Repairing and Improving, with Joy

I will have some classes to teach for the next week and a half… French classes.

I wasn’t sure how exactly I would approach it all, until this morning, that is.

In the first class of the day, it happened that two of the students had a sibling who had been taught by me during the first quarter of this school year, also for French.

After answering some of their questions regarding things like, ‘Do you really only talk to them in French?’, we entered into a natural and almost immediate discussion on whether I could do that with them, these students I have now.

We talked through the method I follow, as well as some whys for it, and every single one of them was enrolled in the idea: Yes, we want to do it, please.

It was almost shocking, but also not, when I considered how I have always loved such opportunities as a student.

Nonetheless, I was delighted.

And so we began setting up their tools, discussing barriers they are likely to meet, and preparing overall for what was going to start next class meeting.

I even gave them homework, and they were okay with it (and surprised themselves that they were okay with the specific assignments).

They left with excited nervousness in their space, and I was delighted with the whole ordeal.

Another two younger siblings were in my next class, and discussion arose – though differently than before – regarding my teaching methods, eventually reaching the point of my asking them whether they would be interested in using the method for our time together.

They, too, were unanimous in the affirmative.

The final two classes of the day were even more willing to be enrolled into the idea than the morning kids, and some even went so far as to smile really largely and to bounce and say how excited they were.

It was adorable.

… and refreshing.

I can hardly wait for next class. 🙂

Note: It had seemed that having everyone on board and truly understanding the expectations and the hows were my biggest struggle in the past…, hopefully, this one day in mostly English will be the needed improvement for me… fingers crossed!! ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Love you long time…

Waiting on an unknown kid to return the borrowed keys that now need to open a door for me, I chitchat with the coach whose keys they are.

I turn as a kid enters, see that he is beginning to hand the mass of keys back to the coach, and I say, somewhat smirking-smiling, “You’re the one I’m waiting on for these keys?”

It is one of my students.

He hands the keys over while I am saying this, and he gives me an affirmative answer, along with a small chuckle and a reasonably large smile.

Just as he is beginning to show his pearly whites and adorable little grin, I notice that he is about to run into me… no, that isn’t it,… without any pretext, he has simply stepped toward me, arms outstretched and he now hugs me, sweetly, while telling me that he misses me.

(Remember that my teaching ended last week, and this was my first day not being their teacher anymore.)

“You wouldn’t have even had class with me today,” (they have a sort of rotating schedule), “so you haven’t even had time to start missing me.”

“I know, but I still miss you.”

I love being in the classroom with kids, but I also really love being in this kind of relationship with them, where they speak comfortably yet still entirely respectfully to me, and interactions are more like real life, and less like a staged hierarchy of nonsense rules of society and propriety (mostly totally due to arbitrary age decisions).

I love kids.

And I love offering what I have to share that can help them move forward on their respective paths to glorious adulthood and making a beautiful difference in this beautiful world.

Yep… And I also love hugs…

Post-a-day 2019

Le jour last, part II

Today was my last day of classes in this role… it went beautifully and wonderfully.

I sang my students a very important-to-me song and blessing (ukulele accompaniment and lead vocals by yours truly), and they really got it, and it was clear they felt the love.

I felt the love from them, too.

And I felt how powerful it can be when I approach something with my heart, who I am and doing more and more every day to be who I want to be…

When almost every single freshman left class, and just had to hug me – and I don’t mean lame half-hugs, but genuine love hugs – before leaving, I really began to become present to the positive impact I have had on the lives of all of these boys.

And I am extremely grateful to God for, firstly, the capability within myself, and secondly, for be opportunity with these boys.

Thank you.

Sat baam.

Now, to sleep, because I have events and grading to do this weekend, and I just really want to sleep a while…

Post-a-day 2019

Oopsie

Today, at the beginning of one of my classes, my students had an oral quiz.

For oral quizzes, they always have to call the same phone number, which is a Google Voice number I chose years ago for this express purpose.

These students had used the Google Voice number before, and most of them just have it saved in their phones, since we use it every time.

A few students, however, did not have it saved today, and so asked for me to write the number on the board.

Okay, sure.

I think about it for a minute, and then write out the number, somewhat confidently and totally surprised – I always have to look it up constantly at the beginning of the school year, and I hadn’t realized that I had re-memorized it again already…, but go, me!

Within thirty seconds, a few students are telling me something…

‘Is that number right?’

‘I think so,’ I reply, ‘but I can check.’

And so I pull out my own phone to go log in and check the number, which is what I usually do in the first place, so it’s no biggie to me.

‘I don’t think that’s the right number,’ others tell me, a sense of assuredness in their voices.

‘Oh, really…?’ I consider…

Suddenly, it hits me: “Oh!… That’s my best friend’s number!” I declare, quickly erasing the number from the board.

