Sunday, March 7, 2010

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. — Mohandas Gandhi
Yesterday our students presented science projects where they found alternate re-uses for water bottles as they learned about trash, recycling, and building materials.
Elias and his group made a rocket ship.
I really love these 7th through 11th graders, and I have barely known them two months! This is one of those "first year teacher lessons" I am learning- you become very attached. On Friday night B and I had Tony, fellow teacher, over for dinner- well, technically, for homemade salsa and guacamole (our first Haitian experiment with Tex-Mex staples!). We decided it should count as a Staff Meeting, or, at the very least, an Interdepartmental Mixer, because we did have the entire English, Math, and History departments represented. :)

Another reason it should count for some kind of staff development or inservice- all we did was talk about school. Specifically, the kids. We just love them- we worry about them, we're rooting for them, we're pained when their work is way below their potential, we jump for joy when they're excited and passionate about our subjects. It's emotionally exhausting!

I think this is magnified for me for a few reasons. One, I'm a first year teacher. In the children's ministry where I've worked for more than ten years now in Dallas, my first group - of VBS kids, of 5th grade girls at summer camp, of 6th grade retreat kids- has always been special. Second, there's the obvious- the quake. Third, I think the small size of our current student body makes us more parental, more one-on-one, more relational, more concerned about each student. I have 24 kids- total- in 7th-11th grade. I eat lunch with them, I spend the study hall hour with them, I wait with them for their parents to arrive after school, I play cards with them.

There are huge blessings of having such a small group. For instance, I actually have time to individually meet with every student following a test to review their grade. I am about to assign an essay, and I know I can individually meet with all 24 kids after both their first and second drafts. When I have group discussions with each grade level, it's just me and 5 or so kids- such a tiny group makes for rich, personal, active discussions of literature and all manner of life topics. With so few kids, I've just gotten so close to them, in such a short amount of time, especially since I'm the only female teacher working with the junior high and high school girls.

All this to say- I love teaching, and I love these kids. Did my high school teachers feel this way about us? I had no idea.

Katie

PS I've gotten my appetite for reading back. Working on Three Cups of Tea, Forgotten God, and a nice fat backlog of TIME mags. Perfect for a rainy, chilly (can it be?!) Port-au-Prince Saturday.

3 comments:

  1. I subbed for a high school English class on Friday. The assignment was to list the qualities of a "hero". Ideas like brave, unselfish, not seeking glory came up. Students were asked to write a deliverable letter to a person they knew who was a hero to them. I've had many (most long since passed) in my life, but your lives were on my living short list. Stay strong.

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  2. I taught school a lifetime ago, and yes, I felt that way about my kids. You have a particularly strong relationship with yours for all the reasons you listed. I think it's absolutely wonderful that you love these kids. You may be the teacher who inspires them for the rest of their lives.

    I'm old enough to be your and Ben's grandmother, and you're an inspiration to me.

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  3. Makes my heart smile to hear the joy that teaching is for you. It is not like anything else and yes you had teachers that felt the very same attachment to you, maybe not exactly, but close. I still think and pray about so many of my students. They forever changed me and taught me so many things. What a gift you are to teach of them!!

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