Monday, September 15, 2014

It Is Slice of Life Time!!

Where did the last few weeks go? I feel like I have been too busy to write.
It is time to re-evaluate and set priorities. I need to take back my writing time!

At school I have so many new students that it is taking a really long time to set routines. And once we do, new students come, and we start again. But there are also great things happening at our school:

  • I have TWO students teachers this semester.
  • One of my student teachers is a native Spanish speaker!!!
    • Last Friday we had a wonderful conversation with my Guatemalan student. His mother had talked to us a couple of days prior, and expressed her concern that her son does not want to go to university. After talking with the son, we found out that he did not think that he could go to university. I'm so glad we were able to explain to him that of course he could go! We gave a few more details and ideas of what he needs to do to make it happen (i.e. make sure that he does his math homework).
  • Next week a few of us from school are going to be presenting at a state level conference on how we continue to help our at risk students. This is a wonderful opportunity to share with other educators what we are doing that is making a difference! (Remember, we are about 45% ELL!!)
  • A couple of my senior girls really stepped up during the first week of school!
    • Our kindergarten para was out sick which meant that they had no Arabic speaker in Kindergarten. My students used they time to volunteer and help out the teachers! I was so proud of them!
  • Everybody got together before students came and made all the displays in the hallways look wonderful! There was so much teamwork happening! It is so much more colorful to walk through the hallways now!
It really has been a great start for a new school year!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Truth--Is There just One Truth? Or Can We Negotiate?

Thank you Holly for creating a space for us
to ponder the deeper meanings of life.
I have been thinking about truth for the whole week. What does truth mean for me at school, and what does it mean for me in the more deeper sense--in my spiritual journey?

At school I often struggle with truth as my English Language Learners often ask me, "Ms. my English is really good now, right?"  Do I tell them the truth about them having made progress, but still being far from being good, or do I let them live in this utopian-positive-world that only gives students encouragement without telling them the truth? Or what about the teacher who wonders what to do with the students who are not making progress, but spends independent reading and writing time correcting papers instead of working with the students. Should I tell this teacher the truth so that she/he will move away from his/her desk?

Yesterday I had to give one of my high school students a warning. I explained that his behavior was not respectful and it had to change. He was fine during the class. At the end of of class, he came to say he had a question: "Ms. do you like me?" This time telling the truth was easier as I do like him (at least most of the time:)) So when I replied, "Of course!" He in turn said, "Really?" 

What about at church? Is truth always absolute at church? Jesus died for our sins. Yes, there is no changing that truth. Jesus is coming back. Yes, there is no changing that truth either. God is the God of love and mercy. That is the truth. But what about everything else. God guides me through life. Is that an absolute truth? I believe so. God speaks to us even today. I believe so. God heals people. I believe it is true.

But then come the difficult questions: what is the truth about abortion or homosexuality? Is there a right way to worship God and a wrong way? Is one way closer to the truth than the other? Does the abortion dilemma have only one absolute truth? What about homosexuality? Does it have only one truth in our church community?

For me, there are many clear truths, but there are also as many questions that I still ponder. What questions about truth are making you wonder today?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School

The time has come for another year of school to begin. I am excited! For the last couple of weeks there has been  many changes, lots of work, and lots of positive excitement happening around our school! To be honest, yes, there has been some complaining, but overall, excitement has definitely overpowered the negative marks!

I am excited! I met some of my new students at Orientation. Some I can communicate with, and others will challenge me this year. I think I need to learn a few words in Uzbek! Right now I have no idea what that language sounds like, but I think I will need to find out.

I am having two student teachers who are doing their ESL practicum with me. I am really excited as one of then is a fluent Spanish speaker! We have had more Spanish speaking families join our school community than ever before.

I am excited! This will be a year filled with JOY!

Yes, I am sure there will be many struggles and difficulties, but I am sure that JOY will win this year! I even made a sign for me that I want to place in my classroom to remind me of the importance of JOY. (I tried embedding it here, but blogger refused to work with me--or me with it.)

If today is your first day with students, I want to wish you a joy filled first day. If you have already been in school for few weeks, I want to wish you renewed joy this week!

I am off to school! I look forward to commenting this evening and reading posts about the first days of school.