Laughing, I put up the correct number, and I marvel at how similar the two are – extremely similar, with just the middle numbers swapped with the end ones.

I shake my head, and I wonder if anyone had already been in the process of leaving a message….!oops

Guess it would be good to give her a heads up… or, perhaps, it would be more fun to leave her with a voicemail of someone praying in French… 😛

After all, that’s what friends are for, right? 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Sans wifi…

Students found out today that I have no television and no wifi (which means no Netflix) at home.

‘But what do you do at home?’ they ask, concernedly.

Well, tonight, I made this, while listening to a crazy mix of music (through my speakers) on a iPod I found that I think my dad handed down to me years ago…, possibly with a good part of the music included…

And now, I’ll go to reading as “Silver Bells” sings along gently on the speakers…

Farewell, digital world – goodnight.

Post-a-day 2019

Life and Language

No, I don’t watch television.

Do you watch Netflix, Hulu…?’

I don’t have Internet, wifi at home.

“Your life is boring,” he declares, matter-of-factly.

The other kids begin to panic, eyes wide at his blatant statement of potential rudeness to the teacher.

I laugh heartily, tell them how to say it all in French, and then mention how I’m actually really busy a lot of the time, and that my life is actually rather interesting – a fact which even takes me a bit by surprise in the moment.

I laugh and smile some more while they recover.

Later in the day, I am told…..

Actually, I am so tired, the memory I was intending for the past few hours to share has decided to go on vacation for a while…

I guess we’ll find out later, if it ends up coming back… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Weird Dreams

I had a dream last night in which I attended an odd sort of reunion for my elementary school.

There were really only about ten people in attendance, and it took place at my elementary school.

However, I haven’t actually been inside my elementary school since it was torn down and rebuilt years and years ago, so, I was a little lost in finding the right room at the reunion… I even came across a room for another reunion first and said hi to a kid I knew from middle school and who didn’t go to my elementary school, but that didn’t stop my brain’s having him be attending his own reunion in that particular classroom at my elementary school…

My mom had dropped me off, and given me a kiss and wished me a good time, and I was slightly nervous but also oddly comfortable – I haven’t seen these people in almost fifteen years, but that didn’t seem to matter (or, perhaps, it helped)…

In the actual hangout, we were all sitting at some tables at one point, talking as a group, when the guy next to me makes an executive decision, and full-on kisses the guy next to him on the mouth.

Immediately following, he declares that ‘well, now he knows’ what that’s like, at which point I notice distinctly who the two of them are: tall Kevin W. kissed little Ryan S.

(Mind you, this is how they were as kids, and so my brain decided to mature them while maintaining the relative heights.)

And no one had a problem with it.

One guy made a comment jokingly, kind of in remembrance of something stupid he would have said back in the day, but, now that none of us cares about homosexuality, he wouldn’t have even thought of being uncomfortable or if making a stupid comment… actually, that was why Kevin kissed Ryan – because we were talking about how we and thins had changed and that homosexuality wasn’t something anyone teased about or was uncomfortable about… if a guy kissed a guy, gay or not, we wouldn’t care…

And so then Kevin kissed Ryan, even though neither of them is it was gay, and our point was proven that none of us minded, and Kevin and Ryan got to see what kissing one another was like.

And then it all shifted and there was somehow a pool and people and we were participating in a swimming party for our reunion gathering… my mom dropped something off to me at some point – perhaps it was a swimsuit…. – and I’m not remembering much else in enough detail to describe now, so I’ll leave it at that.

It was a fun gathering and idea, and an even more fun dream – I kind of wish we could do a real one (and I wouldn’t mind if Kevin decided to kiss Ryan at this one, too!)… it would be nice to see everyone again and to see how our lives led us forward… I think I would like that very much. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Today’s Gloss

What to say, what to say…..

What did you do today?

I worked out super earlier, then slept in late, then walked around this fancy posh place.

I hung here with my mom, and then my aunt and grandma, too.

And we had fancy dinner, and we laughed so hard over our food.

Then we lounged in our connected rooms, and gabbed and chatted some more.

And now we’re all to bed*, and I’m grateful no one snores.

Such a good day.

Oh, and I had a reunion chat with the kid who tried flirting with me on my first day as his French teacher (and my first official day as a full-time teacher), because he thought I was just a new student… he works here… he’s gorgeous and all grown up now… and it was still hilarious. 😛

*We each have our own queen sized bed tonight… super posh and fancy, are we not?

