Confessions of an ISS Teacher

Many of you have heard that I recently got a PE position at Manor Hill Elementary in Liberty and am super stoked to get started this Wednesday!

PE

Many of you also know that for the last two years I was the In-School-Suspension (ISS) Instructor at Liberty High School, where I figured I’d sit in a room all day and have to discipline “problem children” all year until a PE job opened up.  Well as it turned out, my position as the ISS Instructor became much more than what I expected, and I learned lessons from it that I didn’t anticipate.  As I reflect upon all I experienced, I can’t help but be thankful for God’s sovereign hand in allowing me the privilege of working with the kids I got to work with and learn a few of the following truths about life…

 

1)   Deep Down ALL People Are Good

You know the old saying, “If kids can’t be good at being good, they’ll be good at being bad”?  Well, many of the kids I got to work with in ISS came in believing the lie that they were “bad” and weren’t capable of being “good,” and it broke my heart.

Many times, I think even we as Christian can believe that all people are inherently BAD, which is not true.  Sure, we’re all sinners, we’ve all messed up, and we all have a tendency to be selfish, but too many of us I think mistaken our “brokenness” for “evilness.”  Scripture, on the other hand, tells us that ALL people were created in GOD’S HOLY AND PERFECT IMAGE (Genesis 1:27).  Therefore, deep down ALL of us were created good, but because of sin, ALL of us have become broken.

Many of the kids I worked with in ISS didn’t believe they were good–they believed they were bad.  And that is a feeling NONE OF US should have to experience.

Believe that you were created GOOD, understand that you mess up DAILY, and know that God LOVES and REDEEMS you despite what bad things you may have done in your life!

 

2)  Sin is Serious

Growing up, I was extremely sheltered from all the bad things of this world because I had such a strong family that kept me from experiencing them.

In ISS, many of the kids I worked with didn’t have that privilege.  These kids often grew up in an environment of chaos and brokenness.  I was disheartened to hear some of their stories–rather it be living with a family heavily burdened with drugs, living in a home with violence and abuse, or living all by themselves with nobody to tell them how wonderful they are or how much they were loved–these stories I heard really gave me perspective on how sin can tear us apart if we allow it to.

I think our society has a tendency to take sin too lightly nowadays.  Even I, before I got this ISS job, didn’t fully appreciate the dangers and destructive powers sin can have.  My experience in ISS showed me the terrible price our sin can demand and gave me a greater appreciation to why God hates sin so much and longs to bring us out of it!

 

3)  Love NO MATTER WHAT

Many of the kids I worked with in ISS didn’t trust adults because the adults in their lives had let them down for whatever reason.  Therefore, a lot of the kids I worked with came in to my room not trusting me and believing that I was against them.  As a result, my first priority with the kids was to always let them know that I was on THEIR SIDE and wanted what was BEST FOR THEM–even if they didn’t feel like it when I enforced my expectations.

There’s people in all our lives who may seem like they don’t deserve our love (or maybe even deserve our ill-favor), but I want to challenge all of us to LOVE THEM ANYWAY–just like Christ loves us despite our inability to earn it!  We never know what people may be going through or what kind of demons they may be dealing with, and the last thing they need is another person telling them how “bad” they are.

Instead, we need to lift them up the way Christ has lifted us up.  For He loves them just as much as He loves us, and even though we may not be able to “save them” from their situation, we can certainly direct them to the One who can.

Who knows?  Maybe God put them in our life for a reason and we’re the only one who can really hear them…

“Always remember that under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be loved and appreciated.”

-BH

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