Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The last time I logged into this thing, all of my friends had blogged so that there were about twelve different posts to read and I was thinking to myself, "What happened? Has it really been that much time?" It had been. I get so easily thrown off by cumulative travel. I drop things completely, blogs, friends, cooking delicious foods, if it's not nailed down, it might get lost. Sorry, friends. I still love you more than life.

Have there always been this many Halloween parties to go to? Costume inspiration is at an all-time low. I think I'm going to be Little Red Riding Hood because I saw a red cloak at Target for $8. I hope it's still there... Halloween isn't the holiday I go gaga over. It's Thanksgiving and Christmas that I love. I am practically counting down the days till we can start putting up Christmas things in our apartment, writing a Christmas letter and cards for all our friends and family, going shopping for a tree and ornaments (what theme should we do? Of course, whatever we pick now will be outdated by the time our kids are old enough to have opinions about that sort of thing), finding the perfect presents, making buckeyes, drinking eggnog, and you can never forget the Amy Grant Christmas album. No Christmas is complete without it.

My class is going a lot better. We're working on costumes for the party next week, and they are loving it. We get to paint, and today we're going to start working on props. Mario hats and gloves, a Spongebob spatula, sunglasses, other things. Yesterday I started to win over one of the slightly difficult kids. I loved seeing the light dawn in his eyes that I actually cared about him. More good to come. I am glad I work here. Last week we got to carve pumpkins with our kids, and that was great. We were outside so they could be as loud as they wanted. I love doing things like that where it's just pure fun. Telling them about roller coasters at Disney during snack is also wonderful. They want to know if they are tall enough to go.

Time to go look for costume parts, for me, for them.

This morning I woke up one minute before my alarm went off with a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment with my life. I'm not perfect. I can't accomplish everything, but I'm starting to begin with that expectation. It's okay if I don't. At the Bible study I go to, one of the ladies has this saying, "don't persecute yourself." It's a good one.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

They're Just Kids

My job=incredibly volatile. Good days bad days, days that I have no idea what to call them.

Today. Drive home. Time to decompress, but not really enough time. I'm too serious to shake off a bad day on a thirty minute drive.

I'm too strict. I'm not strict enough.

They walk all over us. They don't respect us. We don't draw the line enough. because there are too many things to keep track of: can I go to the bathroom, can I get a drink, can I get something out of my backpack. I don't want to sit down. I don't want to do my homework, or this project, or anything. I hate school. I hate everything. Slamming chairs, slamming fists into cabinets, biting other children. No, we aren't in the Dominican anymore, we're in the United States where children bite each other in the second and third grade to get what they want.

I'm not sure if this is the job for me. I'm not really teaching. I'm doing behavior management, and I'm not even doing it that well. Maybe because I'm not trained for any of this. I'm not sure if I want to have a job longterm where I have to tell people not to touch each other.

Add on all the expectations of the school that I don't know about. Things that no one told me. I'm supposed to be out of the room at a certain time? Do they even know I'm new? Why isn't there an information packet on this? I want to do my job, but someone has to tell me what that is, preferably before I mess up.

And for behavior, what am I supposed to do? What do I tell a kid to do when he gets angry instead of lashing out at whoever's closest? Count to ten? And I'm still disappointed in them when they don't listen to me, but I can't make them. I can't make them do what I want them to do. They have to choose it themselves. And that's kind of the frustration and the freedom of it. It's not up to me if they adopt the behaviors I suggest to them. It's up to them. It would greatly benefit me, and I'm going to keep telling them to listen the first time, keep their hands to themselves, raise their hand before they talk, tell the truth, use words, and I'm going to keep punishing them when they cross lines, but sometimes it feels so futile. I believe in them and I want them to change and develop these behaviors, but they have to want it too. I believe in them, so I am overly disappointed when they don't listen to me. I shouldn't let it affect me so much.

Maybe I'm not communicating my expectations. Maybe I'm not being consistent. There are just so many things to keep track of and someone always needs something. Also, I'm not that uptight. I want them to have a good time and enjoy what they're doing, but we have to put up the rules at the beginning because it's really doing us a favor longterm.

I discipline other people's children. I went to a Bible study today, and the children's teacher got up there and said how much love was in their classroom and how they were teaching Bible truths and singing hymns and the classroom was such a great place and they were giving love to all the kids who came. And I wondered about what would happen if I invited one of my kid's moms to the class. Would that child would be loved so well in the children's class? It's easy to love well-behaved children. Good little Christian children who have two parents with steady jobs. They want to spend time with their kids and don't swear at them. It's harder to love kids with bad attitudes who lash out at you when you ask them to do something. They get angry seemingly for no reason. Everything is life and death with some kids.

I don't feel in control, and I don't know how to get there. I am the adult, but I am at their mercy. This is not how it should be.

I don't have training for this. But if I'm not supposed to be here, then where am I supposed to be? If I'm not an elementary teacher, am I some other kind of teacher? Crisis of meaning in the world... time for dinner. Tomorrow will probably be better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Small Little Just-Right World

I don't want a lot of influence, just a little. But I want it to count.

I don't want to live in a big city. with traffic. With tall buildings and places to get lost.

I don't care about California and the food carts. I will never know what the "next thing" is.

I like my things to be nice, but I don't want to have that many things.

I don't want to go to school to know God more, that will only make me tired of him.

I don't like twitter or excess autobiographical devices. I want my world to be real with colors and dirt and the pages of books.

I like the old people at book club with their old ways and old brains.

I can resist change.

Maybe I should move to a small town. I like my town. It is just right for me.

I like little routines like rowing, little worlds that no one else knows.

I still have that longing my friends have, but I don't know what it's for.

I want to be the fullness of myself, relaxed, able to receive others, ask how they are and really mean it because I'm not thinking about myself. I want to be full. and free. and new.

I want music to be a more regular part of my life. and worship.

I like my small world. It is hard enough to manage. To me it feels just right.

I will never be a great dresser, but I am great at other things.

I will never be perfect, but neither will anyone else.

I wish them well, I wish myself well.

What are my dreams? Will I reach them? Will they show themselves in time? Will they come upon me unexpectedly while I'm in the middle of living them?

Am I getting left behind? Is it wrong to have no ambition?

I used to be full of ambition, but it was for things that didn't mean anything like getting a Ph.D by a certain age.

I think this season is called "wait and see."

Everyone searches for contentment, but now that I seem vaguely content, I wonder if it is wrong to be so.

"Ambition, which is only a craving for honor and glory when you alone are to be honored before all and you alone are glorious forever" Confessions, Book II Ch 6.