DEVOTIONS POSTED IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS

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TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW CHRIST

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

          I was 23 when I had my first child.  I felt a little overwhelmed as they placed him in my arms and wheeled me out of the hospital to my car.  I suddenly realized that this baby was my responsibility. I quickly learned the meaning of self-sacrifice. He didn't sleep much.  He required a lot of attention and was reported as being the most demanding baby out of 72 babies in the hospital nursery.  Quiet walks, hot baths, and time just for me were gone. My baby's very existence depended upon me denying my comforts to meet his needs.  But I served him willingly because I cared deeply for him. He was God's gift to my husband and me.        
           When I entered the classroom, I was determined to be in charge.  Things would be done the way I wanted them done.  One of my coworkers, knowing that I was a new teacher, told me what worked best for her was to be flexible.  She explained that unexpected things would happen, and flexibility would be the key to getting past the rough spots.  My retort to her was, "Well, one thing I am not is flexible."

          Guess what, she was right.  Part of carrying my cross was to put aside my perfectionist attitude, my in charge approach, and my unbending schedule to serve the needs of my students.  I gradually learned that it was not about me and my lesson plans as much as it was about the students and their success. I eventually realized that my students' success was my success and my students' failure was partly my failure.  The more I owned the responsibility to see them succeed, the more I became willing to walk the extra mile with those that required it.  God called me to help all of my students achieve, not just 80%. 
       I encourage you to discover what your personal cross is that God is asking you to bear.  When you do, submit yourself to God, pick up your cross, and carry it with grace and love.  Remember, when we cast our cares on Jesus, his burden will be light.  You can find peace and contentment when you choose to accept your “personally assigned” cross.  Remember, you never walk alone.
  
Dear God, Give me the courage to pick up my cross and follow you.  Teach me flexibility and gentleness as I deal with all of my students.  

 

DO YOUR GRADES MEASURE LEARNING?


Proverbs 11:1 The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

God cares about your grade book.  He cares about your test strategies.  He also cares about your student’s success or failure.   The marks you make in your book are measurements or percentages of learning.  The degree of success that a student achieves is reflected in their scores. At least that’s what most people assume and accept to be the case.  However, in my experiences, it has not always been true.

I once worked with a teacher who gave a 20 point bonus on tests when students did “favors” like bringing him candy or doing special chores.  Another teacher added test questions like “How do you spell relief?”  “Rolaids” was the answer.  “Relief” was considered wrong.  I’ve seen other teachers take points off test scores because of misbehavior or failing to write their name on the paper.  Are these accurate “weights” or measurements of education?

Grades are based on percentages.   An 88 means the student completed 88% of the tested material correctly.  How can we have an accurate measurement if that 88 is lowered by 10 points for failing to put the name on the paper, or 20 points added for special favors?   And what about trick questions on a test? Even though they may be cute and enjoyable for the teacher, are they an accurate reflection of the material learned in your classroom?  What about homework that was not done or an assignment left at home?  Is the “0%” really a correct evaluation of their education?  Or is it a measurement of behavior, attitude, or organizational skills?     

I ask you to consider your guidelines for measuring grades.  I encouraged you to be sure the scores in your record book reflect actual test scores and academic achievement.  Also, it is more accurate for incomplete or forgotten homework,  or papers not completed be dealth with in the discipline policy rather than in the grade book. Design consequences for these problem behaviors to encourage the student to learn new patterns and habits.  When a student receives multiple zeros for no homework resulting in failing the course, what has he learned?  This student hasn’t gained much—at least not in self-discipline.  Every test may have had a passing grade, and the student may have mastered the subject material, but his behavioral problem was never addressed.  He doesn’t need to repeat the subject matter another year; he needs to be held accountable for his assignments and be disciplined into correct behavior regarding his responsibility to do homework assignments.  A zero is faster and easier to give than holding a student responsible.  However, we are doing children a disservice by letting them take a zero rather than requiring them to complete the work?

