Jenny's blog

Whiners, all

Wow. Yesterday was a rough day. I have not been sleeping well, and both Jared and I slept in and were several minutes late for church Sunday morning. I spent a few minutes after Sacrament talking with the other teacher. I had no idea the level of sacrifice he is enduring to teach Seminary. Sometimes with his work schedule like it is, he has traveled out of town, taken a red-eye back into town to arrive around 4:00 AM, driven straight to Seminary and taught, and then taken the train back into the city to go to work. It’s absurd, frankly, but he told me he has committed to teach another year and he will. That dude should be translated.

In addition, he has been trying to meet with our SI rep to get his materials for over a month now since he was out of town when our SI person planned his meetings. No response, nothing. So he turned to our stake people for help, and finally SI called, but at 11pm and then sent an email saying he “tried” to catch our guy but he didn’t answer his phone. Now SI is out of town on vacation, and we are 5 weeks before Seminary and the other teacher doesn’t even have a manual. Thank goodness they’re online. I had picked up materials for him when I was at the last in service meeting, since he was out of town with work again. He does go to in service meetings when he’s here, btw. More diligently than I do :) And he’ll be at the regional training at the end of the month. I don’t know why SI has to be so uncooperative. Our guy holds the manuals and materials like a ransom.

I have been so lucky that Seminary has not been very disruptive to my family life. Expensive yes (that’s another topic), but it has not required heaps of frustration or family disruption like this poor brother. I’m certain God will bless him for his willingness to serve at all costs, but I hope the Lord blesses him with a break soon.

So anyway, immediately after hearing that, I walked out and the counselor over Seminary grabbed me in the hall. The Bishopric discussed Seminary issues that morning, and they have decided that there will be no in-ward transfers of seminary students next year. In other words, those Seminary students who thought they were going to come to my class from the other high schools next year because they can drive will not be. I think it’s the right decision, but I know that some will be unhappy about it. They also told me that Bishop wants to meet with us Seminary teachers on Wednesday, and we will have a parent meeting on Sunday. Thank heaven we’re getting it all out of the way far in advance, unlike last year when everything was so up in the air even after school had started.

Anyway, I had been asked to sub in Relief Society, and so I sat down with my stuff to try to switch gears in my brain. I turned on my Nexus to glance over my lesson quickly …. nothing. Click. Nothing. The battery was teetotally dead, which meant my lesson highlights were gone. I jumped up and ran down to the library to see if they had an extra copy of the manual that I could use to fudge it with. They did — just one! — and I took it back to RS just as they were saying “hey, we don’t have many announcements today.” Great. So no time to pull it together. I was able to quickly bracket the quotes I had chosen using the questions I had written in my lesson notebook just in time.

So, I taught the lesson, which went well considering. The topic was Sharing the Gospel Effectively, so I taught it as 2-pronged: sharing with members and non-members. First I had the class do an exercise that would help them learn to prepare a lesson (teach members) in 20 minutes, and then I shifted gears into a regular RS lesson and hit on some of the main points (teaching nonmembers). I taught them my method of creating a lesson objective : “Students will learn …” and then converting it to a lesson conclusion: “Today we learned …” For me, that makes lesson planning so much easier.

Anyway, when it was over, one of the parents from the other Seminary class stood up and started hitting me up to send her children to my class next year. Oh no. I remained non-committal, because I wanted to avoid sending the parent to the bishopric (which they had asked me to do) where she would get shot down overly firmly. By the end she was telling me her kids were “maybe”, which will hold until next week’s announcement.

So then I got home, and a student who had visited a few times last year from another ward FB messaged me asking to come to my class. Plus there are two other families trying to get kids in my class as well from another ward. Oh man. Now, that ward is in a building that is EXPLODING with Seminary students. Our bishopric’s position is that we are happy to allow outside ward transfers into my class that will help with busing/carpooling and to help with the crushing volume of students in that building.

On top of that, I have a nonmember friend of a student in my class who may be attending but has not committed.

So, I could have anywhere from 11-18 students based on how all this comes down.

It’s just been so stressful for me for some reason. I don’t like this “teacher shopping” thing. I appreciate that we will not be accepting xfers within the ward, but teacher shopping outside the ward seems wrong to me also. I love the kids and their parents, and I am very humbled they would think I am the kind of teacher that they want to send their children to. But I know the other teachers and I know how hard they work. Most of them are working harder than I am in more difficult circumstances, and the Holy Ghost is present in their classrooms, too. It is pretty unlikely that a student would not have a good experience in Seminary with any teacher in this area. Sure, there are exceptions, but those are rare.

I wish we’d go back to grouping the kids by age and high school. I really believe this ward splitting thing into multiple classes just makes things worse. Regardless of which teacher you get, you think the other teacher has the “good” class.

Oh, and then to top it off, some people ganged on and posted a thread on the site’s FB page whining about the site being down. It wasn’t actually down — it was clogged from all the last-minute lesson preppers who get online at 11PM Saturday night expecting good ol’ Jenny Smith to pull them out again. Gawrg. And just after the RS lesson, I got a voice mail message from my daughter, and it played right into a really rude and abusive message from some old dude named George who was trying to order something off the website and couldn’t figure it out. What is it that happens to people after age 50 that makes them think they can be rude and disrespectful and bully those around them? I hope I am not an idiot when I’m old. Dude tried to call me again this morning. Twice. Left a heavy breathing message on the second call. George isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, though. Tried to cover his tracks by using Google Voice, but the idiot didn’t realize that he had already sent me an email message which included the name of his business in the reply to email, from which I was able to glean the names of his grand children, where they do their laundry, learned that he speaks Spanish and likes Pee Wee, his website, his age, the town where he’s living, that his phone number, and his ridiculous YouTube account that he uses to berate and insult others online — I’m sure he thinks anonymously — in about 5 minutes of searching. This from a dude trying to order “Return with Honor” key tags. Good luck with that, buddy.

Normally I just blow that kind of stuff off after a few minutes, but when put on top of everything else, it felt like a lot.

So this morning I went to the gym. Worked out an hour on the elliptical and then went for a drive, still trying to think of a solution to the teacher shopping problem. Nothing. It occurred to me that maybe it’s not my job to look for a solution, but I am still trying to find a way to address it so that people don’t feel so put upon. Some members of our Bishopric are less than tactful.

I just want to teach Seminary and not worry about all this other stuff!

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.