I saw it on a blog this week and realized that’s exactly what I am.
Do you know it? Have you been there?
I’ve been hamstrung this semester, and I can’t seem to get out of it. I’ll peek just over the cliff, ready to jump, be free, and then I retreat back to the safety of what I know.
Last semester I felt like I was flying. I was exactly where God wanted me to be, and I knew it. I’m still where God wants me to be, but I’m not sure I’m holding on to it like I should.
Why this fear? Why this doubt?
I know. Stupid, right? How could I let a bunch of college freshmen diminish my confidence and my calling?
It wasn’t even a bunch. It was, like, two.
I got my evaluations from last semester via an Excel spreadsheet the week before classes were to begin this semester. Stupidly, I opened them. That was my first mistake. Then I read them. Might have been my second mistake. And then I took them to heart. My third and biggest mistake.
Most of my evaluations were great. I think my students see me as a kind person who really cares about their wellbeing and success. Most of my students gave me “average” to “above average” marks.
But the one or two that were “below average” are the ones that stick with me. And the comments. Whew! As a “words of affirmation” person, the positive comments mean the world, but the negative comments cut straight through.
“The best thing about this class?” “It’s DONE!”
“How would you describe this class?” “Boring.”
Excuse me while I go bleed.
And now I feel hamstrung because I really can’t get rid of the negativity. I walk into class every day and think, “Who’s the one who’s going to think I’m boring this semester?”
Seriously! I’m a head case!
When I read the evaluations over break, my sweet daughter was still home from college and she gave me this advice: “Mom, delete them from your computer and don’t read them again.”
Someone else observed that the male teachers probably don’t even read the evaluations at all, but the female teachers take them much too seriously. That may be true, I have no idea, but all I know is that my heart has been broken.
I know I need to move on. I need to heal this wound. I know I need to focus on the students God has given me this semester because I know there are needs there, just waiting to be revealed, and students who need me to care about them. And I do. Very much.
I need to remember that I’m a good teacher. I know I am. Is every class a hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark class? Um, no. Some days I’m tired. Some days the material just IS boring, but we have to get through it. Some days I have no idea how to present, so I just do the best I can. But for the most part, I know my subject, and I think I do a pretty good job.
What I really need to remember most of all is that I am exactly where God has placed me for right now. And I need to move forward, jumping over that cliff, with confidence. Because without it, I’m going to be pretty ineffective this semester.
I’m guessing that hamstrung people are just that—ineffective.
So today I’m going to do something I haven’t done yet: I’m going to delete those evaluations from my computer. I’m going to pray over them and let them go. And I’m going to ask God to give me the confidence to go into the classroom doing my best work, loving my students, and fulfilling the call He has given to me.
Why is this so hard?
Q4U: What diminishes your confidence in the call God has given you? What stands in your way of doing your best work today?