Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teaching Boys

Exhausted, but overwhelmed with love. That’s how I feel after two weeks of teaching my class-my class of 6 energetic students. 5 of them being boys!!! These students though have captured my heart already. I may end each day exhausted, a little bit frustrated that I had to repeat my directions for everything at least 5 times and then sometime we still didn’t do it right and worried that I am not teaching my boys the right way for them to learn. Boys are awesome, but they are different than girls. (If you remember from last year I had a class of 7 girls and 1 boy- let’s talk about complete opposite this year)  I mean we end each day with so much energy (the students not the teacher) and our desk completely messy.  The classroom turned almost upside down with cricket desk, pencils on the floor and papers stuffed into their desks. We end each day with lots of noise and jumping around. MY first reaction is STOP. Be still. Be quiet. Why so much energy? But I don’t really say these things out loud- thank you, Jesus for giving me self-control with my words even when it is so hard sometimes. Because sometimes all I want to do is just scream STOP. My patience these past two weeks has been tested. To be completely honest I have failed a few times with keeping my tongue quiet in moments of complete overwhelmness (I think I made this word up?!?) and have come home sad that I reacted that way. So my daily prayer is for JOY, PATIENCE, REST in GOD, and GRACE. These students have captured my heart no matter how much energy they have or if I have to sound like a parrot all year long- God placed me as their teacher for a purpose. I believe in this with my whole heart- that nothing is by accident.
My little ones (we made ice cream as a science experiment)!
SO this year I am focusing on how I can be a better teacher to boys. Really, school is not design for boys- so not fair!!! So my mission this year is to figure out how I can incorporate the best way for boys to learn into an education system design generally more for girls. Lately, I have been trying to soak up all the advice I can get from mamas who are raising little boys. I really do believe they have so much wisdom into how and why boys do things the way they do. One mama sent me an article last week that really gave me some great perspective and ideas to maybe weave into our energetic day. The lady who wrote the article is mother of two boys. Her blog site is called The MOB Society (Moms of Boys). The very first thing she talks about in her article is to understand that it’s a battle. Little boys’ bodies must be in motion and sometimes, their bodies take over their minds and hearts leading them to disobedience not always on purpose. She talks about how we have to have understanding and grace and lots of physical activity, but it is also important to teach them that sometimes we have to be able to control our bodies even if it is a hard thing.  The basic line is I need to create opportunities for physical activity- I need to figure out how I can physically create a space for activity into each and every lesson. I need to make sure that I check my frustration and not let my emotions control the words that come out my mouth. I need to remind myself that I am not perfect so why would I expect them to be. I need to fill my classroom up with Lavender smell- it is said that lavender has known sedative properties. (NO, I am not drugging up my students I am just trying to create a calming atmosphere- that’s all). But I think out of this whole article the very last thing this lady talked about resounded in my heart the most and gave me a ah-ha moment. These are her words:

 It is important to set healthy expectation early in the day and tell them that I know it’s hard, but do it anyway and I let them know I believed that with Jesus’ help, they could do it. I think that’s the key to making this little exercise be more than just a way to control your boys. The bottom line is that there will be things they don’t feel they can do for the rest of their lives—hard things that threaten to master them instead of the other way around. If we build a sense of “everything in life that’s worth anything requires hard work,” with a heavy dose of, “you must ask Jesus to help you overcome the hard things because you can’t do it yourself,” we’ll be that much further ahead in teaching them how to be godly, hard-working men who overcome in the name of Jesus.

This is exactly what my heart is screaming for my students- I want to teach them how to be godly, hard-working men (women) who overcome in the name of Jesus. I want my students to know how much God cares about them and loves them. How much He wants us to learn about Him and the world He created.
Look at all that energy! Haha!

So, as a teacher and so many other roles I take on throughout the day I know that I need Jesus more than anything. I can’t be a teacher to 5 boys and 1 girl if I don’t ask Jesus to lead me in it. If I don’t ask Jesus to give me the joy, the patience, the grace and the wisdom to teach these precious children that God has so graciously placed in my life for this school year.

A blog site that I have been reading each morning called She Reads Truth (it’s a devotional blog site) has been going through the book of Hebrews. It has been an amazing time of learning more about Jesus. As I was spending time reading the other day this verse and quote stood out to me:
We have met the One, and He is Jesus.
We have experienced the truth of the Gospel.
We have been reminded of who Jesus is—that He is greatest, sufficient, BEST.
And He gives us all we need to move forward in faith.

So, let’s move our feet! Let’s continue down this gospel road. The God of peace will equip us with all we need! (Hebrews 13:20-21)


Thank you, Jesus for equipping me with all that I need. I proclaim right now that I need you each and every day as lead my students in the discovery of becoming lifelong learners. I acknowledge that I can’t do this on my own- that I need your daily grace, faith and you are sufficient, you are the best and you are the greatest. Thank you that you equip me with all that I need!!!
So much JOY!

*If you are a mama or an educator who knows how to work with boys well or have any pieces of wisdom for me- please contact me!

**And if you would love to pray- please pray for my class that they would experience Jesus in a new way this year and that they would use their energy in a positive way. Please pray that I would have the energy(!!!), the patience, the wisdom and the grace as I teach these little ones!! J

Love, Daniella

Sunday, August 17, 2014

seeing through new fresh eyes

Rainy days make for perfect days of being cozy, feeling peaceful and being refreshed. Lately, there have been quite a few rainy days with it being typhoon season in South Korea. I am loving them (I mean I would not be enjoying them if they happened every single day, but a few here and there over the past few weeks have been wonderful).  

