Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Sort of Person Am I?

This evening I walked outside to check the mail. I happened to be barefoot at the time, so I took the opportunity to step barefoot in the snow, just to see what it would feel like.

It was freezing cold. So cold it brought pain to my feet.

But I felt it. I experienced it. That's the sort of person I am.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rock Star

I had the day off from my regular duties today. 7 hours of professional development isn't much of a break, but I did sleep in for an extra hour, and I didn't have to deal with my students' problems from dawn til dusk, which is an important mental break.

Having a substitute in my room is stressful. Will my kids live up to my expectations without me there? Or will they disappoint me with their disobedience? I'm always hopeful, but most of my children don't define "character" as what you do when nobody is looking at you.

So on my lunch break I decided to visit my school, which is only a 3-4 minute drive from the training center. I popped my head in unexpectedly on my 7th grade class...and everything was running perfectly. Everyone was where they should be. The substitute still had her sanity. All was in order. I rejoiced!

Then my students realized that I was in the room. Chaos ensued. It seemed as if I had been gone for weeks they way they mobbed me, droppin' high fives, fist pounds and chest bumps like we had just won the World Series.

And several hours later, I realize that being treated like a rock star validates us. It validates our work. It validates our relationships. It validates our existence, our purpose.

I pity people who seek out that validation, because that is not a good way to live. But when validation comes, I will enjoy it, not as validation for who I am, but for what I am doing in the Kingdom.

Rock on!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Names Have Been Changed to Protect Identities

I have many, many good stories that arise from my daily work.

I teach 6th, 7th & 8th grade children how to improve their reading skills, and the teaching part is interesting enough; the lives and actions of my students push it to a whole other level.

It feels weird to even type this sentence, but my life is more interesting and unpredictable now than it ever was when I lived in Togo. In my previous life, the unpredictability of life was predictable. I expected to see naked woman walking around in public blowing a goat horn and dancing to Michael Jackson while balancing a chair on her head. In my public school life, I truly never know what I'm going to get.

There are laws that protect the identities of children, laws that I am grateful for as a professional educator, so I can't post names or pictures of students.

But I can share funny stories. Life lessons. Teachable moments. Ghetto pranks. Breakthroughs. Connections. Impacted lives. Changed lives. Saved lives. My daily work.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Red Meat & Pop

I'm into marking transitions in meaningful and interesting ways. I recently switched jobs and continents, and I can't imagine a bigger transition than that. In order to mark that transition, I decided to not eat red meat or drink pop for one full year.

It's kind of a strange thing to do, I know. It's not like I consume mass quantities of either item, and neither red meat nor pop have been something that I crave on a daily basis. They are luxury items, however, and giving them up is somewhat significant.

I've instructed April not to adjust her menu in any way. Go ahead and make tacos; I'll just put beans on mine. Feel free to grill some burgers; I'll eat some leftovers. Pop is easy enough to avoid; water is always a better option, anyways. And I'm not giving up beer :)

This year without started on August 1st, 2010, which roughly coincided with the beginning of school. Every time I pass on an opportunity to eat a steak or gulp down some Cherry Coke, I'm reminded that God has done something good, that my family has been provided for.

I'm kinda looking forward to August 1st, 2011. If you're not doing anything that day, please join me for a thick, juicy steak (maybe a 6 nations?), a bottomless glass of pop, and an extra large helping of Praise and Thanksgiving!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Urban Riding

I recently explored downtown Memphis with my camera and my bike. I love to ride trails, the deeper the forest the better, but urban riding has it's own set of merits. Try it if you get the chance!

Friday, July 30, 2010