Wow, I really meant to update the blog earlier today with stories of my first week, but now it is getting late. I still want to capture some highlights and tell you a little about my students. Since it's a great number, I think there will be three points.
1. I have 19 students. 11 boys, 8 girls. 7 MKs (three of whom are at least half Bolivian/Latin), 12 from Bolivian families. With the exception of two or three, all of my boys are pretty crazy and love to play games and receive as much attention as possible. With the exception of maybe three, my girls are quiet and would love to just sit and talk with me or draw portraits of me while they wait for others to finish their assignments. I'm trying to do a good job of classroom management so that I won't have to be telling my students to be quiet all year, but my tendency is definitely to err on the side of "kindness" (isn't it actually kinder to discipline well?).
2. My students love to speak Spanish during class. But I'm not allowed to let them. Heather mentioned that it's a complete paradox that I, a linguistics major who loves Spanish, would come live in Bolivia for a year and be forced to stop people from speaking Spanish. I have one boy in particular who will raise his hand to make a comment and start telling me a story about the mosca who was in his book and how he tried to kill the mosca. Then, when I make him translate mosca into English, he says, "Why would you ever call it a fly?" Matthias is wiggly and loves to talk over me in class, but I am so excited to get to see his heart and direct his energy towards serving the Lord. I have so many funny stories that I would love to tell about all of my students, but you will hear more as the year goes on.
3. God is faithful. He is FAITHFUL. I knew so little about teaching when I came into this job. He put Ellen in the beginning to teach me the basics. He put Amy, the missionary with a Master's in Education, in my life now to give me tips and to model good teaching for me. He made my principal a woman I really like and respect, and she has training in Special Education (great because I have a boy with ADHD). The 6th grade teacher is my student's mom who has the best ideas! He put a literacy specialist in 2nd grade to help me help my ESL students, and He gives me His strength every day to plan lessons, teach, and love my students. I get to teach Bible and do a devo with my students every day. I get to give them hugs and tell them that I pray for them by name. Ellen wrote me probably the most encouraging letter I have ever read, and she told me to read it at the end of my first day of teaching. The verse I have been clinging to from that letter says, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." -Zech 4:6
If I could write a book on the last week and a half it would not be sufficient to document the ways God has worked in my life and in the lives of those around me. I have felt very humbled to see the ways that I have been taken care of. I have relied on God's strength. I have failed to rely on God's strength. I have been stretched. I have felt God's power in me when I had none on my own. He is FAITHFUL.