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Archive for August, 2011

Ah, the beach…….

Praise God for the sun! I’ve just returned home from a weekend away at Manzanillo.  What a beautiful place, with wonderful people.  It’s hard to be there and not praise God.  Let’s recap. This week was good, but tiring.

Monday: After school I borrowed a bike and headed out on the streets to do a little shopping.  I’d be waiting to go to Sam’s Club with the hope of buying peanut butter, sadly none was to be found.  I love the adventure of riding a bike through the streets and down the sidewalks.  It’s thrilling, it’s hard to explain why if you don’t understand the area in which I ride.  Take my word for it though, it’s an adventure with a twist!

Tuesday: I had my first tutoring session after school and also a parent meeting in my classroom.  I eagerly met most of my parents and described for them my expectations and desires for our classroom.  It went pretty well and I’m excited to work with parents this year.  Tutoring was fine, long, but fine.  It’s two hours right after school, for a studen’t who doesn’t really need it.  It’s kind of a joke at our school that all the Korean students get/want tutoring.  Most of them don’t need it, but their parents are sooooo insistent that they be tutored every day after school for two hours. It’s a cultural thing, and as a result I tutor on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Thursday: Almost all my afternoon was spent painting my room.  When I’m able, I’ll post pictures, but it is no longer a bright red. It’s very calm and I need a little decorating to make the place my own now.  Help?!

Friday:  Friday was a long day.  I wasn’t able to get much work done on Thursday and as a result I was tired on Friday.  My kids tried my patience, but all in all the day was really fine.  I had my first tutor session in Spanish, and I’m eager for the year to continue.  I want so badly to be fluent in Spanish. I should have put more effort into learning it when I was younger. Here’s a God moment in my life. I mentioned Friday was a rough day, so when I sat down for my tutoring we were almost an hour behind schedule and I’d just discovered that someone had dropped a very important paper of mine and I was about in tears.  After tutoring my tutor explained that she was not going to accept all my money for the hour.  Its 120 pesos an hour normally but she was only going to accept 50.  We argued back and forth for a while but she insisted that God put it on her heart to only charge me this amount.  I had flash back to this summer and the issues I’ve had with Rosanna. I’ve always said that God will provide what we need, and I shared with my tutor some of what has happened and how God has been using these experiences in my life.  It was just a great moment in an otherwise stressful day.

I also had promised myself that if I got all my work done during the week I would go with some friends to the beach this weekend.  I was running so far behind schedule on Friday that I almost decided not to go.  (In the end decided that the beach is what I needed.)

Weekend: Beauty. Peace.  Fun.  The three words I would describe this weekend.  I went with a few Lincoln teachers, but more so with a group of people I didn’t know. One of the guy’s family owns a Condo on the beach, so all we had to pay for was gas money and food.  It has the largest pool in Manzanillo, and it is perfect!  I rested, I laughed, I praised God for this break.  Oh how I needed it.  The people I went with are so kind, and I’ve had such a good time with them.  It is now technically Monday morning and lesson plans need to be finished, bags unpacked, and a heart prepared for another week of service.

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What?! It’s almost 11?

Today, I post out of obligation. I feel bad for not having posted in a few days, but I’ve been pretty busy.  So, here’s what’s new….. I wake up at 6, I’m to school by 7 and work till easily 9/10pm with maybe an hour or two for a break…….Every weekday.

I want to go to the beach this weekend so I’m working extra hard to get lesson plans done by Friday.  I’ve also picked up tutoring two days a week, each for two hours, and I start my Spanish tutoring on Friday.  I don’t think I’ve found a balance between work and life, and now I’m tired. My parent’s returned home from Alaska on Tuesday and I would like to talk to them sometime…. tomorrow? I sure hope so, I could use some familial faces.  Good Night.

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First, I dislike that song, but a fellow teacher was singing it today and is hence stuck in my head.  Indeed, it is Friday! My first full week as a real teacher is over.  I feel no novelty.  Honestly, I feel like I’ve been teaching my whole life,  I think student teaching, subbing, long-term subbing, and such has truly already given me a sense of being a teacher prior to this week.  But what a great week it was.  Busy, long, crazy, tiring….no, exhausting is a better word.  I’m sure starting the week being sick didn’t help, but I made it through and I’m feeling much better now. I love teaching. I love the kids. I love the classroom. I love planning. I love the organization. I love the control (muahahaha!) no really, I love that 21 sets of eyes look up when I ask and follow my instructions.  Grated, I know they won’t always, but I’m in the honeymoon phase with my 5th graders and I’m going to enjoy it! Highlights, lets see…..

