In June 2010, I was in Ensenada Mexico with a group from my church. We were there for a missions trip One morning while I was praying during that trip, I felt Jesus show me that he wanted me to learn Spanish. My church paid for me to take Spanish classes for one year.
Over the years it has been a blessing in ministry and teaching, but yesterday a whole new aspect was realized. I was in my classroom getting ready when the phone rang in my room. It was from the front desk. A woman from Mexico needed help and the liaison was not in the building. They asked me if I could help. I went down to see if I could help. She needed another copy of a paper for her doctor to fill out for vaccinations for her daughter. I translated for her with the school nurse. It was the first time I translated for the the school.
Having that experience yesterday motivates me to practice my Spanish even more. Having that experience and being able to use Spanish to help my beginning level students in my afternoon class fills me with gratitude that Jesus showed me he wanted me to learn Spanish eleven years ago.
Each month the moms make a new calendar for our class. It gives them ownership of the classroom. I admire their creativity and all I do is tell them important dates to put on the calendar such as birthdays, days of no school etc. THis was September’s.
Yesterday I had a conversation with one of the moms. Hsar Ro Paw is one of my Karen People students. She has made so much progress over the past two years. We had the conversation while she was working on the calendar. It went like this:
Hsar- teacher you have the 14th as no school and the 27th as PLC Day.
Me- Yes that’s right.
Hsar- teacher are you sure about the 14th and the 27th?
Me- I’ll look.
After I looked and realized my mistake.
Me- You are right Hsar Ro Paw. It is the 15th no school and the 26th PLC Day. I was looking at the calendar for next year.
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:
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
It wasn’t very long ago when it seemed like everyone was looking out for me. Everywhere I turned, help was available. My parents worked hard to provide for me. I had teachers who cared for my future and took time to ask about my day. I had multiple midwives checking in on my health. I […]
It’s a wrap. This morning is the final class for the school year for my morning class. This crazy COVID year is coming to an end. This morning we will have a celebration with all of the students being in the classroom and there is so much to celebrate.
I am so proud of the moms in my class. They began the year feeling uncertain about many things but they stayed with it. They learned a lot of new tech programs such as using Zoom, Google Quizzes etc. There English levels improved noticeably. They helped each other and the sense of community actually got stronger among them.
My assistant was awesome. We had an adventure together and she handled all of the unexpected things well and even tolerated me. 🙂
This school year has been unlike anything I have experienced in my over 20 years of teaching. I am so proud of my students and my assistant for not only making the best of a difficult situation, but for excelling during it too.
I am so thankful for Jesus helping me through this year, for my morning times with him, for how he helped me through his people, and for everything.
It’s a wrap. Looking forward to a better 2021/2022 school year.
In my morning Family Literacy class, when one of the moms is expecting a baby, we have a baby shower for her. We have been doing so every year. This year one of the moms will have a baby in July and since tomorrow is the last day for our class, we had a baby shower for her yesterday.
The other moms brought gifts and one of the moms took them to the expectant mom. She opened the gifts while we watched via Zoom. She was about half way through the gifts when those of us in the classroom had a surprise. It was fire drill time. The fire alarms went off and we had to leave the room for about ten minutes.
I laughed inwardly thinking it was a fitting end to a crazy year. Having class during this past year of COVID has meant having many moments of needing to be flexible. No harm done. We came back after the fire drill and finished the baby shower.
Tomorrow we will have an ice cream celebration in class. All of the students will be in class. Hopefully no fire drill tomorrow. 🙂