Alignment

One of the big projects I must complete as part of my Education Degree is called the TPA – the Teacher Performance Assessment.  It’s something that the State is implementing in order for teachers obtain certification…although because it’s still a “pilot” program, it won’t be required for my certification just yet.  But anyways, it’s a big enough deal that we actually must attend a weekly workshop dedicated to teaching us what is necessary to be in this big paper.  There are lesson plans, accommodations, rationale, and TONS of self assessment and reflection.

One of the big things they stress to us is the concept of alignment.  Our “Long Term Learning Goals” must align with our “Learning Target” for the lesson, which must align with our “Teacher Tasks” which must align with our “Lesson Closure” and on and on.  The rationale behind this is that aligning these elements will ensure that each lesson will build upon the previous one, reaching towards the Ultimate Goal.  Beginning with the foundation, each lesson will build up from there.  While each lesson is different, there is always a reference back to the foundation, then to the first floor, then the second, and so on.  Each element is necessary in order for the unit to stand.

Back in June, I wrote about my desire to someday work with Eating Disorder patients, and how a job possibility was now on my radar.  This job would entail tutoring at an in-patient eating disorder clinic, and finding ways to incorporate music therapy.  Basically, my dream job.  I don’t have an update on the specific job, however, I do have an interesting observation on my “calling” to work in the field of Eating Disorders.

Of course, a lot of people in my life are aware of my history with ED.  They also know that I care about people who may be dealing with similar things.  And now, some of them view me as a resource.

In the course of 1 week (ONE WEEK), two people have come to me looking for some type of guidance in helping someone in their life realize they need help regarding an eating disorder.  Either of these folks could have gone to other people, or even Google for the answers they sought, but they chose me.  It’s humbling, to say the least.

And then to top it all off…last night I had a dream that a friend pointed out a person who needed help in realizing that they had an Eating Disorder.  In my dream, I remember speaking to that person about getting help, and feeling very passionate and concerned, even though it was just a dream.

So what does all of this have to do with alignment?  Go back to the lesson plan.  I wrote that the Long Term Learning Goals must align with the Learning Target for the day – that each Learning Target is the foundation, then the first floor, and so on.  Perhaps for me, the Long Term Learning Goal is to work with Eating Disorder Patients, and the Learning Target for today is to be a resource to my friends who want to reach out to others too.  This is a foundational piece.  An exciting piece.

And I believe that’s it is all a part of God’s plan.

God is faithful.  He begins something in all of us – and will be faithful to complete it.  What is your “Long Term Learning Goal”?  How is your “Learning Target” building on the foundation upon which God is building in you?  I’d love to hear about it!
Blessings,

Beth

P.S. Just a little reminder – don’t forget to “Like” me on Facebook 🙂

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Long Distance

Hello friends!
Things are hoppin’ here at school – and I expect posts to be quite sporadic for the next couple of months.  But when inspiration strikes…there’s no ignoring it!  It’s funny where that inspiration comes from sometimes, though.

I adore metaphors.  I really believe that I actually comprehend a concept much better when I can translate it into a metaphor – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Just like inspiration, sometimes it’s pretty interesting what causes a metaphor to construct itself in my mind.

So today.  Boyfriend and are I texting, and I ask him if he’s been to the store yet to get some meds for his icky cold.  I’ve given him a couple of ideas of things he could pick up to hopefully ease the symptoms and get him back to feeling better soon.  But the thing is, he’s been working overtime for the last couple of weeks, and when he gets off work, he just wants to go home.  I don’t blame him one bit!

But part of me gets frustrated.  I’ve told him what I think will help him feel better, and all he has to do is go to the store.  He knows these things would probably help him, but he’s just exhausted…the couch is is friend right now.  I would go get medicine for him, except for that whole distance thing…Seattle and Northwest Montana aren’t exactly close.

I mulled this around in my mind for a bit, feeling almost helpless, wondering if I should ask my mom to intervene (*Super mom*!) or what.

And please note: This is not a “boyfriend rant”.  It’s part of the metaphor – just keep reading!

