While part of me can’t comprehend where the last four months have gone, another part of me is screaming from the rooftop “PTL, I’M FREE!” I finished an entire semester of teaching Middle School in China! Though it has been full of challenges and at times almost overwhelmingly hard, I can loudly confirm that I love my school. I love my students. I love my co-workers. I am a proud ISQ Dolphin!
I am already looking forward to another great semester! (but not before a much-needed holiday break)
It has been a different, yet familiar experience in the past three weeks to learn of students moving to other parts of the world at the end of the semester. Four of my students left today and I am unsure when I will see them again. Our school does a really good job of ministering to departing students and helping them 'leave well', so that they can be successful wherever they end up next. Sadly, I didn’t have this type of RAFT building poured into my life when we left Senegal and I have felt the burden of that loss for many years. I am so thankful to be a part of a team that is dedicated to helping students in this way. I have had a number of conversations with our Middle School guidance counselor reflecting on things I wish I’d had when leaving.
Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are super sentimental. This past week, I was able to go around and film all of my leaving students’ classmates and have them share nice messages of farewell to their peers. Then, during our large group assembly, we were able to show these surprise videos full of affirmations to them. What a special age to be teaching and modeling encouragement and affirmation toward one another! This should always be a characteristic of the Body.
Another huge praise is that one of my departing sixth graders wanted to know how to become a Sister to our Father in her second to last week of school. She used the phrase, “I would like to know how I can become official.” It was precious, and she was able to speak words of life and be adopted into our Family. On her last day in my class, I was given the opportunity to bestow upon her a Book with both English and Chinese translation. She was so thrilled to receive it. It is heartening to know that even if I never see this young lady again, one day we will attend the biggest celebration in history together. Please keep my young Sister in your thoughts as she moves across the globe with her family. But also! Please speak words of praise and gratitude to my Father for the way He worked in her life. I am so filled with joy.
LEARN TO COUNT, BRO
Well, who knew that learning your Chinese numbers could be one of THE MOST HELPFUL LANGUAGE TOOLS OF. ALL. TIME. What do I mean? In Mandarin... time, price, month names, names of the days of the week, addresses, and more...!!! All of these things I have a successful grasp of! How? Simply by learning my numbers. For example, yesterday the water man came and while he was here I asked for more water coupons. He told me the price… and I knew it immediately!
Just tonight my roommate was having to confirm a code on her phone. The numbers were spoken aloud by an automated voice, and she was struggling to follow it. She came to me for help and I got the code right on the first try! Success! When someone asks you for help and you are actually ABLE to help, that is a real confidence booster! Am I right? Language learning definitely still progresses slowly, but every time I have a success I am reminded that I could not do any of this in my first few weeks. *DABS*
Sometimes it isn’t about the size of the growth, but instead, the intentionality in simply growing at all. [Words of wisdom, you’re welcome. $5 please.]
"THE JUNGLE BOOK"
To begin, I wanted a story that was relevant to the international community I am in at the moment. Rudyard Kipling was a TCK. He was British by passport, but spent most of his life in India. The main character Mowgli, in his own strange sort of way, is also a TCK. In fact, in the script there is a scene where Bagheera explains to Mowgli that though the man-village is where he was born, it is not his home. This is a sentiment that I as a TCK understand and have felt my whole life! “The Jungle Book” is also a story of identity. Identity is something very relevant to middle school students. This adaptation also puts emphasis on what it means to keep The “Jungle Law” (an ideal really delved into in Kipling’s novel adaptations of this adventure tale). Animals are known by how they respond to the “Jungle Law”. For example, the monkeys live for pleasure, doing what they want when they want. Full of selfishness and disrespect. Meanwhile, Shere Khan uses the law to fuel his hatred and bitterness toward humanity. At the same time we find characters like Bagheera and Baloo, who strive to teach Mowgli that how you live in response to the “Jungle Law” influences what kind of ‘person’ you will become in life. I think this central idea can reflect significantly upon our school’s Truth-Centered focus and hopefully stem conversations about what the “Jungle Law” in our world.
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I organized a improv centered group auditions, as well as, sat through almost 40 individual student auditions. I will admit I am looking forward to this show more than anything else next semester. I can’t wait to watch students grow, learn, and be transformed in a way that can only be done through the performing arts. I cannt wait to share with you all about this experience and how I too am changed by the Father’s moving and speaking in this production. By my Father's hand Theatre has been a key influence in the motivations I had to become a teacher, I truly believe that this show has been in Abba’s plan for a lot longer than I could even imagine. P—y—s of wisdom and blessings would be so appreciated!
I'LL BE 'HOME' FOR CHRISTMAS
Thank you for blessing my life with your presence!
"For unto us a child is born."