Caution: Student Teacher

No, I didn’t intend to blow out the electricity for that entire wing of Santa Barbara High School. I was only doing a little demonstration for my physical science class. It just somehow . . . went wrong.

Young Girl at the Blackboard

For a brief moment I had risen above student teacher status to become Mrs. Electricity, Queen of Circuitry. Carefully balancing the mounted array of light bulbs and connectors on the lab counter, I explained, “You see, students, when the wires connect the bulbs in a sequence, this way, you have a series circuit. But when I rearrange the wires into a ladder pattern, like so–”

A flash of light, and everything went dark.

I mean, everything.

How could I have done it wrong? I had watched my master teacher demonstrate his apparatus: every step careful, precise, perfect. Shoot, he could make that thing work with his eyes closed. He had built it, after all.

I understood the principles; I knew what to do. But I lacked my master teacher’s wisdom and finesse. Now out in the darkened hallway, puzzled teachers’ heads leaned out dozens of doors. I leaned my head out, too, hoping I’d look as innocent as they did, in the dark.

Lots to Learn

Only later, as a full-fledged teacher, did I realize that a credential does not an expert make. There is always more to learn, more to understand, more to discover. Yet, with my imperfect knowledge, I had to go on teaching. Every day I had to stand up in front of a class and declare what I knew at that point as if it was enough.

Now I find myself blogging about living by faith. I tell you the stories that have made me look hard at whether I take Jesus seriously, whether I act like I really believe Him. And I hope they do the same for you. But sometimes I wonder if it’s really my place to do this.

I recently confided to my friend Sara Madsen that I hesitate to write about things I have not yet mastered myself.

With her characteristic insight, she replied (and I paraphrase), “If you wait until you’ve got it all together, you’ll never write at all.”

She’s right. I don’t have the luxury of waiting.

Jesus actually said so. He declared his followers to be student teachers when He told them, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Did you catch that? He said, “You are the light.” Not you will be the light. Not learn and then become the light. “You are the light.”

He knew we would follow Him imperfectly. He knew we lack His wisdom and finesse.

We are still the light.


Still a Student, Teaching

So now you know. This blog is written by a student teacher. I’m asking my own questions aloud. Questions like: Why follow Christ? What should following Christ look like? How can we get there? I’m a student, teaching, sharing what I know at this point.

And you know what? It is enough. Enough to open a discussion. Enough to raise questions so we can look for answers together. Enough to hammer those answers against changing circumstances and hold them up to the light of immutable truth to see if we’ve got it right.

I hope you’ll keep coming back here. Most of all, I hope you will share what you’ve been learning, one student teacher to another.

In Case You’re Wondering

I did have one more electrical mishap at school. But only the janitor and I know about that.

You’ve read that I struggle with worry. You’ve read that I long to be like those who fearlessly love their neighbors in dangerous places.
What aspects of living by faith–acting on what you say you believe–do you find hardest?
In what areas have your actions begun to align with your faith?


2 thoughts on “Caution: Student Teacher

  1. Loved this! All so true about not waiting till we have it all together! I don’t want to Left Behind out of the Mission’s Field.
    Finally learning, even though I COULDN’T go to the Field, all those years ago, as a Baby Christian, feeling that call, but my sweet husband DID NOT feel called, so I gave up, until a few years ago, only to realize, there IS A FIELD right here, and God has provided a way for me to Serve now.
    Thanks for the entertaining and wise message!
    Blessings! Happy Thanksgiving too!


  2. Pingback: The Mysterious Case of the King’s Missing Body | Stories that Must be Told

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