Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to School!

With the start of school a month ago, I thought it was high time to post some reflections on my life back in the classroom (something I have been meaning to do since the end of school in June and that has not happened because of our crazy furlough schedule).  Last year was a whirlwind of changes for our family - one of those being that mommy went back to work part time.  I enjoyed being back in the classroom - in a support role (meaning no lesson plans, no grading papers, and minimal paperwork).  My jobs consisted of a lot of hands on work for the main teacher (cutting, filing, grading, testing), accompanying my class to their 'special' classes, recess and lunch duty (my least favorite part of my job last year - you should try lunch duty with 45 four and five year olds!)  I became really fond of my class of kindergarteners - highlights of the year being the "Kindergarten Market" where they learned about goods and services and created a 'job market' out of boxes.  Interestingly, I have never been interested in teaching the younger ages, until I had children of my own.  My own children opened up the wonderful world of early childhood and how much fun (and work!) it can be to work with those ages.  Being a parent has helped me be a better teacher, just as preparing to teach helped me with parenting.   I also enjoyed working with a wonderful team of other teachers and aides and have appreciated those friendships as they have developed.

At the end of school, we made memory books for the whole class, with a picture and a sentence about why they liked that person.  The kids made one for me too, and here were some of the things they wrote to me:
Helyn: When she takes us to recess.
Juanes: Because she takes care of me and she loves me.
Mia B: I like Miss Julie because she is pretty.
Molly: She helps when we're sad.
Daniel: I like when she reads me stories.
Thomas:Miss Julie tells me my work.
Arianna L.: She helps when we need snack.
Catalina: Miss Julie helps us to do the swings.
Mateo: Miss Julie likes me.
Arianna S.: She brings the snack when we eat snack.
Sebastian: She comes with us to lunch.
David: She works with me.
Mia T.: Miss Julie hugs me.

So that was last year.  This year, I am doing something a little different - getting me back in my field of special ed.  I help coordinate a preventive and remedial education program for the kinder classes.  We screen kids for strengths and weaknesses in reading readiness areas, and then I get to work with the kids at-risk to help improve their reading readiness skills.  So far I am enjoying being able to work with these kindergarteners one on one - and I no longer have to do lunch duty!

The girls are enjoying being back in school too.  Michaela is in 2nd grade and it seems like to me they are already doing so many harder things than in 1st grade!  I can't believe how big she has gotten - and am loving the time we have reading together every night.  Eliana is taking kindergarten by storm - already a fluent reader, and playing so well with so many of her little friends from last year (her best friends are little boys!).  Jana has started preschool and has a wonderful teacher with 2 red-heads of her own.  Jana has already decided which little boy in her class she wants to marry :)  

I pray every day for wisdom as I mold not only the lives of my children, but also reach the lives of so many others.   I took great comfort from this verse in my study of James the other day. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt."