Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

October 26 October 28, 2009

If you’ve talked to me at all in the past week, you know things have been pretty crazy.  But as usual, God’s faithfulness has been just as relentless as the craziness!  There’s no way I can get into everything here, so I wrote a poem:

Somewhere In Between

Reconciliation & Heartbreak- This stuff keeps you awake

Gain & Loss- Brings me back to the cross

Healing & Hurt- Feeling like dirt

Restoration & brokeness- A deep need for forgiveness

Hope & disappointment- Jesus’ blood is our ointment

Love & pain- Feelings you can’t contain

Clarity & Confusion- Sometimes reality is an illusion

Peace & Violence- The loneliness of silence

Forward & Back- This is whack

Acceptance & Neglect- Jesus longs to protect

Truth & lies- We wear a disguise

Comfort & Fear- Through it all, Jesus is near 🙂


Beneath the Surface October 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 8:19 pm

Since I just got my braces yesterday, I told my teacher to plan on teaching today because I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling.  I’m pleasantly surprised with how little my teeth hurt.  As I write this, the place that hurts the most is my bottom lip which is kind of getting torn up by my braces… maybe I’ll put some wax on them.

Anyways, I pretty much just helped out as needed today.  The students worked in small groups and used mini-marshmallows and toothpicks to construct cubes.  Then, they counted the number of toothpicks (edges) and marshmallows they (vertices) used.  There were some questions about parallel and perpendicular lines too.  Overall the kids were quite well behaved today (especially for coming back from a 4 day weekend!)- I’ll take it.

As always, there were a few exceptions.  Tara got put out of Ms. M’s class, so I took her with me to the cafeteria to work on some sheets from her workbook that were similar to what the rest of the class was working on.  Before getting started, we just talked for a bit… When I asked her if she had a good weekend, she quietly shook her head “no.”  I asked if there was anything good about her weekend, and she told me “no.”  So, I asked if she wanted to hear about my weekend.  To this she nodded “yes.”  I briefly shared about my weekend and then talked with her for a little bit about her behavior (which has been worse than usual the past few weeks).  A few times as I was talking with her, her mouth opened just enough for a genuine smile to creep out.  At the same time, I could sense that there is a lot going on beneath the surface.  I told Tara that if she ever wanted to talk to me she could and if she would rather write me a little note, she could do that too.  But no matter what is going on outside of school, there is still work that needs to get done.

Please pray for Tara and that I would continue to build trust with her so that she feels comfortable talking with me.  Also, please pray that my love for my students and teachers would overflow from the neverending love that God has for me.  I know that Tara  is not the only student with stuff beneath the surface… and there’s teachers with stuff hiding underneath too.  It is my prayer that God would give me wisdom and discernement as I love on these people and build relationships with them! 🙂


Brace Yourself October 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 9:25 pm

You know how Paul said that, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).  Well, after getting braces, I look a lot more like a 12 year old (about the age of my students)!  Yup, that’s right- I got braces this morning… I was back in town for all of like 20 hours total.  I got braces, a haircut, new clothes and new shoes!  I also exchanged some summer clothes for some sweaters and sweat pants!

I really do like driving, so I didn’t mind driving a total of 7 hours this weekend (4 day weekend- whoo hooo!).  The trees were absolutely beautiful!!!  I could not have picked a better weekend to drive home! 🙂

Since we had Monday off (it was a professional development day, but I missed it- it’s ok, I’ll get over it!), we’re heading into a 4 day week!  This is great.  You can’t beat a 4 day weekend sandwiched between two 4 day weeks.  And on top of that, I got to see friends back at MU (and turn in the one project that I have for student teaching!)!  And this next weekend I’m going on a weekend retreat in Indiana where I will see MU and UC friends 😀

You know, it’s hard to write about student teaching when you don’t have school… you can expect more about school next time- brace yourself! 😉


Make it a Great Day, or Not… October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 8:21 pm

…The choice is always yours.  I heard those words everyday in high school at the end of the announcements.  Today those words echoed in my head as I realized just how true they are.  If you read my last post, you probably got the impression that Friday was not my best day.

