Thursday, September 3, 2009

classroom prep

The last 3 weeks have been absolute craziness for me. Summer camp wrapped up, Living History at the museum kicked in (with over 100 degree weather), I got a sinus infection or the flu (not sure which) during Living History weekend and right at the beginning of this week.

Monday kicked off my first official day at Woodcrest! Nervousness and fear, soon gave way to joy and comfort. God totally knew what He was doing when He placed me here. All those months of unsureness and searching have lead me to a wonderful staff and a school who seeks to serve the Lord with all they are.

Teachers meetings are not exactly the most envigorating thing to be in for hours on end, but throughout my meetings I have been encouraged, challenged and stretched in my faith. I am for sure the "baby" of the staff. Everyone else is at the least 3 years older than me and at most.. well we won't reveal those ages! :)
We have talked about how to give our students a Christ centered education, how to be examples living and breathing for our students of the gospel, and how we can challenge each other as well as our students to be better stewards with what God has blessed us with.

I've worked from 8 until almost 6 every night trying to get my room ready so that I could work on lesson plans. After a full week, I think I may be at a point where I can say my room is finished! :)
I can't wait to meet my kids and get to know them and begin the real challenge-- making Christ centered history come alive for them.
I'm praying God will use me in whatever ways He has that He alone knows. I know that all I can do now is say, "Here am I.. Send me!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

answered prayer

I love how God has a great sense of humor!
I've been praying for months that He would open the right doors for me to be able to teach in my own classroom fulltime in the fall. My degree is in Social Science and so I want to teach history. Technically I can teach economics too, but ever since a correspondence course fiasco my senior year of college, I've developed a hatred for economics. So when people ask what I can teach economics is the last thing I list. If I could I'd leave it off the list.
Two weeks ago I get a call from a Christian school in Riverside asking if I would come in and interview. I did and then a few days later they asked me to come in again, and they offered my the job teaching junior AP US History and senior Government (1st semester) and you guessed it.. Economics (2nd semester)! Now of course I was thrilled about the history and government part, but the econ uggg.... How can I complain though? I have a job and that is so much more than many other people especially new teachers right now. I just think that it's totally God's sense of humor to give me what I was praying for with a bit of a challenge thrown in the mix to keep me reliant on Him!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What they don't teach you in Teacher training classes... God is faithful!

Yesterday was one of those "baptism by fire" days. Public school teachers joke about these kind of days that happen to student teachers, but I had hoped I'd left these kind of days behind me when I finished student teaching. Apparently not...

What started out as a kinda crazy day of changing classrooms bouncing between two teachers' rooms turned into a day where I wished I could just hide in one and lock the door.

Everything was going fine until 2nd period. The announcements are being read over the intercom system and one of my students asked the others in the class if they've heard of this book called "Death Note" where you can write the name of people you want to die and how they will die and when they will die. The kids start discussing how that is twisted and sick and all the "normal responses" you would expect. All except one senior. He proceeds to tell the class that not only does he know about it, he has one... WITH him in class. He then pulls it out. I demanded to see the book and noticed he'd written the name of several students that had been in my class earlier this week. The book was one you could purchase in the store and it has rules and everything printed in the front of it. Soo creepy. It's based off an Anime movie.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have given the book back to him, but I'd never been in that situation before. I was faced with the decision whether or not to take it and then essentially be added as a victim to his list (which in and of itself isn't scary, but what if he tried to carry it out?!) or wait until after class and then report it and he wouldn't know it was me. I chose the latter. He was then taken to the Principal's office and spent the day there.
The evil involved just sent shivers down my spine. Whether or not he really was going to carry out the writings, the fact he'd written it creeped me out. I knew I wasn't battling men, but rather spiritual forces as I watched him the rest of the period. The look in his eyes and the way he was acting just made it all real.

I got through the next few periods just by knowing he was going to be in the office. Then 6th period the power goes out. At first I didn't know if it was just my building or the whole school. We later found out it was like the whole town, a transformer blew, but it was chaotic none the less. I had to keep my 6th period students for an hour and a half until power came back on. I was doing fine, until some of my students (who didn't know what had happened earlier in the day) say, "If I was going to attack a school, I'd cut the power first b/c the intercom doesn't seem to be working." Another chimed in "yeah, isolate the victims!" I just wanted to run out and scream! So of course the first thing my mind goes to is (I knew it was irrational, but..) what if this is an attack.. A plot to carry out the lists. What if he found out it was me?! Thankfully one of my good friends was in the classroom next door. Not long afterwards the intercom comes on announcing that not only is it not just our school without power but also multiple blocks of the city. (this curbed both fears)

