I apologize for how long it has taken me to post this new blog. My procrastination is due, in part, to busyness and perfectionism. This past weekend was the first weekend that I’ve spent at home. Yet, I have taken the time to write this new blog post out 4 times already. So, please forgive me if this long awaited post does not meet any high literary standards. I decided that too many great moments had already past for me to wait any longer for the right words to come.
Simply put, there are a lot of new aspects to my life in Germany this year. I have a new apartment, a new roommate, a class full of new computers, 2 new small group girls, and a “new” dorm to sub in. All of these changes have been GREAT changes. However, the familiarity of my classes and my students is what has really made this semester for me.
Last year, I lived alone in a studio apartment. I was barely making it by financially and I often found myself lonely. I thought I was living as inexpensively as possible, but I found a cheaper way to live this year. I found another teacher who was in a difficult financial situation to room with. Together, we found a furnished apartment that was 100 euro cheaper than our rent, when we split it. So, praise God for the answer to two prayers! For those of you who don’t know, I was blessed to be the recipient of 12 new iMac computers for my classroom this year. BFA had been planning to convert the yearbook/graphic arts room into a Mac lab for a few years now, but they could never pull together the money to afford it. This year, the school found a good deal and went for it! I’m so glad. The teacher I share the room with and I practically did flips when they arrived.
We had cleaned out our room, painted the walls, and cleaned the furniture- in preparation for the arrival of our new computers. Now, we are equipped with a sleek new classroom and new programming to teach our technological classes.
Going into this school year, I knew that I was going to be losing one of my small group girls. So, I was ready for adjustment. What I didn’t realize was that I was going to be adjusting to adding 2 new students. Neither girl is new to BFA. They were both away last year. So, the other girls know them. I’m the only one who is out of the loop. Yet, I’m so glad to have more girls to get to know, invest in, and love on.
Last year, I subbed at a guys dorm every Monday night. Subbing there was fun, but it mostly consisted of baking cookies and doing lunch prep for the students. I like doing each of those things, but I was really hoping to build relationships. It turns out that the guys were more interested in playing video games than hanging out in the kitchen. Go figure! So, near the end of the semester, I began helping out on the weekends at a girls dorm. Let’s just say that my experience there was as different as night and day. The girls wanted to spend a LOT of time together and I was able to build relationships immediately.
So, this year, I committed to subbing at the same girls dorm every Monday night and on the weekend once a month. I’m loving it!
(Baking at Storch Dorm. Thus the cake batter on the face.)
Despite all of the changes that have occurred this year, I am teaching the same subjects as last year. I’m so thankful for this fact! I love both Yearbook and Art Appreciation. Teaching the same classes has enabled me to refine my lesson plans. I felt behind all of last year, while I created many of my lesson plans from scratch. I feel like I have a real grasp of things this year. It has caused me to wonder if I am ready to give this up next year. I only signed up for teaching 2 years, but I cannot imagine doing anything else right now!
Most importantly, I am so thankful to return to the relationships that I built last year with staff and students. It was hard to watch students graduate from high school when I was in youth ministry, but I was able to keep up with those students when they left. It’s so hard to watch students come and go when they all live in other countries. Yet, like I said earlier, I cannot imagine doing anything else. It’s so exciting to be part of the growth process of these amazing teenagers.
Enjoy some of these pictures from the beginning of the year.
(Spiritual Emphasis Week at the high school)
(My Yearbook class stoning another student. It happens.)
More pictures will be coming very soon!