As a teacher by calling, I tend to look for those "teachable moments" that are, by definition, not written in the lesson plan books. One such instance occurred last week.
[A little background information for those who may need it: I teach fourth grade Reading Intervention. This means I pull small groups of struggling readers for 35 minute classes. I see eight groups of students a day.]
Our story last week was about a teacher who set up a sort of scavenger hunt for her students. After they had discovered all the clues, they found her in the gym, where she had set up a "Career Day". The last words in the story were her words of advice. "Always do your best and hand in your best work. Keep trying and don't give up, and you can get any job you want."
I took that opportunity to share my own experience with perseverance. I was able to share with my students that I had decided to write a novel; that after I had finished it I thought it was really good and wanted it to be published; that I sent the book off to publishers (didn't go into the whole "literary agent" explanation), and how the first several to respond back said, "no thanks." I shared with them how those rejections hurt my feelings, but I didn't give up.
Then I showed them the cover of the novel (which is my screen saver) over the projector screen. The amazement on their faces was heartwarming. My prayer is that the next time they try out for the team, or read a hard book, or have trouble with their homework, they will remember...hard work and perseverance DO pay off!
Wouldn't it be awesome if my experience with writing a book and getting it published made a positive impact in the life of an underprivileged, academically struggling child?! Who knows what plans God has for us! My prayer is that he use me as he will.