Friday, 26 August 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
It's less than 4 weeks 'til we tie the knot. Mental. That's not quite sunk in yet. Neither has the fact that I can't keep on putting off making decisions like music/flowers/makeup/etc. Yes I realise most brides would have had these down a good while ago. But I am not most brides! But I am getting down to business, really I am. Today I even hired some chairs and tables for the guests. Go me! :-) Haha don't panic one and all... everything will come together, and I'm (hopefully) not being blase about it - I am aware that there's a fair bit to do, and now that English teaching work is drying up, I'm prepared to get my rear into gear!
"THE MIND GOVERNED BY THE SPIRIT IS LIFE AND PEACE" romans 8.6
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Constant asking and being asked, thinking, worrying, dreaming, scheming, wondering and worrying a little bit more...
Often struggling to trust
Doubting that everything will work out in the end. Which bit is the end? And will we even live to see it?
COMMIT TO THE LORD EVERYTHING YOU DO AND YOUR PLANS WILL SUCCEED (Proverbs 16.3 NIV)
Because I’m a Christian everything I do will go well? Perhaps not...
Meaning... A cursory mention of the one above and like a lucky charm we’ll hold onto promises that perhaps we’ve interpreted to fit our needs, stamping our plans with the approval of words we put into God’s mouth...rather than letting him speak. Have we turned his name into superstition?
To COMMIT means to entrust, to let someone else take charge, a handing over of control... so our plans become His...a surrender to the bigger picture where we are not the main character on the stage. An uncomfortable idea, yet comforting too, knowing that He holds our burdens as well as our dreams in hands that show the signs of a love too deep to describe
But does that then mean we just sit back, willing God’s will without getting up from the sofa – as if His will is a conveyor belt, as it doesn’t really involve us... letting God ‘get on with his business’ while we get on with ours, losing ourselves in things that have little eternal consequences
We talk about following God – when we follow someone we’ve got to know where they are going, watch out for the twists and turns as they wind a path in front of you. It requires knowing something of the One we are following, so that when their back disappears from view, we have a sense of the direction in which they might head
“Jesus always calls us to move forwards and we find ourselves battling with the desire to settle for a quiet life. The Lord calls us to journey with him in order to settle the land. The call is to respond to the cry of creation, to fill it with the presence of the Lord” *
Perhaps, then we walk with and not behind... walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day... walk and talk and share and learn and BE together...
Perhaps, then we are not just puppets on a string or chess pieces on a board, being manipulated by a heavenly hand.
Perhaps it’s more like an orchestra... he the conductor and each of us with a different part to play.
With full freedom to deviate from the score, and make mistakes...and the wonder, the miracle of it is in the way he turns these accidents, squeaks, crashes and broken strings, or even wilful out-of-tune notes and use them to create a masterpiece... thank God it’s not a solo piece we’re playing! Thank God His grace and creativity reach to the farthest stretches of the universe...
Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established (Proverbs 16.3 NASB)
So perhaps the best plan we could make is to find ways by which the symphony can be heard in even the darkest, most silent corners of the earth, and to encourage the broken, the hurting, the angry and the cynics to pick up their instruments and begin to play along
"The call is to respond to the cry of creation, to fill it with the presence of the Lord”.
THERE IS NO WISDOM, NO INSIGHT, NO PLAN THAT CAN SUCCEED AGAINST THE LORD (Proverbs 21.30 NIV)
And the Lord is... Love. The Lord is a God of righteousness and justice. The Lord is mercy and grace. The Lord is compassion. The Lord is life.
Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived,
can get the better of GOD. (Proverbs 21.30 The Message)
Perhaps today it might feel like a plan has failed. perhaps today the ending isn’t a happy one. But perhaps today we only see a fraction of the picture, a mere line of the entire story. And perhaps the ending, in the very end – which will also be a beginning - will be all the more wonderful because of such lines.
*Can't remember where this quote is from, found it written on a piece of paper!
Sunday, 14 August 2011
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
I had some great conversations with someone who also did the Tesol course and who had already trained and worked as a 'real teacher' for several years. Mmm good conversations can be like food, nourishing your bones and making you feel content, yet hungry for more. Lucy and I had some great chats about all kinds of things on the bus from Witney to Oxford via Eynsham, and for them I was very grateful. :-)
During our course we observed others teach and we commented on how some people just seemed to have 'the knack' (even if their skills weren't honed by experience yet). Interestingly those people were also the ones we were drawn to in terms of wanting to hang out with them. Perhaps it was the warmth and sensitivity that they demonstrated when relating to all people, regardless of the situation. Basically they were good to be around and immediately likeable. Which brings me to the question of whether this is important with regards teaching. How important is it to be liked by your students? Is it necessary for effective learning? Does it even matter or make a difference?