And then the metaphor (thus inspiration) struck.

At the times when I’ve struggled the most with this Eating Disorder (ED), boyfriend (and family, friends, and so forth) has been far away, watching and listening to my battles, giving me ideas, tips, advice, guidance etc.  When someone deals with ED, it’s like working overtime, and they just get tired…and don’t always want to do things to help them become healthier, even though they know it’s for the best.  They just get tired.  Trust me, I know this.

With all of this in mind, I think I finally understand what my loved ones back home have felt for the past couple years that I’ve been dealing with ED.  Just like my supports back home, I felt somewhat helpless and frustrated that I could only offer words and prayers, no “tangible” actions.

And to take this one step further…

God gave us the perfect medicine for all of the struggles we face in life.  No, accepting Him doesn’t remove our struggles, but it does allow us to spend eternity with him – and having a relationship with him is probably the greatest comfort through anything we face.

But here’s the thing.  He watches us, knowing exactly what we need, giving us all the tools to get it, but we have to actually do something about it – accept what He has to give.  We work hard, we get stressed, we get tired, and sometimes, we know that we just need to go and get – or accept – the remedy He freely offers.  We just have to do it.  That’s it.

And after we accept Him, He continues to be our remedy if we only let Him.  How awesome is that?!

You know that stress I talked about in my last post?  I need to accept God’s continuous remedy daily.  The stress probably won’t vanish, and I’ll still have to work, but that work won’t be under my own strength (Philippians 4:13)  It’s like honey to the sore throat 🙂
God is the remedy – the healer – if we’d just let him.

If you have any questions about what I’ve written here, just drop me a note 🙂
Have a blessed week!

Beth

He Kicks you When You’re Down

Student teaching will not be a walk in the park.  I’ll just get that out there right now.  Between the two big papers required by the School of Ed here at Northwest, the classes I have to take for the next 5 weeks and prepping for teaching, there is a LOT of work to do.  And it’s not just busy work…it requires actual thought, intentionality, focus.  Oh, and time.  Lots of time is required of me.

After just 4 days of class at Northwest and 3 days of classroom set up and meetings at my “cooperating school” (with no students), I was ready to throw the towel in.  We had been inundated with emails telling us that this was due here and that was due then.  I was overwhelmed.  Over.Whelmed.

I felt about like this girl:

Walking home from class that afternoon, all I could hear was “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.  There is NO way I could do this.  What on earth ever made me think I could do this?”

My next thought: “But God is with me and will give me the strength that I certainly don’t have.  And everyone else thinks I can do it – and they’re praying for me.”

Then negativity rushed in, saying “Obviously, you’re faking it.  They only THINK you can do it.  You’ve got them all fooled.  Sheesh.”

I felt like I’d fallen on my face and then got kicked.

And then it dawned on me.  This voice of doubt, defeat and despair came straight from the Enemy.  So I prayed.  And thought.

I wanted to quit.  The temptation was so sweet – going home?  Being done with this crazy workload?  What could be better?  But when I thought about going home – really thought about leaving all the work I’d done here behind, I couldn’t stomach it.  Four years…wasted.  A large sum of money…wasted.  There was no peace like a river in my soul.

Then, I thought about what I had to loose (besides time and money) by not completing my degree.  Sure, pride is involved, but you know what got me at the heart?  The job I hope to get eventually.  If I don’t get this degree, I don’t have a chance at getting a job tutoring eating disorder patients while they’re in treatment.  I’m not saying that God is limited in the beauty He can create from my dust, but still…without the degree, I wouldn’t be able to get the job.

So I rolled up my sleeves.  Talked to God.  Called my mom.  Called my boyfriend.  And took a deep breath.  And until December 7th when I walk to the front of the chapel as my name is called to recognize my accomplishments at Northwest, I’ll continue rolling up my sleeves, talking to God, calling my mom, calling my boyfriend and taking deep breaths.

That will be my armor to keep Satan from kicking me when I’m down.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:11-12

Blessings,

Beth