Aug 29, 2012

First Daze

Here we all are on the first day of school while internally I'm thinking, we have to take pictures, but I hope we are not late to school!  So while Hunter got a ton of kindergarten pictures on his first day, here you are looking at Ainsley's.  Don't blink.  We were just a bit frazzled trying to move a family of five out of the house by 7am.  I mean it was our first go around and hardly smooth yet.  In fact, it's day three, and it's still not smooth yet.  I'm giving myself a wiiiiiiiide grace period.
 I realize that these are the older two's pictures, but just look at my cute baby!  I think the hardest thing for me is not getting to see her for most of the day.  I know that I have complained before many times about how super clingy Tessa has always been, but I've gotten so used to her glued to me, that it's hard to be unstuck.  It's just another transition that Tessa is actually doing better at than I am.  She just loves staying home with Daddy a few days and then getting to spend a few days at Ms. Lorraine's who just dotes on her all day long.

Sooo, how is it going?  Well, it's going.  There are definitely ups and downs, but overall, the kids are liking it.   Ainsley is delighted to be there and we got her bus situation worked out.  I'm discovering that her daycare situation is so-so, but it's not bad either.  There are just slim pickings or actually really no other options in this small town where I teach.  Hunter is loving school (until today when he was given an assignment that he wasn't sure how to do and had a mini meltdown).  However, I think he'll be just fine in his class. And as for me, I am just trying to get into the swing of things in my classroom.  The first two days, I was on fire and things were clicking along.  Today, everything kinda fell off the band wagon and I was doing more training of routines than teaching of curriculum.  And so it goes.
And now I'm going to be honest.  There are times when I look at the students at the school and I think, what the heck did we just do?  These kids are SO far behind and I just threw my own in there with them.  Sometimes the cost of being asked by God to be involved in a community gets right up in your face.  Especially if you had other options.  The school by our house they would have gone to is a full 100 points higher on their API scores.  That's just light years of difference. Our new school is a half hour away in a tiny farming community where most people are Spanish speakers and very poor.  The whole school is on free breakfast and lunch.  I have never sent out a school supply list where it was the norm to be happy if you got students to bring at least half (I didn't).

Sometimes being called by God to take a step out into another comfort zone that defies common sense makes you feel like you are doing something bold and brave.  And then you actually do it, and it feels more scary than bold and brave.  Sometimes it just feels down right dumb.  I know most people are thinking that putting them there is down right dumb.  It's hard to explain that I believe God has asked us to get involved in the lives of these kids and community and that means our kids too. I don't believe I am "throwing them under the bus" so to speak.  Tonight we sat down and worked on homework together and I am constantly in touch with their amazing teachers.  The teachers and staff at this school are a dedicated bunch and I know that they will teach what my children need to know academically. Actually, in thinking about the lessons and skills I want my children to learn from life, academics is just a slice.  I know that the academic piece may not be as strong this year, but they won't be left too far behind because we are staying on top of it.  But what I mostly want my children to know about life is how to love other people.  All people.  I want them to know that loving other people means living, working and playing with them no matter what walk of life they may come from. It means seeing them as equals and valuable and not people to separate from.  I can't think of a better place to teach that lesson than to put them in a classroom with children from another culture, demographic, and economic privilege and then ask them to make friends with them.  So some years, we may focus on academics, and other years, God might call us to focus on an entirely different lesson. This year is that year for us. I do know this, when God asks, the dumbest thing you can do is to think you know better.  And when He asks, He promises this: "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deut. 31:6

The first day of school when asked Tone asked Ainsley if she made a friend she said, "No, because they all just spoke Spanish."  But by day two, she said had made three friends and every time I saw her (which is often since our lunch and recesses are at the same time), she was giggling and laughing away with some cute little girls.  Isn't that beautiful?  May I always remember when I become afraid for my children this year that God cares more about their heart for others than their academic score.   I think Tone and I are involved in school enough that that will happen anyways.
So here we are three days into school, still getting into the swing of things.  I still feel like I'm scrambling to catch up as I figure out routines and systems constantly that weren't communicated because I am the only new teacher.  Along with that I'm learning a whole new curriculum and figuring out how to best love my students and find out what they need (a whole LOT).  Even though I am hardly a new teacher as far as having taught before, I still feel like I am on a big learning curve with ups and downs daily. But I have some super cuties in my class and already am enjoying each student that walks through my doors. The kids are enjoying school but tired and cranky as they also are plunged into a whole new environment.  I think we just need to give ourselves a big grace period, and hang on and enjoy the ride.


  1. You and Tone are awesome and I know without a doubt that you all are storing up treasures in heaven. Your kids will look back on this experience and be richer, better people because of it. Together you all will touch many little lives and their families this year. I'll continue to pray that you all settle in quickly and you get the support you need from your coworkers! The three of you look so nice all color coordinated for your first day!

  2. Way to go, Jenny! Give yourself lots of grace and hang on to that call you felt from God. Sometime we are called to walk through the dessert for a long time before we can look back at our experience and see what God did. But you are just beginning this journey. I don't care how long anyone has been teaching, but the first week of school is always STRESSFUL!! It just is. And it always gets better. Love you and I will be praying for the family!!