I had a tenth-grade student who didn’t turn in the assigned research paper.  At first, he told me that he laid it on my desk, and I must have lost it.  I called the parents to inquire about the paper and discovered that he had not been working on it at home.  I encouraged the student to be honest.  Finally, he admitted that he had not done the paper.  I gave him an “I” for incomplete rather than a “0”.  I wanted him to learn to do a term paper.   I met with him during lunch hours and after school to check on his work.  The project was completed a few weeks later.  This was his first report or long-term project he had ever completed.  For years he had learned to take zeros without failing.  He knew how to work the system and how to keep from failing.   He completed his next project by the due date.  The discomfort of having to meet with me those extra hours and knowing he would have to complete the paper, no matter what, was painful enough that he did not want to repeat the process.  I did lower the project grade for being late by one letter grade but allowed the student a chance to get a “lower” passing grade if the project was done well.  I felt the lost points reflected the need for re-teaching—thus a lack of achieved learning.    

I encourage teachers to take this same approach with incomplete homework. Students need to complete the work and learn responsibility rather than be given a zero that destroys their academic average.  The pain of being kept after school to finish homework assignments often encourages students to do the work on time in the future.

Dear God, Help me to give grades that reflect an accurate measurement of learning.  Give me clarity of thought regarding your ways.  Allow me to see each situation as you see it, and give me the wisdom to make correct judgments.


FOOLISHNESS IS BOUND UP IN THE CHILD’S HEART

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

       The tenth-grade boy raised his hand during study hall.  I quietly walked to his study center and asked if I could help him. “The light bulb isn’t working.  Can I go get another one from the janitor?” he asked.   
         I hesitated for a moment and then told him that there was enough light in the room without the lamp directly over his study center.  After I walked away, I saw him tighten the bulb and turn his light back on.  He was playing games and trying to get out of class for a while.  At first, this made me angry.  I knew he would have bragged about tricking me if I had let him leave the classroom. 
        How do we keep from getting angry when kids play tricks on us?  Well, the above Scripture helped me to get things into perspective.  Foolishness is a natural part of being a child—especially some children.  The reason we discipline them is to “drive it far from him.”  We should not allow ourselves to get angry over their foolishness; instead, we should see it as an opportunity to train and discipline it out of them.  
      This student’s statement to the teacher was a lie.  His game led him to sin.  Children need to understand that foolishness often leads to wrong behavior.  If they respect God’s Word and desire to do right, they will hear biblical instruction and change their ways.  This student earned a consequence for his deceit and lie. He was not disciplined for his foolishness.   
       By the way, a sense of humor helps to overcome your offense.  Don’t ever forget what it was like to be a kid.  Much of the time kids don’t think all the way through their foolishness.  However, for some students, this response could be a form of mockery rather than foolishness.  (Mockers seek to make the leader look foolish--Proverbs 9:8.)  The same consequence would be appropriate whether it was foolishness or mockery.  The teacher that controls anger or resentment during these times of irritation will be more effective in training up the child in the way he should go. 

Dear God, Help me to be level-headed rather than hot-tempered when it comes to kids’ foolishness.  Help me to see these situations from your perspective.  Their folly is an opportunity for training.  Give me the grace to discipline rather than to react in anger.                                      

                                               

