Hanging In There

Class begins with a few students sharing their frustration about not knowing what to do and when in ENG 098. It is Week Four and they are still limping along, shrink-wrapped in learned helplessness. Only a few are absent or arrive late. The majority are there early. They enter the room with me five minutes ahead of the hour and begin to avow or disavow whatever understanding they have forged to date. I ask for victory and praise reports. One student stands and says how until last night she had struggled with one or another aspect of getting the assignments done. Her talk creates an opportunity for me to illustrate from my own life what a glass half-full perspective looks like.

From there we take questions and allow several students to attempt to login to access the electronic text. This creates a palpable sense of relief so I make efforts to move us along to freewriting and discussion. The topic is Time. What’s it to you, how do you use it. What does it mean? Rich discussion follows our five minutes of writing and the student who volunteered earlier to give her praise report appreciates the Discussant for her choice of topic. By the end of the period there is a good buzz among the groups and half the class seems to linger behind huddled in their various teams.

When I get to my office, I call the absentees and create teams, intending to create Discussion boards for each after I print and get signed the revised Migrant Literature Course Proposal forms for Curriculum Committee. On the way to pick up and deliver the printed pages and get a bite to eat, a student from the morning’s class who told us she’d be meeting with Retention Services and Student Success later in the day asked if I’d have time to meet with her. I asked her if she could wait 15 minutes and we agreed to meet up at my office.

Though I did most of the talking, she was able to share more of her journey, struggles and current situation and agree to “trust God in the process” as she stays with the class. Her remarks create opportunities for me to touch upon resistance, perseverance and the ultimate tipping point each student comes to if they approach the freewriting exercises with gusto.

Bible Study later this evening confirms it. We must trust God for His promises of the impossible. Pastor had us read from Exodus 6:2, Genesis 2, 18:12, Romans 2, Philippians and Colossians 2:9. I am committing to memory the verse from II Timothy 2:19 as I celebrate God’s transformation-in-progress in our lives. I was doubly grateful that Pastor seemed to give me time to cry on his shoulder after Altar Call even though he remained in the pulpit and I was seated in the fifth to last row from the back. I am encouraged by his reminder:

I am not chasing a blessing. A blessing’s chasing me. I belong to God. He wants to and will provide for, protect and prosper me.

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