Today was a new day, a new week, a new opportunity to improve on the crappy end to last week.  I handed my lesson plans for the week to my cooperating teacher as soon as I walked in the door and chatted with her about her weekend.  Most of the day, she pulled a couple students out during each class so it was just me teaching in the classroom.  The boys’ groups were a little bit crazy (as is common, a couple of the boys act out and disrupt the entire class).  With the R Group, I was trying to explain a few things to the class, but Robbie and Darren were making that impossible.  So, rather than fight it, I let the students start working on practice problems and I worked with a couple of the guys who were ready to work- letting Robbie and Darren choose not to do their work.  The guys I was working with got quite a bit accomplished and they were no longer unfairly deprived instruction because of their disruptive classmates.  At the end of the day, my cooperating teacher commended me for the way I handled Robbie’s behavior and reminded me that when I work with small groups, I should never have my back to any of my students- especially if I sit down. (did you get that all you ed majors?!)

Overall, today was a productive day.  We are now working on the geometry standard so we’re getting into all sorts of angles: supplementary, complementary, vertical, adjacent, acute, obtuse, right… and tomorrow alternate interior and corresponding angles.  We also talked about parallel lines and perpendicular lines.  I asked students to look around the room to give me examples of where they see parallel or perpendicular lines.  They had lots of great responses! 🙂  I had them take notice of our tile floor that is full of parallel and perpendicular lines- I told them that the tile floor was like a cheat sheet that I could never take away from them.  It’s fun to make up random stuff when you’re in the front of the room- haha!

One of my goals is to have students take more responsibility in the classroom.  Today we cleared out our binders and will hopefully be putting dividers in them sometime soon (maybe Thursday)!  Also in the next week or two, I want to get the classroom jobs up and running (I started that process several weeks ago, but other things have been prioritized.)  Lastly, I really want students to recognize the importance of completing resonable amounts of homework problems so that they can have some extra practice.  As an incentive, I told them that the class that has the most people complete their homework this week will get a treat (candy, cookies or brownies!).  I think I’ll make “homework meters” so they can see them fill up when students complete their homework.  We’ll see how that goes… 🙂

Time to get a few things done so I can make tomorrow another GREAT day!!  By the way, I really enjoy reading your comments! 🙂


Questions October 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 4:00 pm

I know I’m a teacher and I should probably have a few answers… but not today.  All I’ve got are questions…

  • How can you impact someone in just 4 months?
  • Are teachers any less insecure than their students?
  • If some teachers are writing off students and calling them “hopeless,” how did they end up in the front of the classroom?  Will tenure keep them there?
  • Which is better- to give the impression that some students are your “favorites” or to hate some students saying that they will make you jump off a bridge or using profanity and put-downs when talking about them?
  • What percentage of female teachers are sexist?
  • Was Jesus ever accused of playing favorites?
  • Has anyone considered the possibility of spreading positive “gossip” about students among other teachers?
  • Where is the line between criticizing someone constructively to build them up and criticizing someone to try to bring them down?
  • When should you speak up?  When should you shut up?
  • If you’re trying to give every student special attention, are you still playing favorites?
  • How do you balance love and sternness?
  • Do some people decide they are going to have a bad day before they even turn off their alarm clock?
  • What does it mean to succeed?
  • How can you have direction if you have no one to follow?
  • What kind of future are we helping these kids work towards?
  • What do these kids (and teachers) really need?

I Can’t Punch Education October 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — songofjoy88 @ 10:15 pm

It’s funny the things you learn from 7th and 8th graders!!  I was talking with a student, Jason, about expressing frustration and whatnot.  To this he replied that he is “a fighter.”  I told him that he just needed to figure out what was worth fighting for- like a good education.  “I can’t punch education!” was Jason’s emphatic response.  Sometimes there’s nothing more I can say…

This week I’ve been working with small groups in a different classroom, apparently at the principal’s request.  It has gone well and I’m enjoying this extra time to build relationships with the kids.  Also this week students are taking the district-wide benchmark tests which they take each quarter to keep tabs on their progress.  This means that we have two classes each day.  So with the small groups and two classes a day, this week has been pretty low key… aside from my trip up to NW Ohio and Michigan for some orthodontist appointments (left Tuesday after school and returned Wednesday evening).

Apparently the 7th and 8th graders were awful when I was gone on Wednesday.  One of our academic aides said that they were the worst he’s ever seen them!  Yikes- maybe it’s a good thing I was gone.  Or maybe me not being there threw off the consistency that we had going.  In any case, the students were fine today.  As I was greeting the students this morning, two of the girls ran up to me to give me a hug. 🙂  I love those moments!  I definitely welcome this positive feedback!