Reaching Multiple Generations

I was first exposed to overseas missions in elementary school.  My world grew multiple times over as I listened to stories from all over our globe, read books and absorbed whatever information I could find.  At that age I knew nothing about what it took to send and keep these people overseas, working towards the great commission in the way God had specifically, uniquely and wonderfully called them.  I now know and can see that God was using their lives and stories to impact, influence and change me.AboriginalColoringThese pictures are from a couple of the opportunities we’ve had to share with groups other than adults.  With younger kids I like to do hands on projects and Aboriginal art is a great way to not only let kids play with colors but also to talk about how different cultures tell stories and how God shares his story with us.  For the youth Ryan used technology (reading his Bible from his phone) and asked a lot of questions to keep the students engaged.  RyanAs Ryan and I prepare for Australia, we are not forgetting the multiple generations that will come after us.  The Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”  This is still happening and not yet fulfilled.  Maybe it will happen in our lifetime, maybe not.  But I do know that until it will be fulfilled, that there will be opportunities for others to follow and do their part in responding and acting on this beautiful charge from scripture.  Of course, the nations are in many ways coming to us and missions looks very different now but that’s even more of a reason to get involved.  We are thankful to be able to share our story and hopefully encourage and inspire multiple generations.

ESL- The Last Week

20160126_110438Two main lasts are happening this week.  I’m happy about having only a last couple of days without Ryan but I’m sad that today is my last day of teaching because I have my final evening class.  I really enjoy teaching ESL to adults.  As much as I love teaching kids, adults are motivated and interesting in a different kind of way.  I have loved getting to know my students and their stories.  I will miss them.  20160126_110303And they will miss me.  Yesterday during my last morning class the students surprised me with a party complete with a cake, flowers, cards, pizza and other food.  I really appreciate their effort and planning.  It made the day extra special.  I wish all the students could have been a part of it but that’s one of the realities of working with adults, they come to class around their work and kid schedules.  This is only a part of the awesome class that made teaching so enjoyable for me.  Maybe in the future, I will have an opportunity to teach English again.

Teaching Science and Fun

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I’m not a science teacher but sometimes science is a great way to expand the mind and it lends itself to basic literacy and numeracy as well.  Lately, we’ve done a couple fun experiments and art projects that all center around plants.  These projects also make the classroom more colorful.  They include color changing carnations, flower parts and a happy tree with hand print leaves.  Happy fall and happy learning everyone!

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A Day in My Life

Although Ryan and I are moving towards Australia, we are still doing our best to be present and make the most of our relationships, jobs and life here.  So coming back from Atlanta, I dove right back into work.  Monday was filled with meetings and today I was back in the classroom.

For my adult ESL class we reviewed different tenses based on their level, did worksheets, had conversations and finished the class with a writing activity in their journals.  Writing is a skill and editing is another skill.  We’re currently working on both and I use this handy little chart to remind the students what main things to be looking for when editing their own work as well as editing each other’s work.  This class is super motivated and they really enjoy learning and working together.  It’s nice to teach students who you know are there and ready to learn.
The Editing Cycle

While my first class of the day was pretty tame.  My ABE class (adult basic education) is always a little more upbeat and lively.  We reviewed numbers and colors and what plants need to grow.  This whole term we are focusing on plants but we throw in other basic knowledge and skills to keep the students interested and learning.  And we try to do activities that engage all their senses including videos like this one when we’re counting, we might as well exercise at the same time.  This class loves coloring and listening to 50’s music while they work.  They take every opportunity to get up, dance and move.

More Teaching Hours

My stacks of teaching materials and papers are currently expanding.  In an effort to allow Ryan to work less while we’re in transition to Australia, I’ve taken on more hours at work.  I now have three classes that I regularly teach at the local adult school.  These classes include the multi-level ESL class that I’ve been regularly teaching since the end of April at a local plumbing company, Mr. Rooter.  This course will hopefully continue to grow and expand despite some of the recent challenges.

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I’m also teaching a level 3/4 ESL combination class two mornings a week.  I subbed for this class regularly last year and I am excited about working with my co-teacher who will be in the class the other 3 mornings a week.  Level 3 and 4 is great because, as another teacher put it, the students already know a lot but they still have a lot to learn.  It’s exciting to continue to work with adults who come to class because they are motivated and excited to learn.

And if you look closely at the picture of materials, you might also catch a glimpse of a biology book.  No, I haven’t magically become a science teacher but my third class is an ABE class.  ABE stands for Adult Basic Education.  I will be co-teaching with two others teachers in a class of about 50 adult students with varying degrees of disabilities.  These men and women are also very excited about learning and this year many of our lessons will be centered around plants and planting.  We have a grant that will allow us to buy and plant succulents which is a great hands on activity.  So I’ll be working on some simple lessons that teach about plants, growth and basic biology.