Rain always reminds me of being refreshed, renewed, washed cleaned and overflowing.  And these words describe exactly what is going on in my heart right now as well. Since arriving back in Korea for another year of teaching I have felt peace that this place is completely where God has me right now.   He will use all that I learned last year from Him to show me even more this year. It is a journey. Journey that is beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful, but it always has love from a Savior who loves no matter what.

I feel refreshed from a summer of weddings, friends, lots of ice cream, being outdoors, and loving on family. I feel renewed with a new desire to serve those in my community with Christ-like love. I feel washed cleaned of all that happened last year and ready to embrace that I have established myself in Korea for now. I feel overflowing with contentment, peace, loved and knowing that I am creating a space here in Korea that I call “home”. My home will always also be where my family is, but my own home for now is Korea. I am so thankful that God has worked in my heart and open it to accepting that my home for now is here. I feel completely at peace about it. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s wonderful.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of a team that helped the new teachers and their families’ transition to Korea and our community through a week of orientation. Showing these wonderful people around Songtan and explaining Korea to them gave me a new set of fresh eyes for this community and country that I live in. It helped me to feel the overflowing feeling of contentment that it is right that I am here. It was funny because I felt all week that God had purposely place little things throughout my days to show me/remind me why He has me where He does, but the really funny thing is that it has continue over the weeks. One day in the market a sweet old man threw some cherries in with my nectarines giving me new insight to how sweet Koreans really can be. I feel so safe running around my city. When it is really hot there is a fountain that refreshes you and actually makes you feel cold for a second (I needed this on the hot humid days).  I am relearning how to take public transportation and loving how easy and convenient it is. I love that I can walk almost anywhere! I see the adventures again in Korea (renewed) - there are many things that I want to discover this year.  There are many things that I want to do, see and explore. I feel accepted and loved in my community. I feel taken care of. I love that I can be a part of people’s lives here and walk a journey with them. I love that I can see how much my students from last year have grown and my heart is truly thankful to my Savior for giving me wisdom in coaching a student in my class from last year in dealing with anger in appropriate ways and seeing him use the techniques this year just makes my heart explode. I love that I can teach a class of second graders.  I love that all of these things are only possible because I serve a God who is perfect. I could not do any of these things, but because my Savior lives in my life He gives me His strength, His wisdom, His love and His guidance.  It is only because of Him and what He is doing in my life that I am where I am right now. I am clinging to Jesus.

Refreshed I am! Renewed I am. Washed cleaned I am. Overflowing I am. Thank you, Jesus for working in my life. Thank you, Jesus!

Love, Daniella

P.S Here are some pictures of how I have decorated my room. My lovely roommates and I are still in the process of decorating our apartment, but I will have pictures up as soon as we are finished with all the details! J

My desk area... still waiting on finding the perfect desk chair!

My bed area

Walk into my rom with joy, wake up in the mornings reading "Today I am grateful" and "welcome home, Daniellas!" Also, my view outside my big bedroom windows that bring so much sunlight in! Yay!

My room! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Second Grade. Round 2.

Tomorrow’s the day: First day of Second Grade. Round Two! I can’t believe that I am already a second year teacher. Where has the time gone? In some ways it has seemed to go by so fast, but at other times it has really slowed down.  This past year I have learned many lessons through a patient God. A God who never gives up on me. A God who loves me even though I am sinner and daily saved by His grace. A God who has my life in His hands and promises to be always faithful! The lessons that I have learned (and to be honest some of them I have to be reminded every once in a while still) are  becoming my own (owning my own faith), what true thankfulness means, grace, forgiveness, not striving for perfection, depending on Him completely, and being pursued by loving God. These lessons have deepened my faith in Christ and have given me hope for the future.

Ready to greet my little ones each day with a "Good Morning!"
As I think about this year of teaching I feel giddy. I feel excited. I feel at peace. I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. I do feel a little anxious. I do feel a little overwhelmed- what do you with 5 boys and 1 girl?!?! Let’s just say it will be a very active year! J But overall I feel that I am exactly where God wants me to be. For some reason He has brought me to ICS-P and He has a created a community that I can live in and love well.

Beautiful Sunset at Open House reminded me of new beginnings and gave me peace about this coming year. Thank you, Jesus!
There are many big ideas that I have for this year and many different changes that I want to make in the classroom. I love “new” things, but keeping the old as well- just mixed in. We will have lots of themed weeks again this year, but maybe not as many. I want to stretch some of them out so we can go more in depths with them. Our school is having a huge focus on community service this year which is always dear to my heart so I am very excited about this. I would love for my students and I to be involved in at least 1 community service activity a semester as well as any school wide ones. Of course as we see needs arise I would love for us to jump in and do them. If you know of any community service activities (in Korea as well as around the world) my little second graders and I could do please let me know.

To go along with all the changes I made for this year I changed my classroom around. I kept the same decorations/theme, but I switch things up little, added a few things and I absolutely LOVE it! I can’t wait to spend eight hours a day in my classroom teaching my little ones and hopefully shaping them to be Christ-like life-long learners!

My Teacher Desk as well as a Center Table

Classroom Library. 

Back of the Classroom
Front of the Classroom (missing a few posters)
My heart and soul are ready for this year. I just have a good feeling about it.

Happy Face with our school mascot!
Second grade. Round two. Here I come!


Would you please pray with me that:

-my students would experience Christ in a new way this year and want a personal relationship with Him.

-I would have the grace, knowledge, patience, and wisdom in teaching boys.

-more second graders would join our class! J

-ICS-P would continue to grow in student population and be a witness for Christ in all that we do.
With much love, Daniella