Sunday, August 7, 2011

A little of this, a little of that

Wow, it's hard to believe that August has arrived. Not only that, but we're well into it already! I find it hard to slow down and quiet my life enough to realize how much time has passed. Before I know it, the end of our first semester will be finished. Then the end of the school year.

I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. Despite the fact that time goes by quickly, I have taken enough time lately to realize that teaching energizes me. I was sick last week Sunday, and not feeling particularly wonderful on Monday for school (but that has never deterred me from teaching on any given day). Throughout the course of that Monday, I had little energy and less enthusiasm. However, I found that whenever the students entered my room with their chatter and smiles, I had just enough energy to do what I needed and teach the class. It was during the prep periods that I had the most trouble finding motivation....

Recently, I have actually begun to enjoy "Homeroom class". This seems like a ridiculous statement after what I just wrote above, but it's true. Prior to last week, I often dreaded those 25 minutes each day, because I never knew what to do with them. We are supposed to (are encouraged to?) use that time to teach about God, the Bible, and/or Christianity in general. I know I have written about this a little in previous posts as well. It's really a frustrating time because few of the students are willing to listen. Thanks to Michael, though, I've found something that interests and engages my homeroom class during that time. What an answer to prayer! Hallelujah! My focus for homeroom is music; I find a song that has some sort of meaning that is worth discussing. We play it the first day, then each day after that during the week we spend time reflecting/discussing/telling stories about issues or morals that we can pull away from that song.

Currently, my focus is "Who are we?" - discussing who we are as humans, individuals, groups of people, etc. I'll be continuing that this week, and then next week we'll probably do something different. The wealth of songs in the world make this format nearly unlimited...which is why I love it! It's a fabulous way to bring God's truth into homeroom class without feeling like I'm pounding the kids over the head with the Bible.

God is so good and faithful. Through the struggles and frustrations of teaching, Michael and I are continually reflecting on how blessed we really are. We are blessed to have jobs, we are blessed to be able to enjoy our jobs, we are blessed to be able to adapt ourselves to different environments, we are blessed to have a wonderful group of people to work and socialize with...and, of course, the list goes on.

I have really been enjoying my Thai classes lately. I'm taking lessons with two other teachers (both named Sarah), and learning in such a small group is incredibly fun! Learning more about Thai has helped me understand why my students struggle with certain things in English (i.e. VERB TENSES!), and it's also reminding me of what it's like to try to learn and function in another language.

Thai has five different tones, which makes it an incredibly difficult language to learn. We were learning about clothing words a few weeks ago, and while we were practicing, we accidentally started using the wrong tone when we said the word for "shirt." Our teacher (laughing), informed us that "shirt" is said with a falling tone. We were saying it with a rising tone, which is actually the word for "tiger". Oops. Instead of asking each other, "Do you have a purple shirt?" we were asking, "Do you have a purple tiger?" Haha!

Another fun detail I learned in the lesson last week was that "my" (in Thai) has meaning in all five tones. It can mean "microphone", "new", "no", "silk", and be used as a question word. For example, if I wanted to ask "Do you have a new microphone?" in Thai, it would look something like: "Mii my my my kah?" (with each "my" having a different tone). The response? "My, mii my my kah." (Once again, with each "my" having a different tone!) -- Language is so fun! :D

Anyway, now that you've gotten a little glimpse into what it's like to learn Thai, I guess I have nothing else to say. :) Thank you all for your prayers for us, and please continue to pray for the school as a whole! May you have a blessed day, and may you be an encouragement to those around you today.

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