Saturday, October 22, 2011

This is what exhaustion feels like

This was my first full week of working 2 part time jobs. I am completely exhausted. This week was longer than normal weeks will be because my afterschool job had parent teacher conferences all week and the kids got out early. Here was my schedule for the week. Wake up at 6:00am. Leave the house by 7:00am. Teaching Assistant job in Westwood from 8am-12:45pm. Rush to LAX area, while eating lunch and changing my shirt in the car. (Not the safest driving week for me, but I had no other choice.) Second job as an afterschool teacher from 1:15pm-6:00pm. Get home around 7:00pm. Yeah I’m pretty tired. I came home everyday ready to collapse. I also got sick around Wed which made it exponentially difficult. What I got sick with was a little funny but a little too much for a public blog.

Not every week will be this bad. Only Tues will be rushed like this, but normally the other days I don’t have to be at the afterschool job until 2:00pm. I get a little break in between. It was much more difficult to transition than I was imagining. A lot of things in my schedule are changing now. I am used to having time with God in the morning, doing my lesson plans, and running errands. Now I have to cram that all into the evening and weekends. This week I was too exhausted to do anything when I got home, so I am little behind now.

The new job

So after a month of waiting to get my background check cleared, I finally started my new job as a teaching assistant at a school in Westwood. I am helping out with two different third grade classes. I wanted to work at a school to see if I could do the whole classroom teaching thing and if it would be worth it to get my teaching credential. I know it’s only been a week, but so far the answer to that question is no. I am so bored in these classes and I am not an 8 year old child with a short attention span. All they do all day is correct sentences, work on spelling words, answer questions from text books, and do math problems. I can not teach like that every day. These classrooms are also super crowded and there is barely any room to move. I don’t blame the teachers, I really don’t. They have all these standards and tests they have to meet and they have no space to be creative with their students. I know I don’t see everything, but in this small window, I am very concerned with the state of our education system and how our students are learning. Hopefully I can find ways in the small groups that I work with to be creative with them, but the environment makes it very difficult.

On a positive note, my afterschool job has been going pretty well. One of my most difficult kindergarteners had a dramatic change in behavior this week. We have really had problems with him pushing and hitting all year. It’s like literally, every 5 minutes he is putting his hands on someone. But his behavior has really turned around to the point where the hitting has almost completely stopped. I even gave him “Star of the Week” this week because of the improvement that I saw. Praise the Lord. Praying for these kids does work because there is nothing external that really changed in how we responded to him.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prayer Retreat and Peacocking

This weekend I went on a prayer retreat at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Ranchos Palos Verdes. Most of it was just personal praying. It was very nice to have the extended space to quite my thoughts down and spend time with God. There were places that the retreat center where it was absolutely silent. Living the city, sometimes you forget what absolute silent sounds life. Even as I sit here and write this I hear the neighbor’s dog barking incessantly.

There are also peacocks at the retreat center. I think the ideas of peacocks are funny because it’s the male who is beautiful and draws the female in by his beauty. Where is our culture, it’s the women who try to look beautiful for men. Can we swap for a little bit and be like peacocks? Can men wear the dresses, high heels, makeup, and curl their hair? Can the women throw on a t-shirt and backwards hat for a little while?

It was good to hear from the Lord in different ways. In the midst of having someone pray for me, we were drawn to Isaiah 53:2 “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” I consider myself a very plain person. And to some extent that is intentional. I do not dress in a way that really draws attention to myself. It was good to be affirmed that it is ok to be plain in my appearance. There was nothing in Jesus appearance that would draw people to him, yet someone thousands flocked to see, hear, and touch him. I hope that I would become a person who is intriguing not by my appearance but by the way that I live and the things that I say. Jesus never needed to be “peacocking” to get attention, yet he got it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Beauty and the Ugly of LA

Yes, that is a cockroach of the inside of the glass of my microwave. There have been about 3 living there for a while. We are considering getting a new microwave but we have no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen to that one too. So gross. Dear cold weather, please come and scare the cockroaches go into hibernation. Please play against the cockroaches of our apt.

On a brighter note, I saw this amazing double rainbow on my home from work a few days ago. I don’t think I have ever seen a rainbow so bright. It was a nice reminder that amidst the smog and filth of the city, beauty can still shine through. Thank you Jesus.