Saturday, February 19, 2011

Valentine's Day Week

This week has been completely different than last week. A large contributor was a change in my attitude toward life in general. Over the weekend, I realized that most of the time, I'm concerned with doing things my way and having things be just so. In other words, I'm a perfectionist. Anyone who has entered an elementary classroom knows that this mode of thinking clashes severely with the reality of the classroom. Naturally, this caused a lot of inner turmoil for me. Back to the weekend. Prompted partially by the reading of "Me, Myself, and Bob," by Phil Vischer, I decided to let go of myself and all my desires, hopes, and plans for the day and instead focus on living in the center of God's will each day. That mental decision made all the difference this week! I've had fun. I've been much more relaxed and flexible. I'm suddenly not concerned with the amount that I'm teaching, but rather the impact I'm having on my students.

Monday was Valentine's Day, so my teacher and I decided to make everything center around Valentine's Day, ending the day with a party. I have never seen so much candy and sugar in my entire life. The Friday before, I had sent a newsletter home with my students, mentioning the party and that each student should bring something to share. They definitely took my request seriously! All I can say is that I'm glad we had the party at the end of the day, right before all the kids went home.

On Wednesday of this week, a new girl joined our class. She's a sweetie. Thursday was the last day for another girl who is moving to a different district. Things are always changing and that's ok.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hanging on for dear life

Sometimes I feel like this frog ...
Sometimes my days are crazy and I feel like I'll never be able to get everything done. Between planning my lessons, working out the final details of our wedding, and the latest, looking at housing options (we think this is the place we're going to go with - the second 1BR video), I feel a little overwhelmed. But things are coming along and God always gives me enough strength to meet the needs of the day.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Student Teaching and Job update

So far, I'm enjoying my student teaching fairly well. I've been able to get to know a lot of the other teachers, which just makes everything nicer. At the beginning of my placement, I was having some issues with another teacher treating me like a teacher and not a gopher. I realized this week that somehow, our relationship has changed and she treats me much more like an equal than before. My teacher is fun to be with. She loves to teach and has tons of great ideas. I have had some trouble adjusting to her style of teaching ... she tends to yell, which I do not do nor do I want to do it. Last week I found myself contributing to the negativity. Since then, I've done my best to encourage students and point out the good that a few might be doing in order to motivate the rest to behave.

My current goal is for my students to walk quietly in the hallway, in a single file line, with their hands behinds their backs. This is the schoolwide procedure, but my students somehow missed the memo. We've been working on it last week and this week. They are definitely getting better! Again, I've found that positivity and praise has better results than telling the students what they're doing wrong.

Starting next week, I should be teaching full time. Right now, I'm supposed to be teaching everything but two things. However, most days that doesn't happen. That is probably my biggest frustration right now. At the beginning of my placement, my teacher and I sat down and plotted out when I would begin teaching every subject. But, for whatever reason, she will often teach it anyway. Or, we will get extremely off schedule and won't have time for certain subjects. I'm at the point where I know I can teach on my own (my teacher was sick and not at school on three different days and I taught everything) and, while I value her input and advice, I just need to teach. And, as silly as it may sound, I think the biggest thing that annoys me right now is that we are way off schedule, both daily and for the longterm. What can I say ... I love my schedules!

Fun fact, I've only had one 5-day week so far! Between meetings, snow days, and teacher inservice days, I've really lucked out!


In other news, Peter was hired at Notre Dame last Friday! He will be working at the OIT help desk. We originally heard about this job opening last September, around the same time we decided to stay in South Bend after we married. The job didn't actually open until December. Peter applied and had his first interview two weeks ago. He received a call a week later telling him the position was between him and another applicant and he would have to do anther phone interview. No pressure! Well, about ten minutes after his interview, his boss called and offered him the position! God is so good! Deciding to live in South Bend was a huge step of faith for us. It meant that Peter had to leave his job in Michigan and move here with no way to provide for himself or us. But God has always been faithful to each of us and has always provided what we needed. This is a testimony of His power and goodness!

We are currently looking for a place to live. Originally, we were going to rent a house, but we are now thinking that renting an apartment/duplex may be wiser financially. We would both like to pay back our college debt as soon as we can, while saving up for a house of our own.