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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

I ♥ Seminary

I got a part time job in January as a seminary teacher.  For anyone not familiar with how an LDS seminary works, you're probably incorrectly imagining what it's like.  Seminary isn't a place to train future priests, it's simply a class where high school students study the scriptures.  It's like most high school classes, really: we play games, we discuss things, there are posters on the walls, the guys and girls have crushes on each other, and we have whiteboard markers of varying colors.  In places with small Mormon populations (like western Washington) seminary is in the morning before school.  However, when there are enough Mormon kids at a high school they often have a release time program and seminary is part of their daily class schedule.  There are a couple release time programs in Tucson and the seminary I teach at is in a small building next to the high school.

I love my job!  Ever since I went to seminary in high school I've always wanted to work as a seminary teacher and it is so much fun.  A lot of the kids eat lunch in seminary building so I've had a lot of time to get to know them, but I'm learning that each year I get older while high school students stay the same age.  A few weeks ago I made a reference to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  One kid had seen the movie, but the rest had never heard of it.  So I started to explain the plot, but somewhere around using a telephone booth time machine from the future to collect historic people so they can pass a science project and not get sent off to boot camp so they can start a band whose music will be most excellent and bring peace to the world, everyone got a little lost and I felt silly for liking such an odd movie.  But really, it is a most excellent movie. 

I experienced a similar "wow, I'm old" feeling today.  One of the seniors asked me what kids listened to when I was in school.  I mentioned a number of bands including Weezer and most of them had no idea who I was talking about.  I was sure they just didn't know the band's name and they must have heard the songs so I sang some of the popular ones and all I got were confused looks.  I then played some songs from youtube and still no recognition.  They thought the song about the unraveling sweater was particularly silly, which it is. 

I can't say enough how awesome my students are.  They really are the best.  We had a test at the end of January and I left a space for them to draw funny pictures or write funny limericks.  There were many great pictures and limericks, but these two were my favorites. 

I hope I do well on this test

I confess many answers were guessed

But seminary is fun! =)

Some tests can be dumb =(

Don't worry, I don't like you any less

I'm not very good but I'll give it a try

Poetry is not as easy as pie

Dude, chocolate's delicious

Not fit for the fishes

And I'm a big fan of your tie

Yep, they're witty. 

A bunch of my students are on the volleyball team and they've invited me to many of their games so I finally went to one this week.  I inadvertently sat with their parents.  While talking with one set of parents I asked if they had played sports in high school.  The dad said, "We're supportive, not sportive."  And I immediately knew that I liked them.  During the game a kid dove for the ball and missed.  The mom applauded and yelled, "Good try!" and then under her breath said, "just try harder next time."  And I chuckled to myself.  Later on a similar event happened where there was sincere effort, but no success.  The mom yelled, "Very good!  Try it again, but with a different result."  I really liked those people.

I have a great job.  I get to spend my afternoons with awesome teenagers teaching them something that I love and it's wonderful.  

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