Monday: First day!  I did a lot of talking, a lot of practicing procedures, and such.

Tuesday: I was sick with no voice.  We made it though and I was able to do more activities with my class.

Wednesday: Still not 100%, but so much better.  More games and procedures and a little girl came to find me after school to ask me to pray for her mom and uncle, so sweet!

Thursday: Games, procedures, assessments, and math! Parent meeting at night, where I was able to meet about 5 sets of parents.  All was very friendly!  I even had several parents say that their kids spoke very highly of me, I’m strict but I smile a lot.  HA! I think I would agree with their observations. I’ve been strict with my expectations and rules and if they fail to comply we do it again until they do.  I smile a lot, well because that’s who I am and I want them to know I love them and that’s why I’m strict.  After the meeting I was roped into tacos afterward.  They were so good, and since I hadn’t eaten all day, tacos at 10:30 sounded great!  It was a late night, but fun.

Friday: Community building activities, math, global studies, and finally the end of the day! I’m so tired. I came home and made guacamole for a teacher get together tonight and now I’m on the computer. I have piles of books beside me that I need to start planning.  I lack all motivation to start planning, but lesson plans are due in 48 hrs………

If I didn’t truly love teaching, I wouldn’t do this career. I don’t think I could.

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Well, I’m alive!  No, I’m better than alive. I am a first year teacher of a beautiful 5th grade class. Day two is complete and I’m peacefully enjoying some sweetarts on my bed.  Here’s a recap.

Monday:  The first day of school!!  I eagerly arrived at school as best prepared as I could be.  At 7:30 their anxious faces began coming around the corner.  I was surprised to notice that most of my kiddos wanted to blow right past me in order to get to their seat.  (I think they were a little nervous too.) 🙂  Regardless, I greeted each of them at the door and showed them where their seat was.  My room was silent.  It was silent ALL day.  It was an eerie silence as they sized me up and I returned the favor.  I went over rules and consequences, and think I did a decent job putting a little fear into them.  Much of the day was spent on procedures and organizing their supplies.  At Lincoln the student’s are responsible for supplying almost everything. Kleenex, whiteboard markers, whiteboards, everything; so they come with a huge bag full of supplies.  I also lost three of my class periods to Spanish and PE, so overall it was a pretty short day!  After school the new teachers and Kelli, our mentor teacher, went out for comida and discussed our days.  (Although this is not relevant to my school day, I had the most delicious fried quesadillas!)  After lunch we headed back to school for a few more hours of work.  It is about this time I realized that I am sick.  It’s been days in the making.  One thing will ache or be sick one day, something else the next and yesterday it culminated into a full-out sickness. With no voice, sore throat, and fever I went to bed praying I would wake up fine.  Right………..

Tuesday:  I didn’t sleep much.  I couldn’t. Something inside me wouldn’t let me rest no matter how hard I tried.  I was up so much last night I didn’t think I’d be able to function effectively in the morning, but 6am rolled around and I dragged myself out of bed.  It was pretty hard to conceal that I was sick today, considering I had no voice, but I effectively managed to greet my student’s for a second time.  Thankfully my first two periods were prep periods and I headed to the nurse to get to some meds. Today seemed more like a real school day.  My kids were a little more talkative, although not much, and we were able to do more activities and such as a class.  I managed the best I could today, and only scared the kiddos once when I broke out into a coughing fit.  After I had finished I turned to see panic-stricken faces and many questions whether I was alright. Ha!  Yesterday I scared them with the consequences, today I scared them with the fear of catching my cough! My coordinator is fantastic, she immediately was doing all she could to see that I would feel better.  She is so supportive and where I think other principles would have been upset at the thought of missing the second or third day of class, Lupita genuinely cares that I feel better at whatever costs. No worries though, I stuck out the day and I plan on doing the same tomorrow.  It would be nice to have a voice though.

Oh, some important things you may want to know!  I have 22 student’s, most of which are girls.  I’m seriously laying down the law this week.  I tell them what I expect and if they fail to comply, we keep practicing it until they do.  🙂  Example,  I expect no talking while they are in line.  Everything is outdoors and other classrooms have open windows to where we walk.  It’s disrupted to have a loud line passing by; hence my no talking rule.  I’ve explained explicitly how they should walk and if they don’t, we turn around and try it again.  Today, the whole class only turned around once, and I only had to send a couple student’s back to practice again. They will know I’m serious about what I say, both in the way I love them and hold high expectations for them.

