Integration of LDS values
Use of media and technology
Promotion of critical thinking
the traditional emphases of stewardship review listed on the left, I have
made a concerted focus to incorporate the directions given by
President Bednar and Brother Checketts at our recent faculty meetings.
I am striving to use the language of the gospel in my teaching; I am
striving to make the discernment of spirits a part of my daily
interactions with my students and colleagues. I am making a renewed
effort to give my students more personalized time and contact with me; I
have tried to show an increase in charity.
I am striving to use the language of the gospel in my teaching: I see tremendous synthesis occurring when students understand that doctrines, truths, and principles are universal, finding place under many aliases in all areas of life. We are so familiar and so traditional with many spiritual and secular names that we forget to look for the connection between spiritual and secular vocabulary. In English 106, I have made a focus of showing the students that the writing term is only a gospel truth or principle packaged a bit differently. On the day I presented "audience" to the class, we discussed the fact that it is the principle of the golden rule or second great commandment. Treat your reader like you want to be treated: include details and examples that give all of the information necessary for clear understanding.
In addition to turning gospel principles into writing principles, I am also striving to show that writing principles can be reversed into the vocabulary of the gospel. The vocabularies are becoming one. The following excerpt from my English 106 journal illustrates wonderfully the success of using the language of the gospel in my classroom:
"My favorite principle of the day was audience and purpose. I asked them to apply audience and purpose to prayer. Do we pray differently when we truly recognize our Heavenly Father as our audience? What is our purpose? If our purpose is to truly communicate to him about who we are and what we are experiencing, do we say different things than we hear said most of the time? The students opened up and they understood that purpose and audience is bigger than writing. But they understood better how to apply it to the writing. Powerful. Then we transferred purpose and audience to taking the sacrament. If Heavenly Father has chosen us as the audience for the sacrament then how should we act and what messages can we receive from what is going on? What is His purpose in the sacrament? We talked of the atonement and how it can be applied if we understand purpose and audience and how we can feel just like we have been baptized: that we can use the perfecting power of the atonement in that moment if we are trying to understand purpose and audience."
As I strive to use the gift of discernment, I am finding that I need to raise the bar in my own personal worthiness. I am using prayer more often in my office and during class. I find that when I am tempted to break a commandment a whispering begins: "If you make the wrong choice, you will not have the gift of discernment." Wiser choices have ensued. Because of increased efforts spiritually, I have felt the Holy Ghost help me make one-by-one connections while teaching:
"The neatest spiritual happening was when I described the writing process. I described it as a basic yet accessible process that any student could use. I felt enthusiastic and the students opened up. Their eyes sparkled and revealed to me that for the first time, some of them had hope in their writing; for the first time, writing seemed accessible. I felt a one-by-one connection with many of them; we basked in an exchange of knowledge. I truly felt that the Holy Ghost had given me access to these students through the discerning of spirits. I had made decent decisions in how to approach the course and individual class, but the discerning of spirits led me to teach the process in a sharper and kinder way than I ever had. I feel that 85% of my students feel that they can be successful now in writing—not in 106 but in writing!"
Cultivating the gift of discernment has also provided neat spiritual experiences as I strive to give my students more access to me on an individual basis. I have always had an open door policy: if a student comes by, I always drop whatever I am doing and pay attention to that student.
Part of the reason I make students a first priority is because of my experiences growing up on this campus. As an elementary student, I often rushed to the football practice field to be with my father. Every time I showed up, he would drop out of whatever he was doing and pass the football to me; I always felt important! It wasn't just my father. Whenever I roamed the old gym, Doc Biddulph would see me and come out and talk to me. Sometimes, it was about important subjects like candy machines and not having enough change; other times it was about school and church; once it was about not swinging on the wrestling ropes without supervision, and then he had me do it one more time while he was in the gym. I know by experience what the Spirit of Ricks is--I try to keep that in perspective by always having my door open for students.