Sensitivity is a funny thing, and as a pretty sensitive person I've often struggled with the mix of positive and negative effects it can have on my thoughts, feelings and point of view. A good teacher needs to be sensitive to the needs of the students and willing to adapt to them - it's about the learners after all, not the teacher, as we were often reminded on the course! This requires awareness and intuition. I think I'm fairly good at reading people and situations however my problem comes in how personally I take these observations. One roll of the eyes or slouch in the chair and I'm panicking - is my lesson too boring? Too easy? Have I spent too long on this point? Am I being annoying? Do they dislike me? AM I A BAD TEACHER?!
"Am I a bad teacher?" Now that should be my main concern, but to be honest perhaps I do end up worrying more about whether or not I am liked. Does being liked = good teacher? No, not necessarily. And neither does being disliked or disagreed with necessarily mean you're a bad teacher. So I know it's silly to care so much about what people think of me (and this is an issue that exists ouside the classroom just as much as in) - but I wonder how you stop caring yet remain sensitive and retain a degree of warmth? There are many people who don't give a toss about others opinion and who probably teach well but to be honest I'd really rather not have a personality like theirs, which I'd often describe as intimidating, cold or unapproachable.
So do I put on an act, somehow leave 'me', or the deeper parts of me, at the door and pretend to be thicker skinned than I am? Speak with authority even though I'm shaking inside? I have heard people say it's all an act... Actually a few people remarked to me how well I seem to be coping. I laughed and said I just cry when no one's watching. Which is true - I cried nearly every day during the past two weeks. It's also a lie, some people did see me cry, just not the students or other teachers (yet! haha!)
I'm sure I'm not the first to wonder how you gain people's respect and manage to build rapport with them without being a pushover but without being a bitch/male version of bitch either! The middle way is not obvious to me and I envy those who walk it with ease. I may be 'teacher' but I certainly have a lot to learn...
I have been a teacher for a full 2 weeks and 3 days now. Well, a teacher of English I should say. Somehow I feel the need to clarify that I am not what I'd still call a 'real teacher', i.e. PGCE, secondary school, class full of kids to teach/control. I do think their job is a whole lot harder and I don't think I could do it. I feel I've cheated the system somewhat - doing just a five week course and then heading straight to the front of a room full of foreign students for several hours a day, armed with board markers and not much else (it feels to me!).
Having said that, I cannot let you assume that I'm finding this a 'breeze'. Yes, I really enjoyed the Tesol course and yes, I suppose I felt quite confident throughout it that this was something I could do, and potentially do well. That may still be the case, however I am far from reaching that 'doing well' place. Unfortunately. It really isn't very comfortable to feel so out of ones depth every day! I feel a bit of a fraud and fear this feeling shows through! Really I'm just a 20-something-year-old who happens to be English and would rather be your friend than tell you what to do.
I've tried disguising my age and inexperience (and attempting to distinguish myself from the Spanish/German/Swiss students) by dressing up 'smart'. But this in itself is proving rather a challenge when ones wardrobe consists mainly of jeans, hoodies, or clothes with holes in. I might manage the heels and tighter-fitting-trousers-than-normal, but the chipped bright pink nail varnish that I forgot to remove, the mismatched earrings and the messy hair slightly detract from my sophisticated look. Ah well. It would be a big challenge to fit this chick into any kind of corporate box, she's realising more and more!
more thoughts on teaching to come... didn't want to overwhelm y'all with the mass of ponderations that have been bubbling away under the surface as I dash from classroom to classroom trying not to drop my papers all over the floor...
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
* RESTING with my family in our favourite place
* Louise and Jana's wedding, especially sitting in the sun watching all the boys play cricket to the soundtrack of some reggae and then later when everyone was dancing together - Sri Lankans in their Saris, Essex family in short dresses, and London friends in a whole array of styles and colour... happy times :-)
* Staying an extra, unexpected night in one of those houses that make you feel immediately welcome and at peace... and breakfast on the sunshiney terrace in the morning accompanied by inspiring conversations.
* swimming in the sea. always.
* Lauren having a beautiful baby girl, and Rachael getting engaged.