Yes the school year is over and I am moving on to other things during the summer. I haven’t been very diligent about updating this blog and I have to apologize for that. My busyness this year, which I thought would be less, actually wasn’t. So I want to spend some time on this update with a review of what this year was like with regards to being a teacher at an International Christian school. I began the year with high expectations of both my students and the experience, maybe too high. I quickly realized that my students here were pretty much the same as my students back in the states, even if their accents are different. Many had the same bad habits as my former students of not doing their homework, not putting their name on their papers, talking when they shouldn’t and all those things that teenagers do everywhere it seems. Every year there are those children who challenge me with those behaviors and this year was no exception. And there are always those students who are bright spots in my day, whether it is just to make me laugh or to make me proud of the progress I see in their lives and their academics. It is always my hope that I have positive influence in their lives, and I hope and pray that they are able to see Jesus in me and how much I truly care about their lives. I am so excited that next year I will be able to teach some of the students again. The 8th graders are of course moving on to high school, but the 6th and 7th graders will be moving up and I will have the wonderful opportunity to teach them again. And I will also get to teach the new 6th graders moving up from 5th grade, most of whom I have met already. What a great opportunity to continue the relationships I had with them this year, to already know their strengths and weaknesses and guide them to a successful year.
One of the best things about this year was being able to worship with my students in chapel each week. Of course trying to worship and keeping one eye open for misbehaving students is not always the easiest thing to do, but I loved it anyway. The lessons in chapel were geared not only to help the students see what God was like, but also their need for HIM. Despite the fact that I teach at a Christian school, many of my students are not saved and have not put their lives and faith in Christ. Most probably go to church on Sunday, but that only makes them a churchgoer not a Christian, not a follower and disciple of Christ. When they realize that they are sinners, and they have no power in themselves to conquer that sin…and then see that Jesus does have the power to conquer sin in HIS death on the cross, then they will see their need for HIM. I know that some of my students came so far this year in their thinking and I pray that they continue on that journey of learning of who Christ is and what HE can do for them. I also pray for the students who do know Christ, as they struggle with the temptations and peer pressure of their unbelieving peers. They struggled so much this year in trying to be an example and to not follow the crowd, knowing that it wasn’t God honoring behavior. I encourage those students with this scripture from 1 Timothy 4: 12 “Don’t let anyone look down on your because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” And from Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” I pray that they will get strength and courage from the Lord and be able to be a witness to their peers.
Overall, I really enjoyed this year of teaching. It was probably the hardest year, with 3 different grades and 4 different preparations for class. I have to be much more organized next year so I don’t feel like I am just barely keeping my head ahead above the water. The planning time that it takes for 4 preps left little time for much else. I was exhausted by the end of each day and just wanted to go home, eat and go to bed. In the states, when I had days like that, I would veg out in front of the TV, but I really don’t have TV here, so that is not a distraction. Next year I will probably also be teaching bible and if something doesn’t change I may end up with teaching two different electives, which means 5 preps each semester. I hope the schedule can be worked out so that I don’t have to teach anything else as I will have very little planning time. That is one of my biggest prayers for school for next year, that I will be organized and be able to plan for all my classes and have time to grade papers quickly.
A few Highlights from this school year:
-teaching on the most beautiful school campus on Earth (amazing) and having lunch outside everyday looking at the beautiful rain forest beyond the school.
-watching my privileged students interact with underprivileged kids from a slum school (priceless)
-tacky day during spirit week….always amazed at what they think is tacky. (humorous)
-the grounds keepers killing a hyrax (very large rodent) right outside the classroom (horrible)
-the Christmas talent show (nervousness, anxiety, joy and heartbreak)
-the girls lock-in: roasting hotdogs and making smores (awesome…most had never roasted a marshmallow).
-Middle school game night: an evening of games and movies on campus. (uh no words)
-finding a dying bush baby (a very tiny primate) right outside of our building (very sad)
-all the kids with the soft spot in their hearts for our two impaired students (agape love at its best)
-getting internet in the classroom (YEAH!!!) -frequent finds on campus of chameleons, interesting insects, birds and other occasional animals (wonderous)
- seeing my 8th graders teaching the 2nd graders about forces (proud)
-seeing my environmental science class teach the pre-K students about recycling. (proud and humorous)
-also the Middle schoolers helping the kindergarteners catch bugs (too funny)
-the beginning of recycling program at the school (very glad and very necessary)
-teaching some of my students how to do sustainable gardening (frustrating with NO rain)
-seeing my ‘cool’ boys choke up on the last day of school (sweet)
-saying goodbye to the few who wouldn’t be back next year (very sad).
So that is this school year in a nutshell so to speak. Sorry there aren’t any pictures but I would have to get written permission to post the students’ photos. I know that next year will be even better than this year as some of the challenges are behind me and I know that God will give me the strength and courage to face whatever challenges are presented for next year. I pray that God blesses my school and brings students, faculty and staff even closer to HIM. May we serve HIM with joy, awe and wonder, always and forever.
Blessing In Christ, Pam
Next Blog coming soon….Foreign to Familiar (RE: living in foreign country and how it has changed me): next few blogs will focus on ministry and missions that I have gotten involved in.