After Brother Checkett's talk, I decided that I would organize my classes to include at least three times when the students would have to sit down with me in my office. It has been challenging and time consuming to accomplish this, but every student from my fall classes visited me in my office three times. These visits have given me the opportunity to use the gift of discernment to help several students. I got to know Becky Gerratt well enough to realize that she lacked confidence, so I paid more attention to helping her succeed. She is now a regular visitor, who takes some of my extra time, but she has blossomed into more academic success. I am glad that I decided to meet with each student three times during the semester.
Finally, I have tried to understand and use charity more in my teaching. What a treat it has been to work with students in English 106. Several of them are harder to love than "normal" students, but I have had my heart warmed on several occasions as I have put forth an extra effort to make sure that they are successful.
Before attending my first classes in English 106, I looked up each student's personal information and schedule to get a feel for my new teaching assignment. I found a whole world of misunderstanding as many of these first-semester freshmen had advanced classes because that is all that was open. After meeting the class, I spent the next few hours advising many of the students. Angie Henderson had signed up for English 106 and she had over 70 credits and not one toward her major of Elementary Education. We changed her entire schedule and mapped out a direction to graduation. Then we discussed a mission; she is now serving. I spent the entire semester focusing on what the students needed and wanted instead of on me. I felt it to be the most charitable semester of my career.
Thought I would check in and see how you are doing--especially in transferring those hard-working skills from the outdoors into the academic world.
You certainly came alive in 106--I felt that you set the world on fire during the second half of the semester. I hope that is continuing in all of your classes. You have it within you, but if I am judging right, you also have a strong case of stubbornness where if you don't like the class or the teacher, then you shut down. You are too good to shut down! Go for it--like a hard day of fixing fence or working with animals. You'll be frightened for a while, but then you will find that the teacher and class have so much to offer. I guess that you are getting a pep talk from a former teacher. I believe in you Will. I want you to be successful in the classroom because it will offer you more freedom down the road.
Happy trails my friend--stop by if I can help with any of your classes or assignments.
Things are a lot better this semester and I am so much more excited to be here and to become. I have not set my head to my pillow until all of the next days homework is done and I have said my prayers. This is due to a teacher that took the time to teach principle not just lecture. I thank you for that. I am deeply sorry that it took me until half way threw your class to catch fire. I was in a low moment and school was very new to me. Thank you for your help and concern.
Brother Grant you are right about my stubborness and I am having that battle right now, my new English teacher Sister Rector is so picky on grammar, punctuation and to much like a English teacher needs to be. I know as you looked at my papers and know that I was bad in all of those areas, but this is my time to give it heck and learn it. I will come see you and have you help me. If there is ever a time that you need help teaching one of your classes I will gladly help. Brother Grant I have that doll that you gave me by my bed side every day I think what can I give, what I can learn, and what can I become.
As I was typing I thought of a time I was at my grandfathers home. My father and I went down to his house to help him with a project. What happened is that a fungis got into a section of his grass and was spreading. He had had one of my cousins come over and dig up the contaminated grass. He then had planted new seed. It had been many weeks and the grass was stuggling to grow. Thus he called my dad to see how much it would cost to get a fairly large section dug up then put sod down. As we all sat stewing over what to do everyone left and I noticed myself alone with grandpa. A very uncomfortable moment thinking of the PPI that I would reseave. As we sat he looked at the ground and in a low voice said, "I told you to grow so why won't you." That instance I saw the many times I had seen the General Authorities and how they had given the same talks. I looked at it as if I were the grass and hearing I asked you to grow why won't you. I have implied that to my life and now am beggining to grow. I think that you were the fertilizer that helped that process start. Thank you.
See you later
I believe that Will's response is one small way of proving that I am helping BYU-Idaho achieve the mission statement. I strive with all of my efforts to make sure that every student I teach can look at the four following statements and say, "Yes, Brother Grant helped me in each area as well as helping me learn to write and read literature."
BYU-Idaho Mission Statement
I know that God lives; I know that Jesus is our Redeemer; I know the Holy Ghost to be a huge influence in our lives--I want to understand this better. I love the Prophet; I sustain him; I follow him. I believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love to follow its teachings. I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be the only way to be saved. I repent of my sins; I strive to be worthy. I seek to understand the temple; I seek to be a great teacher. I record this testimony with humility and in the name of Jesus Christ.