Also, it’s wonderful to teach in a Christian school!  I love using scripture to explain why we do something.  Why we have consequences, why we have rules, why do our best on something, how our attitude should be, it’s such an honor to be somewhere that I can be honest about all of these things.  I love praying with and for my kids, and explaining to them what I believe.  I know there a few kids in my class who are not Christians and I love the opportunity to witness to them while I teach!    We did an activity today where we were looking up scripture references and I had them turn to Philippines 4:4.  It was such a treat to share with them that we are commanded to “rejoice always”.  I shared that even though I’m sick, even though I have a fever, even though I have no voice I’m commanded to rejoice.  It was a wonderful day.  There is so much work to do and I lack the energy to do it, but I love my job.  I’m not sure it could get better, but who knows the blessings God wants to pour out on me.  This is a long post, I’m sorry.  Until next time.  🙂

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Grrr….

Only a quick post to let you all know that I did actually take pictures of my finished room today.  Only to realize that I did not bring my camera cord with me, so I guess there will be no pictures posted until after Christmas.

Also, school officially begins tomorrow.  Please say a prayer for me, the other teachers, and all the students walking through the gate tomorrow. There is peace knowing that God has brought each of us to this place and anything that happens this year is already known by God and for my good.

Good Night.

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Night-Time Roof Chats

Two posts in one day?! This is for you Anna!  🙂

After promising to talk pictures today, I still forgot.  Sigh, school hasn’t even begun and I’m forgetting things like crazy.  Work at school today was fun and went by quickly. So quickly in fact that I lost track of time and was whisked away by Charla to Jame’s good-bye party.  I’m genuinely sad he is returning to the States.  I briefly got to know him last fall and was looking forward to getting to know him better this year, only to find out he is returning to the States on tomorrow.  I spent most my day with him and others soaking up the sun and enjoying tasty tacos.  I was lucky enough to ride with Charla to and from the party and soaked in the conversations.  I love that we can talk seriously about how God is moving us and challenging us and turn around and laugh at ourselves or discuss books.  No matter what we discuss, I always walk away from her refreshed and happy.  When I returned home at 8ish tonight there were a few guests here.  I spent the rest of my night laughing and talking with them. When things had settled and bed time was approaching the thunder and lightning began.  Katie and I headed to the roof to sit in metal folding chairs and soak in the storm.  What a wondrous God. Not only in the storm, but in providing what we need.  I have really enjoyed getting to know Katie this week.  She is spunky, funny, athletic, genuine, self-sacrificing, and caring. The list could go on but I think you get the point.  She has challenged me this week to give of myself even when it is inconvenient, without even knowing.  Thursday night we went for a walk and simply talked about many things, and tonight I was treated again to conversation while the rain gently sprinkled. It’s refreshing to joke around with someone and then talk sincerely about what we are passionate about.  God knew what I really needed emotionally today and provided it before I even saw the need in my own life.  What a good God we serve.

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Which Room?

And so orientation has begun, and what a great day! Let me give you a little play-by-play as to how this day progressed.

I woke up around 6am with a horrifying dream.  Details are not needed, but know that I’m glad I woke up to a world less evil than in my dreams.  I was further reminded what a blessing it is to live in this world with fellow Christians as I worshiped God this morning alongside fellow teachers and administration.  Between the English and Spanish choruses I felt the Holy Spirit’s peace about this upcoming year.   There is no real way to describe it, other than to say that this feels right.  Not because it is going to be easy or comfortable, but because God is present and give contentment.  It almost feels wrong to feel this way because my mind reminds me that I move to a new country 5 days ago, I’m beginning my first year of teaching, I’m teaching ALL English language learners, and the list goes on.  Despite the list I can create I can’t help by smile at my situation and really know that my God’s plans for me are meant for my good.  I’ve forgotten why I started this blog, but I pray that whomever reads this will experience this peace and joy offered to you.

So back to my day… I sat through various informational meetings, toured the school, and was finally allowed to begin setting up my classroom.  Silly me forgot a camera so tomorrow I promise to take pictures of my room!  I also had a great chat with my old roommate, which is the highlight of my day.  I love and appreciate her for so many reason and I consider it such an honor to have such lengthy conversations with her.  The day continued with conversations between new and old teachers that climaxed at the weekly Monday night dinner.  It was great to be a part of the dinner once again.  I forgot how much I appreciate those meals and opportunities to build relationships with people I wouldn’t normally see. After another of Charla’s fantastic meals I returned home to my first warm shower since being here. Who knew the pilot light has been out all this time? 🙂  Problem solved and a warm shower was much appreciated!  Now it is time for some prayer and hopefully more peaceful dreams.

 

 

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