Monday, September 22, 2008

Currently loving: Jim Brickman

Stumbling upon internet radio stations, this chap's a corker if you're into Ludovico Einaudi or country music (not quite my thing, but his piano's stuff's fab):

Iceberg radio
--> Textures
--> Jim Brickman

And best of all, it's free!



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Updates from the 'ding & 'wow, is that the time?!'

3 weeks in and I find myself still in one piece, the kids all in 1 piece (respectively) and all my crockery and smashable items at home all in one piece. I am pretty tired, but I'm finding that work-life balance is getting there gradually. Marking (usually) happens at school and everything else happens at home! (sometimes, including marking)

Part of me is very much looking forward to half term when my re-take of the 7 week summer block for my PGCE will be completed and I'll have (God-willing) passed with the necessary pallet of flying colour. But then again, another part of me's saying not to rush this 7 week period away. Even thinking about this part of me now makes me realise how strange a thought this is; as when this 7 week period's up, it will mean I can reclaim my evenings and weekends, not to mention give me more time to catch up with people and be able to go to my homegroup at church.

But the other part pipes back up again, reminding me that this 7 week period is reminding me of facts that are fundamental to me during my teaching - both now, and facts that will hold right on through. These 3 weeks have been great fun, but they have been physically shattering going to bed (mum, look away) around 12-1am'ish, and getting up at 6am each day, working 6/7 evenings to keep on top of work & having to lay down commitments I'd love to be a part of. I ought to be 'Tim, living corpse on show', but I continue to be left in wonder at how God's keeping me going - my PGCE reminded me that sometimes all you can do is run on grace when even the fumes in your fuel tank have run out.

This crazy and wonderful reality keeps hitting me freshly each day and I can't get the smile it causes off my face. Once verse that's just struck me is

'Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.'
Psalm 55v22

I'm dog tired, but find that he's keeping me going sufficiently each day. My workload with marking, planning and PGCE paperwork ought to get me down (and at times it can do because of what I miss), but the simple, and amazingly profound fact that God keeps sustaining me in my body and by his Holy Spirit leaves me in awe. Why would God choose to keep a muggins like me going when there must be a hundred more able teachers out there? I love how I can't understand his love, how it's a pool of infinite depth - growing more dense and incomprehensible the further down you go!

I really hope this continues as this year goes on - I want to be walking more closely with God so I can understand his will for me better, I want to be realising and acknowledging each day how weak I am in myself so his strength can sustain me althermore amazingly - I want to know more of this amazing God who calls me Son and invites me to call him Father!

I would also like less paperwork; but as with his work in me, one day at a time :)



weird is just your own personal brand of normal

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Episode II: Return of the teacher

Well, the summer holidays have gone very quickly yet again but I have been able to enjoy wonderful times. Here are the highlights:

  • Going on holiday for a week to the channel island of Alderney, lots of cycling, french fort sight-seeing, good food and scrabble playing in the evenings.
  • Spending a week at the 'Young adults prayer and bible conference', receiving great teaching, praying in intercession for national issues, enjoying good fellowship and fun times in between the sessions playing 'Pit!'
  • Enjoying a week with my lovely Catty at my house, going for walks, visiting my gran and studying the books of Colossians together as she gets prepared for Relay this year.
  • 28 hours of coach journeys to get to Scotland and back (intense joy...) to spend a week working at Abernethy (the christian outdoor centre that I did my gap year at) cooking and cleaning while enjoying the wonderful atmosphere of working with a large group of people who love Jesus.
So, since being back in England I've now packed up, moved to Reading and am setting up house in west Reading in Tilehurst. I've taught my first 2 days at my new school which was a very daunting experience and I think I was more nervous than the 27 kids, but had a great 2 days beginning to get to know them and working out which groups they're going to be in etc.

The big task of teaching my class their first week of academia is now upon me and I have to say that I'm nervous in many ways, but I was wonderfully encouraged in my bible meditation today from Romans 12v9-14, which gives a list of attributes that Paul exhorts us as christians to be a number of things, including:
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • Honor one another above yourselves
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse
This list of attributes reminds me in some ways of the expectations that are on me as a teacher, there are things which I need to do in order to fulfil my job - teach, mark and assess, and oversee the children's academic, personal and emotional development.

What struck me in reading that list of attributes Paul encourages us to have, was that all of these things are important, as are my teaching responsibilities in my job, but in both cases, they seem overwhelming when I think of what it involves for me! But the wonderful fact of it all is that Paul's previously been reminding the readers of his letter that they are to keep Christ central in their lives - and the product of meditating on Christ's death for us on the cross is that we receive His joy! And from this joy, Paul's readers will want to do these things he mentions - not out of personal reasons but out of that joy He puts in us. These things become a natural reaction to what He's done for us.

Returning our thoughts to our lives then, we must remember to keep the gospel of Christ central, our first thoughts in all things; and then serving God in everything else we want to do will come out of that.

I have to say that I'm amazingly excited but very nervous about this first term. I hope and pray that this will draw me closer to God and help me to realise that I can't do this job (aka. serving him) without his hand on me, guiding me each step of the way). Please keep that in your prayers, and now, let's go for it.



weird is just your own personal brand of normal