Showing posts from November, 2017

Fragile, broken, beautiful

I love my students.   (students from class 6 after winning their basketball game) And sometimes, I’m reminded of how very fragile they are.   It’s easy for me to forget, because they’re so young and full of energy (generally, although they’re also pretty good at sleeping on their desks) and life and craziness and joking and they bring so much mayhem and chaos (of my favorite kind) into my life. But in this past week’s lesson we talked about consequences, so I asked them to write about three events in their lives that have impacted them deeply, for good or for ill. Today, in the flood of sheets of paper being dropped on my podium, James jabbed his finger at the second line he had written.   “This one,” he said, making sure that I saw it.   We had no time to talk then, but once I had gotten home I read through their answers more carefully and remembered that he had pointed his out to me: an allergic reaction to penicillin as a kid.   So I sent him a message on WeChat abo

Not in Vain

Recently I've been listening a lot to Your Labor is Not in Vain (lyrics here ) , and yesterday I realized that I love this song not only for the reminder that it is to me, but because it makes me think of friends, dear brothers and sisters all over the world, and how faithfully they labor, and what a joy it is to be co-laborers. As many of us celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I hope that you all know how much I'm encouraged by the work that you do.  I see a fraction of what makes up your lives -- teaching, parenting, dealing with medical needs, listening to the people around you, fighting for justice for those who can't speak for themselves, making art, making meals, writing books, being willing to travel across the world, being willing to stay in the same hard place. I need to be reminded frequently that the work here is not in vain, that my students are learning how to be better thinkers and growing in their confidence to communicate in English, that conversati


Towards the middle of the semester, days are so full that I feel a little stunned at the end of the week as I walk out of my Friday class.  What?  Friday again? It's good stuff though. Yesterday evening we were able to have a birthday party for Marceline.  While the chance to celebrate a student's birthday with them is always special, this one was noteworthy for a few reasons.  Let me break it down... It was her 19th birthday and first-ever party.  To have the chance to spend some time telling (and showing) students that we are thankful for their lives and presence is such a sweet opportunity. Also, this party was for  Marceline .  As one of Miriam's students last spring, she started coming regularly to our office and.  Well.  We described her at the time as a cactus that chases you around begging for a hug and then, when you try to oblige, pokes you and leaves you wondering what on earth just happened.  I don't think that Miriam or I could have even im