Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's on your mind? (part one)

I woke up this morning, thinking about one of my favorite college professors. She rather broke the mold for the private Christian college that I attended (and loved.)

As a social science major (whatever that is), I took her juvenile delinquency class. I can't remember her name, so I will call her Mrs. jd.

Mrs. jd was really young and cute. Kinda funky, before we even knew what that was. And she loved to shake things up. 

One class she brought in some kids from her cases. They came to interview us. They did not look, act or smell like the typical student in our class. They asked us hard questions.

At the end of the class, she told us they were really just some friends of hers that were coming to mess with us and our way of thinking. It worked. :)

She taught us a tool she used with her kids and I have used it many times in my small groups. It is a great way to know what is going on in each others lives. Mrs. jd called it "What's on your mind?"

Here is how it works: Give each person a blank piece of paper. Have them draw a silhouette of their head. (mine never looks like a head) Allow about 10 minutes to draw pictures, inside the drawing, of what they are thinking about? Then each person shares from their page.

It is a great small group activity ... try it sometime.

In my next blog post, I will share with you my current version of "What's on your mind?"

ps. Another favorite was my literature teacher who read aloud to us every Friday. 

And, my linguistics teacher, who had just returned from years of service in Africa, and was struggling with how to let African christians be African, not western. Super good discussions.

And a Bible teacher that was notorious for giving a hard to pass final exam. Once, early in the semester, in a poorly attended class, he casually mentioned that if you brought a red pen to the final and wrote your name across the test page ... would give you and A. You did not even have to take the exam. He never mentioned it again.

Why? He wanted to illustrate that if you hear good news and don't share it with others ... it doesn't help anyone.

Oh yes, and my children's literature teacher who tried to read part of Uncle Tom's Cabin to us, but could never make it through a page without crying.

I had better stop here ... I had some creative professors.

Any favorite teachers?  



  1. Glenda -- it is so good to see you! I recently did an activity like this in my class -- we were talking about Romans 12: 1-2 and the transformation of our minds -- how the Spirit renews us. When our minds are not renewed, it can all look like a jumble. But when the Spirit renews us, Jesus comes into the center, our problems go to the periphery, and we can find peace.

  2. I love that you're writing about favorite professors! (And I secretly hope that someone might name me among theirs someday.) My favorite was one of my Literature professors who really got into reading the work. He would stop, all would be quiet as he got really engrossed (reading to himself), and then he would blurt out laughing, "Ha! This is SO GOOD!!" I loved him.

    I had another Lit professor who would get so excited about the works we were reading that he'd climb up on the desk, jump around the room, do crazy stuff like that. He was not only fun, he was deep. Loved that, too!

  3. Your teachers make me want to go to those college classes!! Did you get an A on that final exam? Did you believe him? Did anyone do that? I would love to have conversation with that missionary from Africa because we are ministry across town with a different socio-eco neighborhood and I don't want to make them middle class but rather lovers of Jesus.And what did she come up with? I have had books that I couldn't read to my children due to tears. And I love that the college literature professor READ ALOUD to college students. Fabulous. What were some of those hard questions those kids asked in ms. jd's class? And this what's on your mind exercise sounds great to help me know what's going on with my children. Sometimes I want to get to know what is on their mind and haven't known how to pull it out of them......okay...i'll stop now...didn't mean to type a blog post as a comment!! Your post obviously resonated. Happy Tuesday.

  4. Sounds like you went to a great school. We have some similar loves...the literature class, for one. I like your 'what's on your mind?' question/activity. In fact, your words are all a blessing to me.

  5. Love it,,the professor that read aloud. I love to read aloud too. I often did it at the nursing home where I worked. The residents loved it. Last year when I was staying with an elderly couple, I read the Bible to them and several books. Of course, I read lots to my kids and now my Grands. Looking forward to your next post!

  6. Yes, I had only two favorite teachers. One was a philosophy professor, the other my sculpture professor. I still think of them often.

  7. Interesting post and a great exercise! That would be great to have a literature teacher who would read out loud like that. I loved my Spanish professor, she was a red head who had many an interesting story about life in Spain.

  8. Sounds like she was a great teacher! It's a blessing when you can tell teachers care enough to really teach us something. :)

    One of my favorites from grade school was Miss DeFrehn, my 5th grade teacher. She was able to make many of the lessons fun and engaging for us restless 10 year olds. I got to see her again at my Mom's funeral three years ago. My Mom taught at the same school, so they were acquainted back in the day. It was a big, and very nice surprise to see her.

  9. Well arighty, my comment didn't go through.
    Miss McCloud was my Sunday School teacher for the first ten, or more, years of my life. She was a Saint and God alone knows how many people she loved and taught into heaven. My university profs...generally, I went toe to toe with them as my liberal state university was filled with...gasp!...liberal profs.
    Glenda, thanks for the comment you left on my post; I've got a lot of common sense but Dave was the brains in the family.

  10. wow! how fun!
    i wish some of my teachers would have been that fun!
    it also makes me want to BE a more fun teacher! :)

  11. In grade school we had a teacher that encouraged us to get our work done in the morning so he could read to us in the afternoon. My favorite was "Gentle Ben." He cried through it, too, and it continues to be one of my favs just because I picture him mopping his eyes with his hankey.

  12. You've brought to mind several professors at the small Christian college I attended. One - and English professor - had known my parents when they were in college together. And she seemed to expect more of me than of others! Another dear man had also known my parents. He had spent years on the missionfield and the lessons learned in his linguistics class have stayed with me to this day. I seem to hear the 'hidden' sounds in words like never before. And. . .so many others to recall.

  13. yes...a youth pastor and his wife
    jedidiah and verna..they came from st. kitts
    God used them to change my heart in a big way...
    hugs to you....xoxo

  14. Love the small group conversation starter! Will try to remember it and use it. My memory isn't what it use to be. ha! :)

    My favorite teacher was my Bible Study teacher Mr. Johnson. He treated us like equals, encouraged authentic conversation (whether we agreed with him or not), asked the tough questions and expanded our way of thinking (in a conservative Christian school). The time I had with him was invaluable.

    Good teachers=world changers, one person at a time. :)

    Blessings! RB

  15. Great post honoring someone who made a difference. I did have a couple of teachers that I still think about too. xo

  16. Your teachers were great. I wrote a letter to my favorite college professor telling him I appreciated his teaching (years after I graduated) and he never answered. I hope he got the letter. Then a few years ago I wrote to my wonderful first grade teacher and complimented her and we began a correspondence. I think it's good to thank those memorable teachers!

  17. Loved reading about the creative teachers you recall. D has some amazing letters from his grown-up students, and even though it may only be one out of every few hundred, somehow they say, "It was All worth it!" Hopefully your post will reach one or two of them, too.

  18. It will be fun to read part 2 - to see what's current with "What on your mind?"

  19. love these stories of your professors! :)


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