From the Past: 26 August 2014

In fall 2014 I began adjuncting after teaching high school for 17 years. I desperately needed a break. This series will examine my ramblings while I had my students write for a particular amount of time during the first year I taught composition. These will be curated.

* * * * *

Teaching at [second of three schools I adjuncted at] has not been what I expected. It’s only my second day, but everyone has been really nice. Nice isn’t exactly a word I want to use to describe someone since it’s such a vague word. It’s a word that has almost no meaning. But that’s exactly how the staff here has acted towards me: nice and helpful. The poor human resources director almost panicked when she couldn’t find my identification badge. I probably should have stopped by Friday to pick up the badge, but I didn’t want to make the extra trip. It isn’t as if it’s that far, and I could have taken the bus, which I did. It was, after all on my way from [third college I adjuncted at] to [first college I adjuncted at]. But, well, I just didn’t want to.

And then there’s the whole internet thing. Not internet thing. The email thing. Why can’t they send me directions that actually work. I prefer being a paperless English teacher. That’s ironic, right? English classrooms often use so much paper, and here I am trying to do everything through email and portals. It is working really well at [first college], except the wireless connection isn’t always consistent, but here? Here I can’t even get information from the administration because they can’t send it to me. Thank goodness for Dr. L-. She’s been working really hard, even responding to my emails at 9 p.m., and it’s created extra work for her as she’s had to come to the school and get copies of my class rosters for me. ERGH! As well as a few curse words.

I’m not sure what to say about the students, especially since some of them are reading this while I type. They seem to have, as a whole, a decent sense of humor. I have no idea how this Composition 1 class will react to the same description essay I have for them. That is the best part of this week: the HellBear essay. But I want them to learn how to write and to think while they write. I have learned that as [a college strongly affiliated with the church], [second college]’s faculty and students really believe in the Holy Spirit and His presence among us. That’s quite different from my Southern Baptist background. I told my Composition 2 class that while I think it’s really cool that their professors pray before and during class, I don’t know that I’m there yet. My beliefs are not really the same as mainstream Christianity’s. I believe in the basics: God created us; Adam and Eve disobeyed God; and sin entered the world; Jesus was the promise to rectify that separation from God; and in order to spend eternity with God in what is called “heaven” a person must accept that Jesus is God’s son who died and was resurrected and was both fully human and fully divine.

But the other stuff. . .

I don’t know. Like Gungor got into a whole bunch of trouble for expressing doubt regarding the literal Bible. One of the students I was talking to at [first college] said that was heresy. Is it? Is it heresy to doubt the literality of the Bible? There are errors that occur in translation, like where it says that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on two donkeys at the same time. Seriously? That can’t be taken literally.

From a teaching perspective, Genesis could be read as a mythology of types. All societies have origin stories and flood stories. Why is that?

And why is questioning Christianity such a huge no-no? How else do we learn but by having to face tough questions. It isn’t enough for me to simply go along with the flow. Why do I believe what I believe? Do I really believe what I believe or do my daily actions speak to a different belief?

For example, the Bible says to tithe ten percent. I know many Christians who do not tithe at all. Does that mean that they don’t really believe that we should do it? I tithe, but it’s also habit that was instilled in me when I was a child. Is it habit or belief then?

And I believe in helping others socially, but when [church I attend] has Second Saturday, a half day of working to serve the community, I don’t participate. I have all sorts of excuses from my love language is not acts of service to wanting to spend time with my husband to simply not wanting to. But I do believe that as a community of Christians we need to be IN the world showing nonbelievers what being a Christian is like. And then there’s the whole I’m-a-teacher-called-to-be-a-teacher-working-in-the-secular-world thing. If that isn’t service, then I don’t know what is.

I do know that one of my Comp 2 students, when I responded to her first [750 word assignment], emailed me back and said she’d pray for me, since I told her a bit about my journey in leaving a full time position to three part time jobs at three different colleges.

That was so encouraging. I don’t know what else to say. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the idea that my students will pray for me. Like the boy who would write me notes during class back when I taught high school to help me remember God and to keep focused on what I was doing for Him. I’m going to tear up, so I’ll stop now.

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