Wow. I can't believe I've been here nearly 4 weeks already. Amazing.
Teaching is going well, but I must say I am learning by leaps and bounds. Not that my lessons are improving by leaps and bounds... but they are improving as I am frequently making new mistakes it seems. Nothing catastrophic... just things like... feeling out the difference in relationships between different classes, and learning how to approach the ones that I am afraid of with more courage, and learning what it means to "stand in my honest condition" in each one... something I was challenged to by Parker Palmer. I keep wanting to be a "good teacher" but the harder I try, the more I realize that playing the role of a "good teacher" only drives my students farther from quality learning experiences. This isn't a new realization for me, but I am struggling with it intimately right now... learning my opponent, if you will. Rolling fears and insecurities around in my mouth, until I really understand their taste, and trying to find practical disciplines that will deal with them effectively.
My access to resources here is good, but my confidence in accessing them is somewhat less, as my Spanish is limited. The stuff is there, all around me in the cities, and the net, but my lessons have been slightly more traditional than the ones I worked on for student teaching. Pray that I would not limit my horizons in creating these learning experiences for the kids. My goal was to have labs frequently, but I've only managed a few so far, as the planning and setup aspect of lab work is considerably more than a regular class. Also, classes are only 40 min. long, so a full-blown lab is difficult to manage.
The kids are absolutely fantastic though. I am THOROUGHLY enjoying getting to know them.
I sat this evening with the new student teacher who just got in from Indiana sipping Yerba Mate and munching on Chipas (a crispy Paraguayan cheese-bread snack) and it really hit me how incredible this place is. I lifted up two paths to God before coming here, one for a job at JFH Middle in Broadway that I thought was a perfect fit, and this one which I wanted, but seemed like such an ethereal possibility in a faraway place... Both were good options... The VA job I applied for in good time, and e-mailed the principal, but heard not so much as a peep from. This one worked out despite a number of footfalls and uncertainty. So... the gravitation that brought me here rather than Home... I believe to be the hand of God... and here... I am seeing how incredibly these experiences seem to be tailored to fit my desires, scab over my weaknesses, utilize my gifts... stretch my good muscles while allowing the bruised ones some space to rest. My gratitude to God for this.... this whole picture... is hard to articulate... but I feel it pushing up in my chest... sliding my adams apple farther up the neck... that choked up feeling you get when you see something so beautiful that you can't even breathe... because you know that the next sound over your tongue should by all right express something that you know there are no words for.
Thanks for your love... keep me updated!