I got home and was emotionally spent after such a long day.
But God wasn't through testing my nerves! :) We then had two 3.something earthquakes. Charlie and I rode them both out and the couch unharmed, but by the end of the night, I was exhausted and worried I wouldn't sleep.
I opened my Bible seeking comfort and turned to Joshua. God's promise in Joshua 1:9 gave me the comfort I needed to sleep that night.
This morning presented its own challenge when I got to school I was the same teacher I was yesterday and there was the possibility he'd be in my class. I was trying to just remember God was in control, and as 2nd period approached I began reading blogs while the kids worked on their projects to help get my mind off the possible awkward uncomfortable situation in the next class. A family friend Sandy, who often has amazing spiritual insight in her blogs wrote about the hymn "Great is thy Faithfulness". Reading the words of the hymn and the devotional in her blog made me remember that God's faithfulness is indeed new every morning. Thankfully the young man was NOT in my class.
I'm glad it's Friday and that my week is finally over.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Gifts of Diplomacy

So as we enter into this new administration of CHANGE, one of the first changes that was made in the White House was apparently the quality of gifts given to visiting dignitaries both at home and abroad. While I realize gifts given vary, and there are no hard and fast rules about gift giving to foreign dignitaries. However, one would assume that since Britain is an important ally for us, we would want to give them impressive or symbolic, even sentimental gifts to mark the historic alliance of this new administration. Apparently not..
When Prime Minister Brown came to visit last month, the reception the Brits were met with was not as cordial as had been the custom of previous administrations. While Brown brought with him an array of sentimental, and historical gifts, Obama returned the gifts with a feeble attempt at gift giving. The British article below says it all. If you think about the fact that Brown's pen holder is made out of wood from an anti-slave ship, and Obama is our first black president, it is a largely sentimental gift. However, we return England's throughfulness with a collection of our 25 best films, which if you check out the list, I think some of those movies selected could have been better.

Now many people could say.. so it was the first real meeting.. Give them a break, they'll get the gift giving thing down. After all the flack they received from both sides of the Atlantic, you'd think the gift the Obamas would give the Queen would be something sensational.And so the White House has had a month to think long and hard about what would be appropriate to give the Queen. (I know the Obamas do not pick their own gifts for dignitaries) so a month has come and gone, and now its time for the G20, and the meeting of the Queen.

When I think of sensational IPod definately tops my list! They gave the Queen a gift that could easily be picked up at any local Best Buy! Yes, it was personalized with songs and pictures, but in reality I could do the same for any good friends if I wanted.. Ok seriously.. the person picking these gifts needs to find a new job or needs to discover GOOGLE.. It does wonders for you, as a smart 7th grader informed me this week! Now the Queen gave a standard gift that she gives to all dignitaries, now you may say who wants a signed picture of the Queen of England, but remember, you can't just pick that up at your local store.Even the NY Times is jumping on board this one..

Now you may say, Bush gave some dumb gifts too, but I looked up what the Bush administration gave to the Royals when they came in 2007 to celebrate the founding of Jamestown..
as from

"President and Mrs. Bush gave Her Majesty a bronze statuette "High Desert Princess" with a personal inscription on the bottom of the base. It is a replica of the original life size statue that is located in front of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.
President and Mrs. Bush gave The Prince Philip an exclusive sterling silver eagle box by Tiffany & Co. with personal inscription on the inside lid.
President and Mrs. Bush gave Their Majesties a leather presentation box filled with a collection of documents from the National Archives. One of the items was a copy of an original letter from President Roosevelt to her father, King George, written in 1938. There were also photos from previous royal visits and a DVD of the footage from the Queen's visit to the United States when she was Princess Elizabeth in 1951."

Now that's a sentimental gift!
Someone please bring back that gift organizer!!

Just some of the CHANGE we are beginning to see in our national policy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The hills are alive!

Today was another day of no subbing.. I've noticed that when I don't sub and I don't get up and get outside at some point in my day, I feel as if time has flown and I've not been very productive. This is largely due to the fact that much of the last few weeks has been filled with job searches, and massive papers/reading for my grad classes.

Today I decided it was such a beautiful day that I was going to go for a walk. I needed to go to the bank and the store, and since my bank is in Albertsons, I chose to walk there. I knew it was about a mile one way if I take my favorite route. The route heads down a road that dead ends near my house and is lined with equestrian ranches and cattle and open sprawling beautiful green hills. I love living in the hills, because I get to live in the city, but also feel like I'm in the country.
So I started my walk.. as I past the equestrian ranches I waived to the gardeners and horse trainers I passed. It was a beautiful day for a walk, I turned on my ipod and blasted country music and just enjoyed the scenery. Once I reached the store I realized that it was a little bit further than I thought. I headed home and on the way home I saw quail, bunnies, cows, horses, squirrels and lots of beautiful birds and wildlife. It made me realize how amazing God is. Being the history geek I am I began thinking about how the land looked like 160 years ago when the earliest settlers of the area would've been arriving. It was nice to find spots where there were no people, or development and its pure untouched green hills.
When all was said and done, my hour walk took me a little over 3 miles round trip, but it gave me a great time to sing country and not have anyone hear, and also take in the beauty and creativeness of our God. I think we all need to do this every once in a while.. Be still and know!