These classes are great opportunities for me to keep learning and growing in my teaching and educating abilities.  It especially fun to be able to work cooperatively with other teachers who bring in their own unique ideas and abilities.  Although Ryan and my ultimate goal is still Australia, I know this time will not be wasted and I’m excited to see what this semester has in store.

Teacher Appreciation Week

20150512_111006I was hired just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Of course, I’ve been subbing for about a year now but this is the first Teacher Appreciation Week that I’ve been official staff.  It’s sweet to be included in the festivities.  I was handed a card complete with a hand written note from the principal yesterday and today was included in the passing out of shiny red apples.  Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all my teacher friends!

ESL and Mr. Rooter

Typically plumbing is not synonymous with ESL.  However, I don’t tend to stay on the typical path so I’m excited about my newest work opportunity.  Today I start my first Adult Ed teaching assignment (other than subbing) and it happens to be sponsored as well as take place at a local Mr. Rooter.  The company is starting this class for their employees and also opening it up for the community.

Mr. Rooter

This class is definitely a great opportunity but it also presents some challenges.  It will be a multi-level class and today I’m walking in only knowing generally what level the students might be.  But I have a lot of support from other teachers and the Adult school so I’m excited about all the possibilities.  Teaching adults is wonderful because they are self motivated and they attend these classes because they want to learn.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know this class and maybe I’ll learn something about plumbing too.

“My” Classroom

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Welcome to my classroom.  Well, it’s not really my classroom because another teacher uses it for the evening class and I’m just the substitute for the morning class.  But for the next three weeks, at least, I will be teaching the morning ESL class for pre-literate students.  I’ve already been subbing for this class part-time and I jumped at the chance to take over the class full-time when the other substitute needed to back out due to prior commitments.

The students in this class are great.  They are adults from the surrounding community and include Spanish and Thai speakers.  We’re doing very basic English but it’s fun to watch the students discover and help them with the challenges of English.

Adventures in Substituting  

I normally substitute for ESL at an adult school.  A classroom full of motivated adults is a far cry from a classroom full of wiggly elementary students or hormonal middle schoolers.  But there is a school just a stones throw from our house so last year I had submitted my paperwork just in case they ever needed a sub.  I was never called and had no intention of subbing there this year so assumed that I was off the list.  But Monday morning I was called because they needed a substitute for PE.  Sweatpants at work?  Yup, I’ll be there.

IMG_0520This is what the school looks like from our front door.

I arrived at campus on Monday and braved three periods of junior highers who were definitely not excited about soccer drills and running laps.  The day got a little longer when I was asked to stay after PE to fill in for a teacher who had chipped a tooth.  So sweaty and still in sweatpants, I found myself in a 4th grade classroom teaching a math lesson.  Means, medians, modes, etc.  Not my strong suite.  And the students also had to teach me how to use the interactive white board.  This is a far cry from the overhead projectors used when I was in elementary school.  After lunch things went pretty smoothly when we switched over to social studies and the kids just needed to be kept occupied until their teacher returned numbed and swollen from the dentist.

I really don’t mind subbing for elementary and middle school and there is a lot for me to learn and engage with.  This is a formative time for kids so it’s special to be a part of that if only for a random day here and there.  But with that said, I definitely prefer the adult ESL classes.  I not only get paid more at the adult school but I actually get to teach subjects I connect with and am passionate about.  And best of all I get to engage with and get to know students who want to be there and want to learn.

But whether at one school or another, substitute teaching is always an adventure.

Another Job Update and Back to Curriculum

It has been a few years since I’ve gotten to dig my fingers into curriculum development and I’m excited that it is now a part of my new job.  When I wrote my last job update I had simply applied at a couple schools as well as a temp agency to see if I could get any subbing hours.  A few days later I got an email from a woman who had my resume from an earlier reply (back in January!) to her job posting.

We had a great first meeting and this is now my third week teaching for her.  The company offers online ESL classes that connect Chinese leaners to American English teachers.  Since it is a relatively new business she is hiring teachers and starting them with students one on one while she develops the curriculum for larger online classes.  5 days a week, I am working with a student who is preparing to come to the US.  We have an interactive online classroom complete with audio and video chat.  And I also get the joy of  helping her work on the curriculum.  The teaching time is fixed but the curriculum time is flexible so it works around the other things already going on.

But the best part really is that I get to work on curriculum again and use the skills and training I started developing back in Papua New Guinea.  I’m already starting to feel the activity ideas and organizational structures coming back.  It feels good to be back working in an area that I love.