Sunday, July 20, 2014


The last couple of weeks have been slightly crazy for me. As of today, it is safe to say that I am approximately 89% of the way finished with my master's degree, with only one more week left to go! I have been more than happy about not having a whole lot of homework during this final set of courses, but being in class for an intensive is still, well, intense.

All through this week (and for this upcoming week as well), my father-in-law (shall I call him FIL for short?) has been teaching my English classes. It's been absolutely hilarious to come home in the evenings, eat dinner with the two Van Maanen boys, and hear their stories about how students have acted in my class when I am not the teacher. There aren't any bad stories - it's just fun to hear someone else's perspective about what my job is like.

My highlight this week came on Friday. All week our students at GES have been preparing for the talent show. A number of the high school students were involved in creating the decorations, setting them up, etc. I had a few nights this week where I came back from class to see a few straggling students hanging around at school at 5:30-5:45 PM, so I got the low-down on how all the talent show stuff was coming along.

On Friday, I got home shortly after 5:30 (possibly due to leaving my class a little early?), and found all of my 12th grade girls sitting at the picnic table just outside my apartment, putting on their show-time makeup. I got a mass group hug, and several repetitions of, "Are you coming to the talent show tonight?!?" Although I assured them that I was, I had to reassure them a couple of times as well. True to my word, after catching a quick dinner, we went to watch the remainder of the talent show (which had started at 5:30).

Can I just say - my students are super talented? The show was thoroughly enjoyable, from the terrified-looking little elementary girl singing Frozen's "Let It Go" to the rock song that the entire 12th grade class put together. I wish I had pictures.

Here's what I've learned: if you want to make a difference in the life of a teenager, go to their performances and events, especially if they don't expect you to be there. It makes a world of difference to them. Since I hadn't been around all week, a lot of my students were surprised to see me at the talent show, but I had a lot of great opportunities to talk to them and tell them just how fantastic each of their performances was. It was so worth it.

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