ACCEPT COWORKERS UNCONDITIONALLY

1 Corinthians 13:4-7Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

        We all have “quirks” in our personality. I have never met anyone that did not have significant strengths and significant weaknesses at the same time.  So, how do we learn to accept the oddities or the unloveliness of each other?  Paul gives us the key in the above Scriptures.  Love is the key to your happiness this year.  The more honest I am about who I really am, not who I want people to believe that I am, the more I realize how human we all are.  
       Performers seem to do everything right at the right time in the right way, and they notice when others are not measuring up.  Their greatest downfall is judgment, anger, and pride.  They lose a lot of joy in life because they either resentfully fix the things that others neglect, or reject people who don’t seem to measure up. 
       Happy-go-lucky people are always ready to play.  They often neglect responsibilities in exchange for the now.  They procrastinate on major and minor projects and create misery for those who depend on them.  They tend to be self-centered, thoughtless, and self-indulgent.    
       Meticulous or perfectionistic people must do things right.  They worry a lot.  In fact, they fret over everything.  They can be overbearing in their expectations and slow in their performance.  They are never satisfied with themselves or with others.  They lean toward self-rejection, disapproval of others and preoccupation with things.  
       Know-it-all people like to have a platform.  They control conversations and seldom listen to others.  They want to do things their way.  They talk a lot but may not do a lot to help when needed. They tend to be controlling, manipulative and overbearing.  
       And, I could keep going. People’s flaws are common. We all know them.  But we need answers.  And God has provided us one—only one is needed.  LOVE the unlovely by appreciating their strengths and trusting God to help them with their weaknesses.  The more I admit my flaws and commit them to God, the more I can accept other people’s shortcomings.  The truth is—we all need God.  He created each of us with challenges that require His help to overcome them.  Learn to see your coworker’s flaws as God’s tool for growth and maturity.  God uses people to develop our character. I find that the things that irritate me about others are the flaws in my life that I hate.    The more I let God change me, the more I can accept others.  When I spend my time allowing God to perfect me, I am not so quick to worry about what God needs to do in other people.  The more God changes me, the more I can have hope and faith that God can and does change situations as I commit it to prayer. When I choose to stop magnifying my co-worker's flaws and begin to concentrate on their potential, I am no longer their critic. Instead, I become their ally, a co-worker, and friend who wants to work and grow together as we serve God in our school.  It allows me to love them without condition because I know that God loves me that way.  
        Love is the key.  Love always protects (doesn’t expose flaws), always trusts (believes the best until proven otherwise), always hopes (sees what others can become), and always perseveres (because God is not finished with any of us yet).  Love builds unity among coworkers. 

Dear God, Give me unconditional love for my coworkers.  Help me to accept them where they are now as I realize that you’re still working on all of us.  Only you can change my heart of stone to a heart of flesh.  I am willing to learn to love them with your help.


                               

DID I REALLY SAY THAT?

Daniel 5:5-6 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6His face turned pale, and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

        I faced my class with apparent dismay and began my rebuke with these words.  “Class, I met with the principal, and she is upset because several of you continue to leave your coke cans on the bleachers. I can see ‘the handwriting on the wall.’ You’re going to lose the privilege of going to the gym during lunch.”  I continued to lecture them about responsibility and privileges.  I made it clear that when you abuse a privilege and are not responsible, you lose that privilege.  I even reminded them of previous times when they were warned about leaving the gym clean.  I finished by telling them how I was sorry for them, but there was nothing I could do. They would have to earn back the privilege themselves. When I stopped talking, one of the junior high boys raised his hand and asked, “What wall?” 
        I was confused.  “What do you mean, what wall?” I answered.
       “What wall was written on?” he replied.  I chuckled. No one in the room had heard the cliché or the Bible story from which it originated.  He had lost my entire message.  As I talked about the mess in the gym, most of my students were trying to decide which wall was vandalized in the gym.  It took a few more minutes of explanation before my message was understood. 
      Memories like these still make me laugh.  It also reminds me how difficult communication can be. When addressing your class, you may want to check your message with them.  They may not be receiving the same one you think you sent.  You can do this “fast food style.”  You give your order at the fast food window, and they repeat your order back to you.  You then correct any misunderstandings. In the classroom, you can check messages by asking someone to explain to the class what you just said, or ask a particular student if he understood what you meant; if so, would he tell it to you.  Of course, you can always give a pop quiz—ha, ha.
      Watch your clichés; they really can “date” you.  If you use clichés, make sure they are understood.   

Dear God, Working with kids can be fun.  Teach me to be a clear communicator.  Also, help me to develop that sense of humor that helps to break down walls and reach out to the kids.

LOVE MY ENEMIES?

