Archive for February, 2011

I feel ya Dorothy.  There’s no place like home.

Heading home.  Excited to kiss American soil…er snow.

Just one request.  Can the Immigration Officer stateside please say, “Welcome Home?”  Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don’t.  I just want a guarantee.

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My first semester of teaching was by far the longest semester of my life.

After going through grad school and undergrad, with four semesters of 20+ credit hours in order to finish two degrees, this one was still the longest. I think it’s because in teaching there are so many more variables than there are in learning. There are so many things I can’t control, namely my students. As a student, I only needed to worry about myself, now I’m trying to make sure no man (or woman) is left behind.

I can come to class prepared, but I can’t make them pay attention.

I can lecture, but I can’t ensure they will learn.

I can motivate, but I can’t guarantee they will study.

I can give them tools, but I can’t be sure they’ll use them.

Some days I feel like I’m in the inner city of Chicago, with kids that I’m rooting for more than they’re rooting for themselves. And then some days, I feel altogether satisfied. In this past week, I’ve had four days of satisfaction that have made ALL the hardships of this past semester worthwhile:

Day 1: I was reviewing my students on some vocabulary words they had learned over the course of the semester. They were knocking them all out of the park. The moment that made me smile was when they started saying the words with attitude, like, “How dare you ask us these easy words! Of course we know their meanings!” That’s when I realized that unbeknownst to them, whether they wanted to or not, they had learned.” I responded, “I think I tricked you into learning!”

Day 2: In helping a student finish his final project, I received the following message via e-mail:

“I really loved the course very much and learned many good things that would help me in my work. May God bless your work and ministry.”

Day 3: To cap off a chapter about breakthroughs, I had my Advanced Reading students share a breakthrough they have had or would like to have in their lives.  Though some did the project begrudingly, I’m proud of the finished product.

Day 4: As I was grading my first set of final exams, my eyes ran across the following.

“Thank you Mrs. for your well being.  God bless.  I going to miss you.  Love you my sweet teacher.”

It made this I-just-finished-my-first-semester-of-teaching teacher SMILE!

Whether you gave me a hard time, jabbered the entire class, gave me a Christmas card or a sweet word of encouragement. Whether you were the “OOOO! OOO! Me!” student or you averted your eyes when you were about to be called on. Even if you were the student who got tricked into learning this semester, thanks so much for making my first semester of teaching quite memorable. And all of my thanks go to God for bringing me (sometimes carrying me) through!