After tech troubles made me take a writing hiatus in November, I’ve got plenty of news to share. These past two months have taken a slightly slower pace as God has invited me into his rest.
Teaching from Home
After Thanksgiving, I fell into a renewed rhythm of teaching from home. Previously in juggling hybrid (online and in person) learning, I was beginning to sense the need for change. While I loved having my students in a reliable rhythm, I began to feel very much like I had traded roles with the parents who have been working from home these months, in that I could not possible multitask as well as I’d like. Constantly alternating between attending the needs of my students online, my students in the classroom, and my own needs added an element of hurry that made tasks that required strategy and stillness often out of reach. Even once students went home by 3pm and at last I had some time by myself, that feeling of hurry persisted. Combined with some persistent technological issues, I was feeling a lot of strain.
While returning to teaching from home was hard to accept, the change of environment and audience has allowed me to larger issues. At just the right time, my principal provided the means to resolve my tech issues, and I have been freed up to focus on instruction. For example, my teammates and I were able to develop a better system of communication with fewer emails, more clarity in dividing tasks, ongoing meeting notes, and much more initial strategy in unit planning over the last two weeks. With my students, I’ve been able to focus on giving more substantial feedback so that students delve deeper into topics and connect better with me on an emotional level. I’ve also been able to forge deeper bonds with students’ parents and consider how to use different meeting styles to hear from my students and colleagues aren’t often as vocal. I can’t wait to tell the story of how these adjustments have led to increased student and team participation in the coming weeks!
Contextual Study on Pause
Throughout August, September, October, and November, I’ve had my hands full gathering interviews, historical resources, and other information about my school community for my Contextual Study project. In January and February, I will begin to synthesize these materials to write a first draft of my Contextual Study: a 20-25 page paper by tracing my school’s history, current ministries, neighborhood context/demographics, and numerical data. Throughout the early months of my project, I kept myself organized and ended up gathering my materials about one month ahead of schedule. Therefore, I took the month of December off to rest before writing. The rest has been fabulous, and I’ve been grateful to focus more on my teaching responsibilities than seminary study this month.
Theme this month: Praising God for Freedom
As I’ve spent more time looking around my apartment this month, I have been overwhelmed by an enduring sense of gratitude for all the wonderful things God has given me. Down to the very walls themselves I can see evidence of God’s faithfulness, and that has given me a lot of unexpected joy! Prior to transitioning to working from home, I was concerned that I would be overcome by the lack of routines or even feel isolated. Quite frankly, that has rarely been the case. If anything, I feel much stronger in my ability to know and budget my own limits and time. Lately I haven’t been spending as much time with people connecting on the phone, BUT I have been able to connect in smaller ways and develop a deeper sense of security in friendships. I’ve also been able to make several furniture changes, get rid of clutter, and deeply clean my apartment. These changes reflect a theme of purifying simplicity that I feel has swept through my spirit this past month in various ways, giving forth freedom. Praise God!
What I’m reading
- Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry – Lore Ferguson Wilbert (from November)
- Making Jesus Lord by Loren Cunningham
- The Bible and the Believer ch.2 (on Catholic understandings of the Bible) and ch.3 (on Protestant understandings of the Bible) – Daniel J. Harrington, Marc Zvi Brettler, and Peter Enns
- Water from a Deep Well: Chrstian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries – Gerald Lawson Sittser (anxiously awaiting for this one to arrive)
- The Seer – Jim Goll (going slowly)
- Children and the Supernatural – Jennifer Toledo (starting next week, when school resumes!)
- Safely adventuring with friends outdoors to view D.C.’s many Christmas Trees
- Finding out that I’ve gotten approval to enroll in another 3 credit course called Legal Issues in Education for free! (April – May)
- Passing out winter gear to residents in Anacostia DC with friends at Wounded No More
- Blessed furniture changes
- Successfully planning, organizing, and facilitating a Christmas Zoom family Reunion with my Dad’s extended family (our first in 8 years!!!)
- Dreaming about visiting the Southwest
- New friends
- Reviewing my budget and feeling proud of my decisions these past five years
- New culinary feats: learning how to sear scallops, sizzle skirt steak, strain cactus fruit into popsicles, use chiles in adobo, braise potatoes in soy, and blanch kale into salads
What I’m Praying For
This month, my students started a project focused on 1) interceding for the needs of different nations 2) studying their cultures. As I introduce the concept of religious persecution with students and challenge them to write their own prayers for these countries, please pray that God will give them a passion for intercession.
How you can pray for me
- That God will shuffle my schedule in the right ways for me to be able to enjoy the process of writing my Contextual Study paper (January-March), taking the Legal Issues in Education course (April-May), starting course readings for my seminary’s Summer Intensive in April
- That God would provide means for me to attend the Association of International Christian Schools Flourishing Schools conference in Dallas (June 16-18th)
- That God would continue to increase my hope and reveal his plans for me for this coming year
Here’s to a joyful, hopeful, powerful 2021!