Luke 6:32-33  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 


Learning to love the unlovely is one of the most valuable skills a teacher can acquire.     No human naturally loves his or her enemy. In fact, it is only through God’s grace and His unconditional love that we are capable of obeying Christ in this way. Jesus made this statement as a mandate for his followers. 
        How do we love our enemy? How do we love that disrespectful, challenging student that pushes our ‘buttons’ so often?  Or the parent who always questions our motives and makes our job difficult for us? The answer, though somewhat simplistic, is profound. You can love the people and reject their actions.  In other words, you can care about the person they can “potentially” become, and respect the intrinsic value God placed within them.  You can love the sinner and hate the sin.
       A way to test your heart for pure motive is to ask yourself, “Am I disciplining ‘for’ my student or ‘against’ them?”  You can genuinely bless and not curse even an enemy if you can see them through the eyes of God.  Allow God to use you as an instrument of His love toward your adversary.  You will keep a humble, pliable heart and inner peace when you are willing to act out of love, rather than anger. 
      Does this mean that your adversary will change and never give you trouble again?  No, unfortunately, it does not.  We do not treat them with kindness to manipulate them. We treat them kindly because they are God’s creation, and they have value.  Their attitudes and actions are choices they must make.  You only have control over your attitudes and actions. Determine to do good and not evil, no matter what they choose to do.  You will grow in character when you decide to love and not hate.

Dear God, It is easier to say, “Love your enemies” than to do it.  Fill my heart with love toward those that offend me.  Give me your love and compassion for them.  Allow me to have a servant’s heart for each person that I meet today.

WALK IN GOD’S GRACE NOT IN YOUR OWN POWER

Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  

      In Luke 18:19 Jesus said, Why do you call me good?  . . . No one is good—except God alone. Jesus understood that the wealthy ruler was saying that Jesus, the man, is good.  But Christ knew that no flesh could be good separated from God. In our natural state we are condemned because of sin.  It was Jesus-God that was good—not Jesus, the man.  The ruler was missing the full perspective of who he was addressing—not a man, but God in the flesh.  
     In John 3:6-7 Jesus said Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. [7] You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again’.  To have eternal life, we must experience two births. The first birth is outside of our control—the birth of the flesh.  Our mother gave birth to our flesh, but God desires to provide us with spiritual birth. He draws us to his truth and to his love inviting us to be part of his kingdom, to be “born” of the Spirit by accepting him as our Savior to live in our spirit man.  When the Spirit of God becomes a resident of our inner man, old things pass away; everything becomes new (2 Cor. 5:17).   
     Upon acceptance of Christ, the Holy Spirit lives within you, but because your flesh still lives, a war is declared between the Spirit of God and your flesh.  
Roman 12:1 instructs you to present yourself as a living sacrifice—daily.  Your flesh has a sinful, carnal nature and it will naturally follow a path of destruction.  Therefore, you must crucify your fleshly nature daily and submit to the Spirit of God within you as you allow God to be your guide for today.  Your carnal nature is “self-centered.”  The Spirit of God within you is “God-centered and others’ centered.”  
     If you are walking in your own power, your self-centered approach to life will bring strife.  Walking in the Spirit leads you to trust, contentment, and rest.  Are you striving today or resting?  If you’re struggling, choose to exchange your self-centered thoughts for God-centered thoughts of faith and trust. 

Dear God, I admit that I am striving today.  Forgive me for my determination that things have to go my way.  Forgive me for questioning your goodness and taking matters into my own hands.  Help me to relax and enter your rest as a choice.  I give you control of those things that cause me to strive rather than to trust in you.   