P.S. We are here because I am a professional photographer, and because I am making wonderful connections and am doing photos that make the right people happy and delighted and grateful… how lovely it is to treat my family to such posh-ness as we never have together… truly lovely… Thank you, God

Post-a-day 2019

Tantalizing Fantasizing

At this one school where I worked, it wasn’t that I felt unappreciated, because I didn’t…, but more that I felt unnoticed…, which, in a way, feels kind of way worse.

I remember finding myself fantasizing about receiving this particular award at the end of the school year – it was an award given to a teacher whom the senior class had elected as invaluable for their own educations… aka an extra-special teacher.

Since the students elected it, I had a chance of actually winning the award, though I had so few of the seniors, it wouldn’t happen, anyway.

Nonetheless, as I sat amongst the miniature version of the band during the senior awards ceremony, at which this teacher award also was awarded, I would ‘read aloud’ in my head the write-up they would give about me, before officially revealing my name… mentioning how I was involved in many areas of the school: dance PE class, teaching foreign language, helping with theatre on many levels, assistant coaching and co-founding the women’s lacrosse program, helping and participating in band events, actually playing trumpet in the band (including at this ceremony), founding of an acts of kindness group on campus, and much more in the unique realm of student interaction… and the kids would choose me for the award, because they acknowledged my utter awesome-ness and outstanding-ness as not only a person but a person who encourages and empowers them to be the best people they can be… I think no student who has known me would deny that fact.

My students know that I love them and that I want all the best for them, including if that means they need to suffer a bit to get themselves straightened out… they know and understand this all just from being with me in class or the various activities.

I take no nonsense, which they know, too, but my love and concern for them are unwavering and undeniable, and they know it.

I miss that.

And that is why I allowed myself to fantasize about receiving the award – if enough kids had known me, I could have won the award… if the administration ever would have allowed my winning it, of course. 😛

Anyway… yeah.

P.S. Tomorrow holds something new for me, in a sense…, if you feel up to it, I would appreciate your sending good intentions and/or prayers my way. 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Snow in Houston, Texas (and t-rex Christmas cards)

Last night, it snowed here.  In Houston, Texas.  It happened yet again.  What miracles lie before us?  It began after I went to sleep, and didn’t begin to stick until after I woke up for a bathroom break in the middle of the night.  So, I woke up to snow covering everything that wasn’t concrete this morning.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of the best kind of snow – you don’t have to shovel or worry about tire chains or anything, but you get to have beautiful snow everywhere around you.

IMG_1763

IMG_1761

The hit of the morning was arriving to school.  My mom drove me in, because we were going to a Christkindlmarkt (German Christmas market) together after school, and the market was too far away for me to drive home first and then go, and it didn’t make sense for us to drive two cars out there.  She was staying for a bit, because we had Mass at school for the Immaculate Conception, and this was a chance for her to see the school a little bit.  Pulling into the parking lot (vacant of teachers, because we were so early), we discovered a sort of snowball fight happening in the picnic table area next to the lot.  We didn’t have much snow on the ground, but the kids were making some snowballs out of it, and throwing them around at one another.  It was adorable.

Naturally, my mom declared that I had to make a snowball, as we were leaving the car.  I grabbed an already-made snowball from the ground, which had lost only a bit after originally falling there, and showed it to her.  As she eyed me up while she finished off her own snowball, I realized that she intended to throw hers at me.

And so the fight began.

My mom and I, shuffling around a parking lot and a small grassy area with snow about it, picking up and throwing odd snowballs at one another, practically screeching with delight.  When I was turned away, a snowball hit her square in the back of the head.  No one was too near us, though, so it had come a long way.  And these were a little tough for regular snowballs, so it definitely hurt her a bit in the moment (stung, perhaps, is the appropriate word here).  It didn’t ruin out fun, of course, but merely added to the silliness of the whole affair – one of my students had attacked my mother with a snowball*.  No part of that declaration makes sense for living here, in Houston, Texas.  😛

In class, before Mass, kids lined up at the windows to stare at the snow in the courtyard below and on the roofs within view.  This was only the second time in their lives that it has snowed here, so their fascination with it was completely understandable, and utterly adorable.

Today had some magic, that’s for sure.

IMG_1767

*I found out later that the student who hit my mom actually was a student of mine.  He asked me ‘who that teacher was, walking with me earlier,’ and, when I asked for clarification, he described the morning snowball affair.  “That was my mom.”  In shock, he declared that he thought it was a teacher and asked me to tell my mom that he was sorry for what he did to her.  (My mom and I laughed at the thought that he apologized for having hit my mom, but that is seems to be the case that he willingly would hit a teacher in the head with a hard snowball, without question.)

P.S.  My task today was to “[d]raw a Christmas card”.  So, I drew one on the roof of my mom’s car tonight as we were leaving the Christkindlmarkt.  Frost had begun to reappear all over the place.

img_1783.jpg

Post-a-day 2017