Conversation Time with My Students

Each day in class we have conversation time in both my morning class and my afternoon class. We use questions that connect to real life and vocabulary they learn in class. As we talk, the room is usually filled with laughter. Some fun examples from yesterday:

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While talking about what we do when we have a cold, one of the moms said, “My husband is a cry baby when he is sick.”

While talking about places they want to visit in America, one mom said, “I don’t know anywhere. I have only been in Lincoln.”

When the students begin to joke with me, it is a sign for me they have become comfortable with me as their teacher. Yesterday while talking about where we buy food, I shared with the moms. “Russ’s Market because I can order online and they bring it to me.”

One of the moms giggled as she said, “if you go to the store, you can get exercise walking around the store.”

I try to keep the class fun for them as they learn. They have enough stress already as busy moms during the COVID pandemic. Each morning, I pray for them. The school year is going fast as fall break is only three weeks away.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Ability vs Opportunity

One message I communicate with my students is that ability and opportunity are not the same thing. They may not have had the opportunity to go to school and learn before. They may not have had the opportunity to learn English before. But that does not mean they do not have the ability.

The moms in my classes come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some were in refugee camps. Often they do not know which country they will go to until a few days before they leave the camp. Even if there was a school to learn a language, which there isn’t, they would not know which language to study until a few days before leaving the camp. Some come from places where little girls do not go to school. Some went to school but only until the 6th grade.

I share with them that they will discover abilities they did not know they have because they did not have the opportunity before.

Yesterday we checked out Chromebooks for the moms to use. One mom had never touched a computer ever in her life. I sat next to her and showed her how to log in. Then I turned it off and showed her what to do as she turned it on and logged in. We also sent her first email. Then I told her she will learn about using the Chromebook step by step.

Seeing them explore and develop new abilities is a blessing. It also makes me think about Jesus and us. Jesus does not call the qualified to do things. He qualifies those he calls to do things. He empowers those he calls and equips them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Coming Up For Air

One more week after this week of my crazy insane schedule. I am experiencing an overlap of my summer evenings classes in Zoom and my morning/afternoon classes in the schools. My evening classes will end a week from tomorrow. So my blogging is kind of like sending up the periscope at this time.

One would think sleep would come easily but when I get in a period of time like this sleep is not so easy. But there are weekend naps ๐Ÿ™‚

Coffee is my best friend right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

I already have my crash and burn session planned for the weekend after this coming one. lol

Until then it is teach in the morning 8-12, teach in the afternoon 1-3:30, and teach in the evening 6:30 to 9:30. Oh and lesson plan in the afternoon.

Then after next week a glorious thing will occur.. I will have my evenings free. It will be a wonderful.

Until then please understand if I do not respond to comments right away.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Creative Moms in My Class

Each year when my morning class starts, the moms spend the first two days decorating the room. It gives them time to make it their classroom and build community with each other. The best thing I can do is stay out of their way and let them create.

They took a blank bulletin board

and made a Calendar Wall out of it.

They took another blank bulletin board

and made a message board out of it.

They took an empty window

and made this.

They had other projects as well. They helped me organize the room too. Now we are all set for a good school year. I am sure they will love all of the homework I give them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Where Has This Week Gone?

My apologies to bloggers I follow. I have not kept up this week. But the weekend is coming, so there are posts to catch up on.

Where has this week gone?

It has been a week of meetings, prepping my classroom, teaching online, and of course the doctor Wednesday afternoon. A guy could use a nap. lol

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It is so good to be back in the swing of things. There is a fun energy to the start of a school year. I just wish my evening online classes had finished before my morning class starts. ๐Ÿ™‚

When my evening online class started, I did not need to have a light on. Sunlight came in my window. Last night, I turned on my light at 7pm. One sign of fall checked off.

When I went to the clinic in Omaha, the coffee shop was selling pumpkin spice lattes. Another sign of fall checked off.

Fall is coming. It is my favorite time of year with my class in full swing, cooler weather, and fall sports.

How has your week been?

What is your favorite season?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Summer Over- School Year Begins :)

Summer is over for me starting this week. Yes, it is still sizzling hot and could be for a few more weeks. But tomorrow I begin my week of being back at school every day preparing for another year of Family Literacy.

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I am looking forward to the school year even though with the surge in COVID cases in my area, we will once again be wearing masks and following protocols.