Friday, March 27, 2009

life's lessons through kids

The last few weeks have been a battle for me. A battle physically, spiritually, and mentally.

First off, I battled one of the worst sinus infections I've ever had. I was so sick I couldn't keep anything down and couldn't get out of bed due to a raging migraine that lasted for days. During this time the only thing I could do was lay there and think and pray. God and I did a lot of chatting during that time. The fact that right before all this hit pink slips went out in the districts bringing with them a rather gray cloud of doubt and worry for many of my friends that soon trickled down to me. I began thinking, if my friends who are teachers and have been there for a few years are in jeopardy, what are my odds? Slim to NONE.. with more of an emphasis on the latter. God really began to impress upon my heart that I needed to stop looking at it with the glass half empty mentality and begin to work on my attitude. He is in charge and will provide.

Since our college group has stopped meeting I've kind of felt lost. I've been praying that the Lord would guide me to where I'm supposed to be. Two weeks ago I started going to my church's young adults ministry and I'm beginning to really love it. It's different than the ministry I was in before and I'm trying really hard not to compare the two, but I think the more I go, and the more involved I become, the more it will begin to feel like home.

This last week I've kind of been the bouncing ball in education. I've subbed two days in high school, Kindergarten, and then junior high math. Even though Kindergarten is not my thing on a permanent basis, God used the little rascals to remind me of what true worship looks like. I turned on the Jana Alayara CD on Tuesday for them to do a few songs in worship, and to my surprise each and everyone one of them begins singing the songs at the top of their lungs and getting all into the worship. I had one of those moments where I thought, "What if we as adults cast off all our insecurities about worship and how others viewed us and could worworship the Lord fully like these little guys?!" What an awesome thing that would be! So I jumped "on board with the Lord" (and the kindergartners) and we sang our hearts out about living life according to God's Word. then.. I moved on to junior high.. and though junior highers are ... well special I guess is the best word for them! :) I found they too taught me a lesson. I was dealing with a particularly challenging class of 6th graders who didn't really want to take their math test, and were full of the giggles, the more I fought to gain control, it seemed the more their little senses of humor and lovable spirits made me start to smile and eventually laugh. They were just too much. You'd think they'd be too cool to come and give hugs, but the girls come running up and say, "I haven't hugged you today!" Oh that we would be like that with God.

Needless to say I'm back in high school today, back to the land where drugs, gangs, and teenage hormones reign supreme. Just when I think I know where I want to be next year God changes things up. I thought I wanted to be in public school, there's such a mission field here; but after my few days at Western, I find myself wishing for my smiley face Jr Highers and elementary kids who love Jesus and aren't afraid to tell you so. Where are you going to put me Lord? That's the question I keep asking.. and for now, He smiles and says "Just you wait and see... ;)"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I love these kinds of days!

So today was a "Behind the Scenes Tour" at the museum. This is the 4th weekend in a row that I've been at the museum,(and I'm working the next 2) not to mention I have to be there every Weds. night to do train the docent wannabees :) anyways... Phil offered to swap tours with me since I had the late shift for the day, but I told him I'd be fine. I'm soooo glad I didn't swap with him.
Today history came to life on my tours. On my first tour I had a 94 year old man who lived in La Casa Nueva (one of the houses at the museum) during the 20's. I had to priveledge of giving his family the tour of the house, and then he told me what he remembered growing up there and how he slept in one of the houses and what his jobs were at the ranch and then when we were in the courtyard of La Casa Nueva, we have a picture of the servants and workers on the ranch on display. There is a picture of him, his mother, brother and sister. He took the picture and said, this is me, and pointed to each by name. He even remembered taking it. It was soooo cool. I use that picture everytime I give a tour, and now when people ask is anyone who lived here still alive, I can say yes, Gavino, the little boy here, and I had him on my tour recently. I was sooo excited. It was like history jumped out the picture and into 2009 from 1926.
Throughout the rest of the day other members of Gavino's family were there (they had a reunion at the museum).
As if that wasn't enough excitement for me on the same tour that I had Gavino, I also had Pio Pico's great grandson. Pio Pico is another important player in the story we tell at the museum.

So because we had such a historical day.... we called Josette, a volunteer at the museum and... the great great grandaughter of Workman, to come so she could meet Gavino (since her dad and Gavino were friends) and Phillip (since their great grandfathers were friends)
It was soo cool to watch history come alive. I hear teachers discussing how they want their topics to come alive in their classroom, and while it's cool as a teacher to see it happen, it was so much more fun to have it come alive for me today.... Oo I still have chills! So yeah... I'm a nerd, but I love it!