24 October 2007

Unexpected Beauty

Currently reading: October 15th Newsweek

Currently listening to: Eyes Open by Snow Patrol

In this city full of industry, beautiful things are stumbled upon; they are hidden treasures one appreciates when they are discovered.

Case study #1: Beauty in nature

A few Sundays ago, Sara and I were walking along the canal after lunch. It was a gorgeous day--a perfect fall afternoon. The sun was actually out (it hasn't been seen in the last two days, too much fog/smog) and it was relatively warm, given that fall came and went without me even being aware of it (other random side note: the countdown begins--3 weeks until the heat gets turned on!). Instead of getting a taxi and coming back home right away, we started walking down the canal.

Here's what we found:

Flowering yucca-like plants live right along the canal.

The flowers smelled amazing!

Case study #2: Beauty in language

That evening was the kickoff event for the local university English club. The students who participate in our English conversation group every Sunday evening must attend 3 drill sessions during the week. The spoiler is that these group meet before dawn--6AM anyone? I know the last thing I want to be doing at 6 is practicing my Mandarin. They get up that early just so they have the opportunity later in the week to speak English with a foreigner. How's that for humble pie? If only I had such dedication for the things I hold most important!

From the kickoff party:

The students demonstrating their drills (yes, complete with a bullhorn!)

The cake-cutting ceremony to signify the start of the club for this year (no, not like that AA)

Case study #3: Beauty in Diversity

Last Friday was a significant mark--the end of the first quarter! How crazy is that?!? I feel like I'm finally in the swing of things and it only took a quarter. Granted I'm living day by day in my lesson plans, but I am surviving my (second) first year of teaching. Woohoo--that deserves some celebration!

Anyway, Friday was also International Day--a celebration of our diversity as a school. The students are asked to wear the traditional clothes from their home country. To continue the fun, we celebrated Spirit Week in all of its middle school glory.

All of the middle school students are split into 4 different houses, kinda like Harry Potter. The kids stay in the same house all 3 years. The house names and colors may vary throughout the years. This year my house is called Hot Stuff and our colors are black and red. Normally, every Monday, when we have our house meetings, we have to wear our house colors. Well, for the Monday of Spirit Week, we had to wear at least 80% house colors--it was pretty cool.

Tuesday was crazy hair day and would like to say that I took that to an extreme--dreadlocks! It didn't take super long to create (90 minutes maybe?). A friend teased my hair and with lots of hair wax, gel, and mousse, it was able to stay overnight in somewhat decent dreads. Getting it out was another story. I stood in the shower with shampoo and a comb and a while later, it was back to normal. Did you know...if you put shampoo on your hair for an extended amount of time (perhaps you're working on getting a few tangles out :), it makes your hair super soft. Very strange. So crazy hair was Tuesday.

Wednesday was teacher/student switch day. The students had to dress up professional, like we teachers have to each day, and I was allowed to wear jeans, like the kids usually do. Happy day! It worked out perfect because my 8th students had their big presentations that day and they were required to dress up anyway, so at least they didn't stand out. Overall, they did an excellent job.

Wear lots of...was Thursday. You had to wear at least 7 pieces of clothes or accessories for the day. One girl came with every belt from her family on her waist. Another kid pinned socks to his whole body. Quite the sight! And a half day on Friday with tasty food from everywhere made it the end of a great week. Of course the end of Spirit Week could only be properly celebrated with a party. A party it was! Complete with ball throwing, chair games and street food (oh yeah, and me chaperoning...)


The dreadlock creation process.

The end result--I would do it again, but not for much longer than a day. It was fun, that's for sure!

The adorable kindergartners performing a song during the International Day presentations.

A bunch of the Korean students take Tae Kwan Do after school. They were strong and quite intense.

Some students in their beautiful hanboks (traditional Korean dress).

A great action picture of their demonstration. Notice how he's jumping over 5 of his fellow students!

The social studies teacher and I in our traditional clothes from India.

Things to Think about:
  • Monday and Tuesday are Parent/Teacher Conferences. The conferences are student led but since this is my first year, I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole process. It's going to be a long week!
  • Somehow I managed to start new units on the same day with both of my classes. I've been struggling at keeping all of the balls juggled and I'm afraid about how much long I can keep up with this before a.) a ball drops or b.) I get sick. I'm okay so far, but please Lift up my life at school. I want to do the best that I can, but I recognize that I can't do it on my own. Only with His Power, Wisdom, and Grace am I even able to function every day in the classroom.
  • Praise: 8th grade presentations were a huge success! Like I said before, I was so proud of them and the hard work that they turned in. It was fun, but frustrating at times, to go through this process. I'm happy to be returning to the normal classroom routine.
  • Praise: 2 students in our middle school became Family in the last month. Give thanks with me for their decision and please Lift them up as they begin to grow in His Truth.
Peace, hope, and love,


1 comment:

Daniel said...

RPM - Beautiful post! I so enjoyed our canal walk two weeks ago - remember how warm it was (and now, not so much)??? Thanks for recording your journey for us all.
Lots of love from across the street,