Blended Learning: The kids are back!
This month, I had the semi-anxious honor of welcoming groups of 4-6 students daily back into the classroom. As I tenuously fed my faith that God would cover my many concerns, I found unexpected grace to multitask managing students in person and virtually. God has also upgraded by tech-savviness as I have learned to use Zoom, a selfie stick, my cell phone, a projector, and a laptop to help my students view one another both at home and in the classroom. Check out more details here.
For my the research I’m conducting on my school’s history and identity, I got to interview a handful of staff this month! I am looking forward to an interview I have next week with the first African American member of my school, and his wife who he met there. I also found a treasure trove of school pictures from as early as the 1930s, with a suspicious lack of pictures from the 1960s and 1970s (potentially due to racial riots, white flight, or social tension at that time?). The mystery continues.
Trusting God with Finances
When in doubt, make a spreadsheet. Earlier this week, I woke up shaky when it came to trusting God about financial provision for seminary. In order to remember and fan into flame my faith, I made this spreadsheet to remember all that God had done to pay for my education already.
Throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees, God’s provision in the form of scholarships, work study, living at home to save money (junior/senior years), scholarships for study abroad, an Americorps Education Award, and Tuition reimbursement from my last workplace provided me the chance to go to college without significant debt. As of today, I am on track to pay off my undergraduate and graduate debt in just two years! God knew my financial situation (and that of my family), and he has provided for me.
While it is true that without God’s provision, my Catholic school salary won’t cover the costs of seminary in April (about $5500 yearly), God called me both to enroll at this seminary and to teach at this school. As I begin writing scholarship applications this week, my goal is to continue to remember all that God’s great faithfulness and how he keeps his promises.
Shifting Views on Dating
Over the past 24 months, my thoughts on dating have continue to evolve based on asking more from God, and trusting that he who began a good work in me would bring it to completion. It’s been almost 7 years now since I came to faith in Christ, and as I’ve trusted God more, I’ve come to view others’ sincere, refined faith as the single most important factor for dating and marriage. While we are all made in the image of God, people who have intimacy with God through Christ are the most dynamic, fascinating, and life-giving people I’ve been around. My game plan with dating these days is the absence of a plan, and instead just keeping my eyes open as I follow God and seek his kingdom (Matt. 6:33). From what I can tell, at some point I will meet someone whose sincere love of God (among other lesser factors) causes a mutual attraction from which to build a kingdom marriage.
Pandemic: Food for Thought
- I notice that with so many people wearing masks, I am less prone to judging people by their appearances. God, deliver us from snap judgments and hidden biases. Help us to see people as you see them.
- This pandemic has held a mirror to discern our own individual character, the strength of our friendships and romantic relationships, the rapport we have with family, and even the beliefs we have about strangers. God, let this work of discernment only be the beginning of what you are doing in our hearts throughout the globe.
- I notice that due to fear of infection, people are generally more respectful of others’ personal space on the metro and other close-proximity public spaces. Lord, help us maintain a similar measure of healthy distance from one another emotionally as we head into this month so dominated b the U.S. presidential election. May it result in dignity and Christlike love for people who disagree with us.
- While I miss some aspects of traditional instruction, I love having more time through distance learning to be creative with technology and strategically target gaps in students’ abilities. Lord, please allow teachers in the U.S. freedom to be engineers of students’ learning in greater measure, and may it result in greater professional dignity and financial equity.
- I notice that when students are in the classroom just one or two days a week, their behavior is significantly better and we have more patience with one another. We as teachers are less burnt out by the extremes of student behavior, and they as students have more space to practice self-regulation and adapting their behavior to different spaces. At the same time, my students with ADHD have found it much easier to focus on their assignments without the distractions of peers, and ironically have received much more personalized feedback (along with the rest of the class) about their academic and social performance. God, help us use these insights to design more effective and equitable classrooms once the pandemic is over. Give us creativity to design new instructional formats.
- Teaching my friend Emily about different plants in Rock Creek Park
- Connecting with a woman at a No More Wounds Free Laundry day, and asking her to pray for me as I prayed with her
- Making dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) with another friend, and affordable finding gluten free brownie mix to celebrate her birthday
- Decorating my house for Christmas early!
What I’m Praying For
That the righteousness of Christ would define my generation, my students, and the next decades of United States politics.
How you can pray for me
Please pray for favor for scholarships, wisdom for the many changes of this school year, and joyful growth in my relationships with friends and family.
Until next time,
3 thoughts on “October 2020 Monthly Summary”
I love your testimony Haley! Thanks for letting me know how to pray for you.