The day began like every other day of the summer internship this past summer in Indianapolis, however this would be the most trying day of them all.
That week our classroom was down one co-teacher due to an unexpected of need of chaperones for a trip to Atlanta with the senior high students. This put me in a slightly stressful situation of teaching a class alone by myself with about eight or nine third grade boys for an afternoon while the other two teachers were chaperoning the girls to the pool and driving the bus to the sports activities that were planned for that afternoon.
My problem started around lunch. Up until this point I had never been on my own in a classroom and lets just say that the students had realized that I was the one that they could walk all over. Somehow I manged to get them lined up for lunch, and we made it some what through the meal. However when it came to getting them lined up and remain under control while taking them through the tray return line and getting them to line up to go back to the classroom, let’s just say I couldn’t be in two places at the same time.
This is where God began to work. One of my co workers from another classroom came up and started to help get my boys in line so that I could help get my other kids to return their trays and get the table wiped down before going back to the classroom.
When we got back to the classroom, I made it through the math lesson, but only created more chaos in the process. Then it was time for the craft this is where everything fell apart. My boys had gotten so loud that it alerted one of the office staff who came down and tried to talk some sense into my boys and left the room, again a God send. Things died down a little more until I had crayons and Popsicle sticks flying through the air when another office staff walked in and tried to talk to my boys.
It was getting really close to the time to depart for the sporting activity, but we had to get through writing first. As I handed out the journals and pencils it reached an all time high. I had finally had enough. I simply walked over to the light switch and turned out the lights. My voice suddenly got a whole lot more authoritative. I told them no talking and to have a seat anyone not doing so would have their clips moved to the next level (our form of discipline).
Just moments after doing this my “boss” walked in the room and according to her offered me a high-five for getting the room under control. To me it felt more like a tag your it moment. I was utterly exhausted and had but a few bits of sanity left.
My “boss” talked to my boys and stated that they did not have to go to the fun that was planned for that afternoon, which was in about twenty minutes. After that the kids calmed down and we were able to go to the fun day.
That day I found my voice, my voice of confidence and authority. The rest of the summer, what little was left there was a new Alan in that classroom and my kids noticed. I was less afraid to discipline, I’ll admit it is still a weak point for me, but something I am willing to work on and will serve me well in the future. Knowing that side of me does indeed exist and that I serve a God that will always send the help that I need, even when I don’t know that I need it.
For more information about this ministry and how you can support students and families on the Near East Side of Indianapolis, Indiana check out Shepherd Community Center here.
This is the same internship I mentioned in A Final Good Bye. To read that story go here.
This is also part of the DP weekly writing challenge to see more go here.