 

 WALK IN GOD’S GRACE NOT IN YOUR OWN POWER

Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 
        Roman 12:1 instructs us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice—daily.  Your flesh has a sinful, carnal nature and it will naturally follow a path of destruction.  Therefore, you must crucify your fleshly nature daily and submit to the Spirit of God within you as you allow God to be your guide for today.  Your carnal nature is “self-centered.”  The Spirit of God within you is “God-centered and others’ centered.”  
        When walking in your own power, your self-centered approach to life will bring strife.  Walking in the Spirit leads you to trust, contentment, and rest.  Are you striving today or resting?  If you’re struggling, choose to exchange your self-centered thoughts for God-centered thoughts of faith and trust. Seek to serve rather than be served. 
          Put on a servant's attitude this week as you begin the new year.  God led you to your assignment this year.  He set your team(s) together to accomplish his purposes for the year.  People will be taught and influenced by you, and you will influence other people.  We never live in a vacuum.  Each day, each term, each year our lives intermingle with those around us, and we are changed.  Submit yourself to the "tools" God chose to chip off the rough edges of your life this year.  Also, embrace the ones that he sent to help soothe the abrasions.  If willing, you can become a brighter reflection of Christ by the end of the year.  
       
Dear God, I admit that I am striving today.  Forgive me for my determination that things have to go my way.  Forgive me for questioning your goodness and taking matters into my own hands.  Help me to relax and enter your rest as a choice.  I give you control of those things that cause me to strive rather than to trust in you.  I want to grow closer to you this year. 

 ESTEEM YOUR COWORKERS ABOVE YOURSELF

Philippians 2:3-4  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

                  Setting up a classroom the first week of the year and closing down at the end of the year is a lot of work.  Inevitably some teachers will zip right through the task and finish before other staff members.  Each year one or two teachers struggled slowly through the myriad of required tasks while the rest of the teachers finished and were out the door. I observed this year after year over many years.  
                  So what, you ask?  I would like to suggest that offering to help the struggling teacher once you have completed your room might be a thoughtful and caring thing to do. Verse 4 above encourages us to not be selfish by watching out for just ourselves.  The scripture above encourages us to be a servant to those in need. Sure, we want to get out the door and onto our own business, but God would have us serve our team members when we have the time and ability to help.  
                  I worked with a wonderful group of teachers the last twenty years of my teaching career.  I saw them truly form a team that supported each other.  The goodwill and friendliness of the staff created a wonderful place to work.  
                  I encourage you to be sensitive to the needs of your coworkers.  When you have a chance, drop them a small note in their box letting them know that you appreciate their hard work.  Offer to help when you see someone on your team  struggling.  This pleases the Lord.  You may be blessed with lasting friendships from your team for years to come.

Dear God, Remind me to be sensitive to my team members.  Help me to avoid being in competition with them.  Show me how I can esteem them and  be an encourager.  I pray that you will blend our team together this year. Help us to learn to work well together.  Help me to remember that you ordered my steps and brought me to this job.  Help me to appreciate my team of teachers.  I want to please you in all I do. 

FOOLISHNESS IS BOUND UP IN THE HEART OF A CHILD

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

       The tenth-grade boy raised his hand during study hall.  I quietly walked to his study center and asked if I could help him. “The light bulb isn’t working.  Can I go get another one from the janitor?” he asked.   
         I hesitated for a moment and then told him that there was enough light in the room without the lamp directly over his study center.  After I walked away, I saw him tighten the bulb and turn his light back on.  He was playing games and trying to get out of class for a while.  At first, this made me angry.  I knew he would have bragged about tricking me if I had let him leave the classroom.   
        How do we keep from getting angry when kids play tricks on us?  Well, the above Scripture helped me to get things into perspective.  Foolishness is a natural part of being a child—especially some children.  The reason we discipline them is to “drive it far from him.”  We should not allow ourselves to get angry over their foolishness; instead, we should see it as an opportunity to train and discipline it out of them.    
      This student’s statement to the teacher was a lie.  His game led him to sin.  Children need to understand that foolishness often leads to wrong behavior.  If they respect God’s Word and desire to do right, they will hear biblical instruction and change their ways.  This student earned a consequence for his deceit and lie. He was not disciplined for his foolishness.    
       By the way, a sense of humor helps to overcome your offense.  Don’t ever forget what it was like to be a kid.  Much of the time kids don’t think all the way through their foolishness.  However, for some students, this response could be a form of mockery rather than foolishness.  (Mockers seek to make the leader look foolish--Proverbs 9:8.)  The same consequence would be appropriate whether it was foolishness or mockery.  The teacher that controls anger or resentment during these times of irritation will be more effective in training up the child in the way he should go. 

