I trust everyone. It's the devil inside them that I don't trust. ~ The Italian JobReflection
I was reminded of this quote on Wednesday, at a Bible study I used to attend and which I revisited. One of the women attending recalled this Oswald Chambers quote: "Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others". In the Gospels, it looks like Christ trusts people: Again and again, He forgives them and releases them to the world, to their family and friends, to keep living life as the broken and sinful people that they were and still in part are. He trusts them to "be good" after meeting Him. But this is only partly true: Yes, the people who meet Christ will "be good", but they are not good because of some inherent will to change generated from their meeting with Christ. They are good because it is Christ who works in them, "both to will and to do". Christ knows this, and it is His good work that He trusts, not our imperfect righteousness.
Essentially, this is the (ideal) attitude of the Christian educator (whether they are working at a state university or in a Christian school). An effective Christian teacher tries to give students grace in the middle of academic and personal struggles, whether that grace takes the form of make-up work or extended deadlines or even forgiveness for academic errors that the student has made. In the past, I always imagined this as me giving my students an opportunity to organize her life and meet her responsibilities: in other words, the opportunity to grow up. But hopefully, my students will do more than just "grow up"; hopefully, they will grow in Christ as well and let Him work in them.
This is not to say, of course, that rules cannot be enforced. I do not, for instance, accept papers submitted willy-nilly at the end of the semester without explicit permission. But I do work with students who acknowledge that they're having trouble getting a paper ready to submit, and I will continue to work with them, because I expect them to grow in Christ and experience more of His grace in every trial, including the academic ones.
It's been a busy week here in the Czech Republic. On Monday, I toodled in to school and said my hellos to people. I got a lot of double-takes from people who didn't know that I was coming. On Tuesday, I headed in again and got put to work reviewing material for the school board manual. On Wednesday, I started reorganizing the student files, and after that, on Thursday, I brought my iPod into work for more files.
The student files are stuffed full of, in some cases, seven years worth of records; the records include everything from excused illnesses to standardized test scores. It's a big job and will likely take several more days for me to complete the student files. But the fact that the files need reorganizing is in itself good news: CISP is reorganizing the files in preparation for beginning the process of ACSI accreditation. The school has been waiting to begin ACSI accreditation for years, and in fact, they've even started down that road a few times before running into new roadblocks. Hopefully, some of these roadblocks have been cleared away, and the school can begin the process in earnest this time.
So, tomorrow morning, I'm back to "doing my bit" and organizing some more files. I'll turn up my Avatar soundtrack and wade right in.
Next week, I'm off to Hradec Kralove for some short conversational English lessons. Please pray for smooth travel and lodging (I believe, but am not sure, that I will be staying with local believers), as well as good connections to the other people in the town.