Our semester ends on Tuesday December 20 and I am smiling. The students have been doing SO WELL in classes and I have seen each of them make great strides in reading, writing, understanding, language proficiency in ASL, Bible precepts, mathematics and social skills.
This year, I am the only full-time teacher. The group pictured above shows the students who are mine every morning. They run the spectrum from the 10-year-old who is the youngest and tallest of the boys (the other two are 13) to the 18 year old who is the oldest and shortest of the girls (who are 16 and 15). From the left, you see Edgar, Larimar, Mizael, Maria, Juan and Yajaira. All of them are amazing kids and I am so proud of their progress. Seriously, they have worked hard I am excited with their efforts.
Having said that, let me tell you, there have been tears and struggles along the way. They are normal teenagers and have their moments of attitudes and frustrations that create daily drama. One day, one of them arrived to the classroom only to sit down and bawl their eyes out. WOW. I sent the rest to chapel and said, “Sing until you see us arrive.” Seems there had been an argument with the parents and it arrived to the classroom unresolved. We talked and of course, I asked, “What did YOU do wrong?” (after hearing how unreasonable parents can be J )And there was a confession and we talked about what needed to happen next… Pray for the parents of our students to desire to learn ASL so they can communicate with their children more easily.
There are also days when I have a student in class time who needs a hand. I can ask one of the longer-schooled students to act as “Teacher” while I take the problem student to the office. Praise God for my social worker/office girl, Tess, who is learning to handle these situations… either she will go to the classroom or she will talk to the student in need so I can return to the classroom. It’s been working well for me. Not sure Tess gets her work done all the time…
We’ve had a few “NEW” experiences this semester. Yes, after 32 years here, there are still a few things that have not happened before. Why do they happen on days/nights when I am tired? My dorm supervisor, Lora, has a good handle on the three dorm students and she has things running smoothly… until one of those teenaged attitudes pop up. They are so unpredictable. After one incident, as I was debriefing the student, I asked, “What did Lora do wrong?” The student replied, “Nothing. I just FELT angry.” Praise God that language skills (which relate to how we reason and think and process life) have improved so that THAT statement could be made! Pray that each of our students would continue to grow in their understanding of themselves, others and GOD so that they too can share His love with others.
Christmas is 8 days from today. My mother arrives Christmas Day at 1 for a 12-day visit and my friend Laurie Teel arrives at 3 p.m. that day for a 6 day visit. I am excited to have them coming and for the break I will be able to have from the classroom. My lesson plans are already made for January 11 and the beginning of the next semester so I can have some time to relax and enjoy family. My sister arrives Dec 30 so we will have a family celebration for the New Year. (Probably sleep through it!) Thanks for reading and remember to check my blog for regular updates.
Hugs and prayers – Betsy