Dear God, Help me to be level-headed rather than hot-tempered when it comes to kids’ foolishness.  Help me to see these situations from your perspective.  Their folly is an opportunity for training.  Give me the grace to discipline rather than to react in anger.


CONTENTMENT IS LEARNED
Philippians 4:11-13  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

        Paul states that he has “learned to be content.”  He knew what it was like to be in the top echelon of society.  Apostle Paul was an educated, “high class” citizen of his time. He also experienced being arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and rejected because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  He knew the best of times and the worst of times. And, through it all, he gained contentment.  
        True contentment comes as we mature and realize there is a higher purpose for our lives than pleasure. Through life experiences, we often learn that the things we seek with our whole heart are still not enough to satisfy us.  The young person who seeks popularity, a great career, a family, a home, a new car and nice things usually finds that they are not as gratifying as expected.  This disappointment can lead to depression and hopelessness.  Or, it can lead to a search for a higher purpose in life.  
        Paul discarded all of the “clout” as an elite member of society to follow Christ.  It was in his commitment to Christ that he found contentment.    Proverbs 19:23 says -- The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  
        It is not what you have or who you know that will bring real contentment to your life.  But, instead, it is getting your relationship with God in its right place.  Security begins with recognizing that Christ is your provider, your strength, your protection and your forgiveness.  Allowing God to lead your daily decisions and knowing that God is in the middle of all of your experience, good or bad, can bring rest and peace to your life. As you grow in your relationship with Christ and learn to lean only on Him, you will then become content no matter what your circumstances are for today.  
        When you acquire the spiritual contentment that comes from Christ, your students will be drawn to the “peace that passes understanding” seen in your daily walk.  If you see them following you, when possible, point them past you to Christ.  Help them to understand the difference Christ has made in your life.

Dear God, I am not always content.  Sometimes I don’t even understand what I am wanting.  Teach me to find my contentment in you.  Help me to realize that all good things come from you and you work all things together for my good.   


LET ME WALK IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

         The unconditional love of Christ is the most significant gift a teacher can give.  Students will grow in confidence and security when we love them with the same unfailing love that Christ loves us. The gentleness of a teacher's soft answer and quiet tone creates a peaceful and caring atmosphere. Most students will respond well to love and kindness.
        In times of misbehavior and required discipline, the love of Christ is your most significant tool. You must have consequences for the infraction, and you must follow the established rules. However, you can administer the discipline “for the student,” not “against the student.”  To withhold consequences for misbehavior is to deny a student the security of the classroom boundaries. The student will test the limits; that's his job.  Your job is to assure him those boundaries exist. 
        The specific consequence is not as important as the emotions you display. When correcting students, teachers need to be neutral; you are a tool of the law.  The student is not coming against you, the person.  He is rebelling against the rules of the school. Anger is not neutral. Some students have a need to test the boundaries. They will test the boundaries (rules) until they are convinced they are firm. Boundaries and structure in a classroom offer students a sense of security. 
       Should you become angry with a child, it is best to separate the child from you until you cool off.  Don’t discipline a student when you are angry. It is best to postpone the discipline until you can get control of your emotions.  You may want to consider placing the student outside of the classroom or in a chair in the back of the room or some other safe place where you can continue with your work until your anger subsides. If you lose your composure or temper, the student will be considered the winner of the conflict.  The student must never win!  You are the adult.  You are the tool that God will use to train the child.  
        Learn to forgive students quickly.  Stay before God in prayer until you overcome any unforgiveness.  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child--you are an adult.  Your behavior should be above his. Force yourself to learn unconditional acceptance of the child by looking beyond his current response to what he can become after he is fully trained.   

Dear God, Can you help me with my anger?  I  need help with the mocker that keeps tormenting me and disturbing my classroom.  I want to be more like you.  Teach me to be lovingly consistent like you.