To be honest, my first year of teaching has been a roller coaster of joys, frustrations, rewarding moments, and disappointments. My up-and-down feelings towards teaching are largely a result of my students behaving differently day by day, depending on the period of the day. It is hard to say whether my day has generally gone well or poorly because there is always a good and bad in every day. This reminds me of the following quote I read on a friend’s blog a year or two ago.
Whether reading, writing, or solving math problems, my students change by the minute. Their attention starts off high in the morning, declines after recess, and drops significantly after lunch, especially the last two hours of the day. Their attitude towards learning, motivation to try their best, respect for others, and cooperation to work with each other fluctuate. It is definitely a challenge to keep up with their ever-changing selves.
Six weeks ago, after enjoying a nice, relaxing week off in February, I looked forward to having another week off in April. I wondered how I would last through the six-week stretch without any holidays in March. But to my surprise, Spring Break came around the corner just like that, and it is already here! Before I know it, the last seven weeks of the school year after Spring Break will pass by in the blink of an eye. Then my first year of teaching will be over as my 2½-month summer vacation sets in.
The last school day before Spring Break is full of overly excited students eagerly waiting in anticipation for the week off from school and the Easter chocolate and candy. As soon as I came home, the first thing I did to relax and de-stress was make my own “Cold Stone,” mixing vanilla ice cream with crushed dark chocolate into tiny bits. Then I enjoyed my ice cream over the daily comics and laughed when I came across this comic strip below.
Story of my life! I most definitely agree that life, or work, is hard. I remember a friend telling me that God didn’t mean for us to enjoy work since labor is a result of our sin and desire to live our lives independently from God. I have my frustrations and disappointments here and there, and I do not go past a day without feeling one or the other. Despite that, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve these children from low-income and broken families because it has pushed me to depend on God for strength, love, and compassion. No matter how much I do not understand the family backgrounds that my students come from and the challenges they face at home, God is greater than me and has full knowledge of and control over their life circumstances.
There was also a period of time right after my dad’s passing when I repetitively said, “At the end of it all…”. I found myself getting carried away with talking about the future despite all of its uncertainties. I left these conversations feeling as if I had wasted time pondering about the what if’s in life when I don’t even know what will eventually happen. Life is short.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” –1 Corinthians 10:13
God has a reason for all things. He has a purpose for me to be teaching at this school and living in NorCal right now. I understand that God knows how much I can handle and provides me with His sufficient grace to help me persevere through my challenges in teaching and life in general. Still, I am thankful there is ice cream and Spring Break is here!
Some of my plans for Spring Break include:
- Wrapping up the Hunger Games series by finishing Book 3, Mockingjay, and possibly watching the movie
- Starting and finishing Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- Printing long overdue trip photos of Boston, NY, and HK from 2011
- Taking another day trip to the city and touring local eats and sites with Michelle, one of my closest teacher friends who is visiting me from Irvine for two days
- Arranging reunions to catch up with high school friends who are back in this area