Monday will be meetings all day. Tuesday will be meeting the new childcare para and starting to set up my room. Wednesday will be morning only because I have a follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. Thursday and Friday will be finishing touches on getting ready.

Then on Tuesday September 7th, it will happen. The moms will enter my classroom. I will only have set up the table and chairs, gotten to materials ready, gotten familiar with the new computer programs, etc. But it will be the moms who will decorate the room. They will transform the barren classroom into one decorated by them. By doing so, they make it their classroom.

My summer slumber is over. It is back to 6:30 alarm clock, coffee-lots- in the morning, and sharing my jokes with the school staff.

What are your plans for the week?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Inside My Mind

Come with me on a journey through my mind. It is not scary. I promise. Well maybe a little scary for some but not my readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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A recent example was on Tuesday. I was at school and the Social Worker who has done things with the moms in my class before talked with me.

She said to me, “Matt we can get some new sewing machines to use with the moms. What do you think?”

These are the thoughts that raced through my mind.

“I can’t even sew on a button.”

“If I lose a button, it forever becomes an under the sweater shirt in the winter.”

“Sewing machines? I have never used one.”

“Oh wait a minute. Maybe they don’t expect me to do anything other that set aside time.”

Then out came the appropriate response.

‘Sounds great. Let’s do it.”

God knows our thoughts. Psalm 139:2 says:


You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceiveย myย thoughtsย from afar.

I think God gets a chuckle out of my thoughts sometimes.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

An Energizing Day at My School

Yesterday I went to the school where my morning Family Literacy class is. Each August when I go to my classroom. I wonder how bad it will be. It was not too bad.

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halfway done

I got some of the room done and will finish it next week. School starts next Monday, but my Family Literacy Class starts September 7th. I have a few weeks to take care of many things such as finish lining up speakers for the fall for our Thursday Community Info time, meet with other teachers etc.

I got a new ID badge in June, but sent an email to the teachers I know well asking if I should have used this photo from a retirement party in May.

It may surprise you that it was a unanimous 100% yes from my colleagues. One even said it captures my personality. ๐Ÿ™‚

When the moms come back to class, they will make the word wall, the class calendar for September, and decorate the room. I like to have them do it because it builds community among them and also gives them ownership of the classroom. One item that will be included is this poster.

I like the message. I want the moms to think of themselves as being empowered in my class.

It was wonderful to interact with my fellow teachers yesterday. We had Open House. even though my day was teach online 12-2, at the school 2:30-6, and teach online 6:30-9:30, I felt energized as the reality of a new school year dawned on me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Coffee and Planning for the School Year

One of our local Rotary Clubs in my city has adopted the school where I teach Family Literacy, They have done wonderful things such as raising money for new playground equipment, donating books, reading with children and more.

They have also arranged speakers to come in and talk with the moms in my class about various topics such as healthcare and finances.

Tuesday morning we had a coffee meeting. The school principal, assistant principal and I met with four people from the Rotary. We discussed many possibilities for their involvement this school year which begins in ten days.

Coffee while discussing the school I love being at made for a wonderful morning. The realization that my summer is almost over dawned on me that morning. Pun intended- dawned on me ๐Ÿ™‚

Next week I will be in the building preparing my room, meeting with teachers, and contacting students. After the past two years I realize I will need to be ready for anything.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Has Already Brought One Change in July

Earlier this month I shared about how God brings changes in my life in July in my post-July Is Here What Will Happen?

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For twenty-one years I have taught in the mornings and evenings with a patchwork of part-time gigs that gave me opportunities to be known among the refugee and immigrant community in my city. Being part-time supported home missionary and teaching part-time has been a wonderful experience, but the problem has been my schedule limiting what I can do with my evenings tied up.

Effective this school year, I will be teaching two Family Literacy classes, the one I have taught in the mornings and a new one in the afternoons at a different school nearby. After twenty-one years of having most of my evening tied up, after my current online classes end in September, I will have my evenings free from now on.

I will praying about what God wants me to do with my free evenings. I have some ideas, but want to make sure they are leadings from Jesus and not my own.

I will continue in my part-time ministry role with my church as well. When I say part-time, I mean financially supported part-time by my church. I spend more than part-time with it.

A nice added change with this is going to be much better benefits for me and my summers free. Summers free to hopefully travel. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another nice little extra is by teaching for the public school system and no longer the community college, my breaks will be complete breaks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading. God Bless.