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Archive for January, 2012

My thoughts these days have been but a tiny flash before they vanish into the next. Here is an attempt to describe an eluding thought from this week.

I have many memories of being at Michigan’s Adventures with my family when I was much younger.  I love water, so the biggest draw for me at Michigan’s Adventures is the water park.  While I was little, the wave pool was the biggest adventure, trill, flirt with danger that I dared seek.  I remember going out into the deep end where I couldn’t touch and when the waves came on, I would ride them over and over until they shut off. After awhile I’d get tired, but being unable to give up spending time in the water, I’d stay in.  I loved the waves too much to go into shallow water, so despite being tired, I would stay out in the deep and wait for the next set of waves. One time, the waves turned on and in a matter of the first waves, I realized I was too tired. I couldn’t keep my head above the water.  The wave would swallow me, give me a second for air and then swallow me again. It was a terrifying few moments for me.  I knew that if I could just get enough air every couple of seconds, I could wait till the waves shut off. When the waves did eventually shut off I retired to shallow water to catch my breath.

After attending two different teaching seminars, I’ve evaluated the different ways I teach and interact with my students.  After this week, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could teach so much better. There are so many things that I could and would like to change.  Despite this conviction, I feel like my younger self struggling to keep my head above the water.  Each week, is like a gasping for air until the waves shut off and I take a day on the weekend to rest.  Yet I love teaching as much as I love the waves, so eagerly and willingly I plunge back in each week.

It isn’t a matter of needing to find things to do outside of school. Trust me, I have options but school work is all-consuming. The thought of changing things means hours of more work on top of the normal teaching load. I’m reminded that this is a “normal” feeling and struggle your first year teaching, but in no way does that knowledge help me. So I’m learning to reevaluate my own goals and expectations of myself. I do the best I can in service to my God, but my expectation shouldn’t be to be a perfect teacher.

Thankfully the waves have shut off momentarily and I’m going to enjoy a few days of deep breaths.

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I’m still alive!

Hello faithful followers! It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve posted anything. For that I apologize. Life has been increasingly busy here, and nothing of the utmost interest has happened. 😦

So just for fun I decided that I’ll do a little recap of this week.

Monday: Taught like any other day but participated in two different meetings. The first was to discuss how I will be conducting the boys and girls “talk” that is quickly approaching. I’m not particularly looking forward to it, but I don’t think it will be too awkward.  I’m only talking with the girls and it’s set up so that the moms will come and share with their daughters. I love working at a Christian school! The second meeting was for a Curriculum company that is allowing us to try their material for a month.  Despite the fact that I teach every day, attend meetings, email parents, and so on; I had a unique moment of feeling like an adult during this meeting. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that they made a mistake asking me to try out the website. I’m only me after all. I do a pretty good job pretending I’m an adult in front of my students but I guess I’m tricking everyone into believing I’m adult. Scary!

Tuesday: I tutored two students after school. It was productive and I hope that I can really help these two.

Wednesday: I again tutored after school and then ran to another meeting about helping boys learn to read. It was informative and I loved the suggestions.  Now I just need to put them into practice………….. help.

Thursday: My student’s presented “Class Presidential Speeches” for much of the day.  They were a lot of fun!  The student’s didn’t take them as seriously as I would have like, but they were really enjoying it, so I let them have fun.  One student passed out candy, another sprayed foam all over the classroom, various others had jokes, all in all it was fun. The only skill they may have learned was to speak loudly and clearly, I guess the rest we’ll work on later.  The week before the students had to write their speech and turn in a final paper form of it.  It was really good to get their feedback about things they wanted to change about the classroom.  A lot of them want to play more games, do less homework, sit on softer seats and offer homework help.  I’m trying to take their feedback and incorporate some of them into my teaching.  Between their speeches and the two meetings I attended this week, I have a lot to change about how I teach. Yikes! After tutoring I really started to feel sick.  I did some work, went out for tacos, and then collapsed into bed.

Friday: We had a teacher service day!  It was another really good discussion about “Flow Theory.”  Despite blowing my nose every five minutes, I really enjoyed the day. We were given an hour break before comida and I headed straight to bed. I dragged myself out for food and then went right back to bed for the rest of the night. I couldn’t seem to fall asleep, but just laying in bed was wonderful.  I did a little work, watched a few episodes of various shows, listened to sermons, and practiced my Spanish. I felt terrible, but was still productive. Love It!

