Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for a generally helpful and very kind speech therapist, the opportunity to do speech therapy instead of getting my vocal cords injected with collagen, and insurance to cover most of the cost of said experience.
I see speech therapy as a chance to enter my students’ world of learning. Most days, I teach. Oh yes, I learn a whole lot in the process, but rarely via direct instruction.
Speech therapy is as direct instruction as it gets: pages of instructions on how to breathe, how much water to drink (more!), how to swallow, how to warm up my vocal cords, how to make my voice resonate better, and more. So for the past week and a half, I’ve been practicing. Wrong.
Yep. I watched the therapist do most of the exercises initially and left the office, not sure of myself but figuring that I should be able to follow written directions. When I returned, I found out that I was doing one exercise entirely wrong and several others too softly. Louder, she said, louder. (Which left me thinking…I’ve got 2 weeks to do these exercises before I need to stop so I don’t overdo and cause different problems, and I DID THEM WRONG. Perfectionism lives on.)
You might be wondering about Jesus in all this. I’m getting there.
This whole experience caused me to reflect on my own teaching and the gradual release of responsibility model for teaching: model, guided practice, independent practice, a.k.a. “I do, we do, you do.” I missed out on the “we do” and the “you do” as a learner, and I didn’t get any immediate feedback. I did my best, but my best wasn’t what my vocal cords needed.
As a teacher, I try to offer immediate feedback as often as possible. Sometimes, I miss the mark. After my last speech appointment, I try harder.
Jesus followed this teaching model on earth: He did, He did with his disciples, then He sent His disciples out. It worked for Him pretty well! Though Jesus isn’t physically on earth, His “I do” recorded in the Bible is pretty strong modeling! The body of Christ offers the chance to practice with someone else, and the Holy Spirit offers immediate feedback as often as we take a moment to listen. There is no biblical independent “I do” apart from relationship with God (see John 15), but in relationship we are empowered to follow Jesus’ example.
So as I live learning and following Jesus, I’m more grateful than ever for the correction and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, right when I need it. I have a lot to learn, but I have a patient Teacher!