Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Notable Differences August 21, 2012

It’s amazing how different my new job is.  Sure I’m still teaching high school math and many of my new students are rough around the edges, as were my former students.  Many of them have chaotic home lives that affect their performance at school.  That’s about where the similarities end.  Here are some initial notable differences:

  • With class size ranging from 4-9 students “group work” becomes a whole class activity!  It makes it a lot easier to make sure the students are staying on track!
  • Teaching 4 different courses (Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2) with about 35 total students is easier than teaching just 2 courses with 135 total students… at least so far!
  • Staff meetings: At my old school, we had one per month with ~150 staff in attendance.  And, I’ll just say that most teachers did not look forward to them.  Now, we have daily meetings in the morning with 6-10 people in attendance.  Instead of staring blankly off into space and trying to pick out the bits and pieces that apply to you, every word spoken affects you in some way because you know every student and know something about each of the staff members.  We also pray for our students and each other every morning.
  • Not only am I allowed to share the most important aspect of my life with my students, I’m encouraged (and expected) to share my faith with them.  My job is not just to teach math, but to be an advocate and mentor for them.
  • I don’t have to worry about taking home papers to grade because I know I’ll be all caught up after working a little before school and during my prep period.
  • I’m finding that you can get about the same amount of work done in one 80 minute block than you can in two 50 minute class period- it makes prep work easier too! 🙂  And what makes the schedule even better is we get to see all our students on Friday!

Well, that’s a good start… you can be sure that there will be more to come! 🙂



Cup of Tea December 3, 2011

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 2:34 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

A strong cup of tea

Is what I wanna be

Steeped in the word

This might sound absurd.

But I’ll start off as

A cup of hot water

Hot with desire-

Ready for the work

Of the Word to transpire.


If the bag is only in for a second

The tea will be weak-

My life will be a wreck and

The tea will lack flavor

My faith begins to waver.


So I gotta let it steep longer

Cuz I wanna savor

The Word of my Savior.

As the truth permeates my soul

The tea’s getting stronger-

The flavor takes control.

I’m no longer weak and bland

Now on the Word

I will stand.

That’s why I wanna be a strong cup of tea-

As the Word of God is workin’ in me.


That Girl July 12, 2011

Filed under: Relationships — songofjoy88 @ 9:54 pm
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A while back, I posted a video on facebook about women having high standards for men when it comes to dating/marriage.  Just in case you missed it, here it is again:

While she does have very high expectations, her desire to wait for a man who truly pursues God is commendable.  She holds the same expectations for herself as a woman, expressing a desire to be like notable women in the Bible.

As a follow up, I think you’ll enjoy this song by R-Swift called “That Girl.”  I’ll let his words speak for themselves.

What do you think?  What are reasonable expectations for men to have for women in relationships?  and vice-versa?  Is it possible to expect too much and even start to see yourself as a martyr for the cause of singleness?  How tightly should we hold on to our expectations?  Would it help to know God’s perspective on all this?


Yesterday June 18, 2011

Filed under: School — songofjoy88 @ 2:11 pm
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It’s so hard to know where to start since my last post was from the first day of school!!! So, I’ll do my best to sum things up (pun intended :-)). I’m sure memories will resurface in other posts throughout the summer.

First the facts… this was my first year of teaching and I was assigned to teach Algebra 1 part 2 (lower level math class for 10th and some 11th graders) and Algebra 3 (12th grade). I was the only first year math teacher at the high school but fortunately there were a few new science teachers who were a great support. My district is considered “urban,” but is definitely not inner city. Although 87% of statistics are made up on the spot, I’m know I’m pretty close when I say that about 60% of our student population is economically disadvantaged. This is even more apparent in the lower level courses I taught.

Now that I’ve set the stage, here’s a quick recap of 1st semester: It was awful! I can look back on it now and laugh about how bad it was, but it really was a tough season of my life! I had to adjust to living by myself (quite a change from college life!), being a teacher (not a student!), working with older students (I student taught 7th and 8th grade), transitioning to eating non-mushy foods (still recovering from my jaw surgery in the summer), getting to know people at a new church and new financial responsibilities. I was overwhelmed to say the least. My life was completely absorbed by school; it hardly mattered when I left my classroom, because I knew I’d just be doing school work from the time I got home until I went to bed. I was miserable. But, God was faithful! Through my daily, period-by-period, struggle to make it through each day, God sustained me.

Over winter break, I had a great time visiting with family in Colorado. I am blessed with a fabulous loving and supportive extended family who encouraged me to stick with it and trust God through the struggle.  I came back refreshed and eager to make changes in how I spent my time and how I viewed my job.  I started taking a weekly cardio dance class and committed to going to a weekly young adult Bible study.  As I slowly reached out to other people and carved out time for non-school activities, I found that things at school were going better.  It was definitely a process, but God was revealing how to find my identity as “Ms. S” in Him.  He had already taught me how to find my identity in Him when I was with friends, but now I had to relearn who I was when 50 eyes were looking at me.  Gradually I felt like I was being myself in my classroom; my quirky, nerdy, enthusiastic, funny, sometimes serious  personality was on full display in room 122.  And, by the end of the year, I came to enjoy every minute of it, praising God for such a great transformation!  I think I’ve learned more this year than I could have ever taught my students!

Since my blog name is “SongofJoy88,” I’m planning on including some sort of connection to music in each post.  These lyrics from Jonny Diaz’s song “Yesterday” fit my first year of teaching well.  Check them out as you listen to the song!

Yesterday was a big disaster, yesterday I was the boss
Yesterday couldn’t have gone faster, yesterday was one big loss
Yesterday I was the big dog, yesterday I was the tree
Yesterday I rolled with the punches, yesterday keeps hitting me

But the bridge has burned, the thing I’ve learned is:
Starting new with a brand new sunrise,
Moving on with the things I’ve learned
Amazing grace has made me realize
That yesterday is a page that’s turned

(… is a page that’s) turned me ’round and upside down and everywhere but free
But I thank God for grace, amazing grace, that it’s not based on me…
Lord You came and set me free…


The other side of the classroom September 7, 2010

Filed under: School — songofjoy88 @ 6:33 pm
Tags: ,

After 16 years as a student, it’s a bit of a shift being on the other side of the classroom.  Today was my first day of teaching.  Since I like analogies so much, I’ll use one to summarize my day- a tidal wave.  You’re not really sure what happened, but now you’re wet.  All of your possessions are scattered and nothing is quite as predictable as you thought before the tidal wave hit.

Ok, I know that analogy kind of makes it sound like it was a bad first day, but I wouldn’t use the word “bad” to describe my day.  Overwhelming, yes.  Exciting, yes.  Intense, yes.

The class that was supposed to have 38 students, only has 31 now (not like that’s not a lot of students still!).  And with the exception of the 2+ hours with my 5th period class, things went pretty smoothly.  Nothing bad happened with 5th period, it was just loooooooong… which is why we’re going to watch a DVD tomorrow. 🙂  I’m really looking forward to getting through beginning of the year business and getting a routine going.  I know that once I have seating charts (doing that tomorrow), I’ll be able to learn the students’ names which will help with everything.  I’m just in input overload mode right now!

But along with all the school related input, injecting God’s truth into all of this is so essential!  Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that God prepared good works in advance for us to do!  Our everyday actions are not without purpose!  And I love this reminder in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  God can see the BIGGER picture.  I’m zoomed into my tiny little world, but God has the bird’s eye view and He is sovereign over it all.  Because of Him, I can face tomorrow! 🙂