Saturday: Today I feel much better but still a little off. I don’t notice so much while I’m just sitting, but when I start to get up and walk around my head starts to swim. I really want to bake, but I’m not sure anyone would eat my bacteria infested cookies.

Glancing ahead, here are a few interesting pieces of information.

1. I’m hosting a spelling bee this week Tuesday!
2. In two weeks I’m hoping to go camping.
3. Between now and Spring Break, for various reasons, I have 5 five-day weeks  and 6 four-day weeks.
4. Between now and then I’m responsible for hosting: our spelling bee, 1 field trip, parent teacher conferences,  boy/girl talk, 5th grade girl sleep over, and a school wide pet show. (I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!)

All this being said, I should probably start planning some of these.

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Everybody Dance Now!

Friday, a brief recap.

I’ve been teaching fractions to my class this week and thought it would be fun to show them a practical use for fractions while making something tasty.  Yup, I decided that it would be fun to allow 20 5th graders the opportunity to make cookie dough.  Oh Boy. Although I’m not sure I would do it the same way again, the whole activity did turn out pretty well. Let me paint a mental image for you.  Picture, 4 picnic tables with groups of 5 students and one bowl.  In front of these four picnic tables sits a little metal shelf containing all the ingredients for sugar, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies.  Now imagine one teacher stationed at the supply shelf helping students measure out the proper ingredients while the remaining student’s “wait patiently”.  Despite their natural restlessness,  all the dough turned out and students really seemed to understand fractions. I truly just needed another set of adult eyes monitoring the remaining students while I assisted in the measuring and conversion of fractions. Over all, it could have been worse.

During salida, I always have a few girls who want to stay in the classroom and just hangout with me.  Today they wanted to play a Cd, which I allowed, and it wasn’t even through the first song before the girls decided we should have a dance party.  🙂 After finishing some work and glancing at the group I noticed they were trying out the “sprinkler” and I decided that I could defiantly help them with their dance moves.  I quite confidently strolled up demonstrating the “shopping cart”.  Oh man, I love 5th grade! They totally thought I was the coolest thing ever! Never before in my life, nor ever again, will I receive compliments for my dancing abilities, but for the remaining 20 minutes of salida I couldn’t go wrong. Song after song we were silly, dancing any motion we could think of. I even had three boys slyly move their way into our dance party. The whole thing was precious, even when my coordinator came in to see what all the excitement was about.  I’m so glad I teach were I do! Even though I was tired and had work to do, I wouldn’t trade those 20 minutes of bonding for anything in this world. So to Sarah Caley and all my good high school friends who taught me, my fantastically ridiculous dance moves, I say thank you!

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We begin again!

Well, Christmas break is over and I’m once again in my Guadalajara bedroom. In honor of the New Year, I’ve decided to break this post into “new” or “first” experiences.

1. I have a new bed! After returning to the one I had been sleeping on, I realized that sleeping on something as hard as the floor was not fun.  I decided to switch it out for a bed in a spare bedroom so tonight we’ll see if there is a difference.

2. I have a new temperature in my bedroom! Although it is considerably warmer here than in Michigan, it can be chilly at night.  Thanks to my thoughtful parents, who bought me a fantastic little heater, I am now enjoying a warm bedroom.

3. I have new keys! Well, almost all new.  After beginning the decent into GDL, I realized that I forgot my house and school keys back in Michigan. After a few moments of panic I was able to find our school director who located the man in charge of keys, who rummaged up another set for me. Tomorrow I hope to get another set of school keys to add to my new house keys. Oops!

4. I shared a cab with someone for the first time! We were both heading in the same direction and were able to split cab fare.  Not only that, but he spoke Spanish so I didn’t have to mumble my way around trying to give directions. Fantastic!

5. I saw the new movie, Sherlock Holmes!  Great movie.

6. I have a new outfit for tomorrow!  Starting the year 2012 with a fresh outfit is just fun.  Thanks to my generous parents, I have a few new outfits to model this week.  Thanks for spending Friday with me mom!

7. For the first time, I celebrated the New Year outside of Michigan! After a long day of travel and arriving late into GDL, a friend picked me up and we went out for a fancy dinner to bring in the new year. At said dinner, I also tried for the first time Foie Gras, Mahi-Mahi, and pumpkin flower soup.

Tomorrow begins a new school bimester, but in the midst of all the “new” I cling to the constant that God is still God. Who loves, provides, and seeks after me, desiring that I know and experience him to the full.

Happy New Year!

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