up and I failed at that, too. My problem is distractedness. I sit down then lose focus. I am a failure.
Now, I celebrate that I have read 102 more days of the Bible than I read last year, but I can do better. I want to do better. I feel better and can handle life better when God’s truth is poured into me. I strive to be more like God.
But believing God is where the joy is at is much different than living it, so I continue to pray and do more. Truthfully, every time God has called me to study His word…he ends up preparing me for a battle where His word has sustained me. I will see if this time is different, but I know I am armed with the truth and that is enough.
I have worked for some good principals, but the one I had 5 years ago was undoubtedly the best. She always put her trust in the teachers that she hired and always saw us as humans first and employees second. When tough conversations were present, she would always say “Is this the hill you want to die on?” Most times, I sheepishly said no then I would turn and just stay silent knowing it was not worth the fight.
But now, I have a situation where I have discovered that I will indeed choose to die on this hill.
The issue is small for most teachers in the education world, but it means everything to this reading teacher. The issue: how we prepare students for reading tests.
Our reading education has come down to test passages and standardized tests and my feelings always have and will be that building lifelong readers comes first. I have done my job if students leave my class loving or tolerating books more than when they walked in. I regularly incorporate reading time in my lesson plans and only read children books so we have something to talk about. My hero is Donalyn Miller and her thoughts give me passion.
But doing this kind of reading means test scores take time to grow. In the beginning, the scores are low because we are not taking test prep passages all day and getting good at tests. We.are.reading! Shocked I have to defend the act of reading to teach reading, but I have literally planned with teachers that have a lesson plan of legit reading passages all.day.long. Well, good for you that your scores are good, but sucks your kids now hate reading.
So spring forth to this week where I have a lengthy conversation with a colleague encouraging me to test prep, do a lengthy list of reading strategies geared for only making them more tired while reading and to read the questions first before reading the passage so we can improve test scores. Forget comprehension or reading for meaning…what was I thinking? We are about passing tests. I sat in shock and explained that some of your strategies will exhaust my advanced readers as they do their magic without all that extra work (aka they read a lot) and my struggling readers may never finish the test. Then while they are thinking about the questions they just read, they are missing the main idea and inferences required to answer the questions and evaluate the author’s craft. But I only have a Masters in Reading, A Master Reading Teacher certificate, 18 years in education with all 18 years getting 80% or above passing STAAR in areas of Texas with high poverty rates so what do I know? (For real, despite my multiple years of reading success-last year over 90% grew from the year before…I am still getting this talk.)
So I sit here and ask myself change my plan to fit their (admin) needs and completely destroy myself as an educator and lover of literacy…maybe the scores will go up or maybe not…or stand firm in my belief that tests will come and go but lifelong readers will not.