Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to be an Amoeba Teacher

Crawling slowly forth, spotting a way out, making a predictable move, squeezing and forming itself grotesquely at random; moving in one single mind and force.  What is this insanity?  Become one to defeat one.  Who can master this intensely strategic and boring object?  The amoeba-minded can catch the amoeba-bodied.
You say what?! 
Yes, an Amoeba Teacher.  That's what I'm working on: How to be an amoeba teacher.  Just to go over an amoeba... it's one of the simplest organisms, and basically is consumed with moving in odd shapes, catching its microscopic prey in its gooey clutches of its capture.
Is this how I want to teach?  Actually, not really.  Please read on...

I co-teach a Good News Club at an elementary school in my home-town.  Also called an After-school Bible Club.  (GNC and ABC; Bible clubs through CEF ministries.  www.cefonline.com).
 My teaching partner and I have a unique group of children there.
I know what you may be thinking, but I've never really thought of what bacteria fit them most, nor really what word described them.  After all, they are a diverse group of stark individuals... believe me!  But after an "interesting" day of transferring between rooms half-way through class; answering bizarre questions (you can only imagine); and taking multiple sick children to parents homes, Kid's-Stop, and Basketball practice, my teaching partner and I sit breathless in her car after we've packed up our flannel-board and teaching materials. 

"Wow!" She ventured.
"Yup." I said

 We prayed on the way to my house, where she drops me off after our weekly teaching excursions, and thought a lot about how things were going, how they had gone, how they could go, and what to do; what we had done, what we did do, what we could do, and then what would be the best.

My friend's conclusion?
"Our class is like an amoeba.  It's just like trying to teach an amoeba."

In some respects she is very right, and, may I add, observant and creative. 

For example:

"Get on board, Noah.  Forget the other amoeba."

We are singing the "trinity song", and before-hand have reminded the kids that singing loudly and clearly counts as "points".  When one child perceives that another is not completely obeying me because they are not singing as loudly and clearly as they perceive right, the little hand comes up.
You can guess that some of the group will side with soft-singing Sally, and some with righteous Randy.  Along with the stragglers who just want to get to the exciting story.  Sides and a middle form with tendons left and right.   When outside force steps in (aka: teacher, also known as "me"), the group rises as one in one respect that they don't want to sing the second verse.  Things are moving now. 

And again - Example II:
 
 We are sitting on the floor learning the Bible verse.  One youngster sees the large teachers swivel chair, and gravitates towards it.  The others, throwing aside their differences and all in like mind, gravitate toward it too.
You can imagine how "organized" games are!

Our 2 hours with these kids is a corral game.  Keep the horses inside the fence!  That takes some stretching.
So in that respect, being an amoeba would be very handy. 
Have I mentioned that the kids like to play that game with us too?  Oh yes!  We create our bubble, they pop it!  They get in our face, they grab on our legs when we walk; and yes, we get interrupted.  Teaching isn't a relaxing sport.  So I'm glad we are doing it for God, and not our own benefit, because we wouldn't keep it up if not.  I seriously love teaching!  And I don't credit that to myself.

Benefits of being the amoeba teacher:
  • Multi-tasking!  Ever see an amoeba split in half and take on a whole new life?  Not unless you are a scientist, or are just really up on YouTube, but that is actually common for the amoeba, although the amoeba doesn't have many tasks to do. 
  • Flexible!  Go watch an amoeba - its pretty boring actually.  Theya are versatile mass of... gel.  They can be pushed and pulled and squished.  They deal coolly with anything that comes their way.
  • Non-threatening!  You don't exactly want to scare the children you are wanting to tell about Christ (some of those Bible stories are "R" rated!).  And I would have to say that the amoeba isn't exactly created in the spittin' image of a fire-breathing dragon or a jagged-toothed croc, would you?
  • Mold-able!  As a teacher, while you are in charge of your pupils, you also want to be sensitive to them; to be attentive to them, and ready to help, encourage, and correct them whenever necessary.  But most of all, and far above anything done on this little earth, I want to be mold-able to the Holy Spirit.  I don't want to stretch to avoid Him, but embrace Him and let Him shape me into what He sees best.
You see, it really isn't all that bad!  And I got to place cheesy exclamation points by all of the amoeba teacher qualities. 
Everything that God has made He has made to teach us.  And everything hard that He tells us to do, always makes for the best ending!

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