Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life with the Dragons...

People keep asking me how teaching is going, and it is undoubtedly going well so far, but it is really hard for me to put it into words beyond that. (And we technically aren't allowed to take pictures...so I can't just show you what a typical day looks like.) But, here is my best attempt at explaining what a joy it is to teach english to these little dragons every day!
I am already reppin' the dragon school on my water bottle :)
Firstly, the dragon school is Montessori/Non-Violent-Communication school. So that means there are no classrooms, no lessons, and no homework. It makes my life as a teacher both extremely easy and sometimes hectic. So, basically, the idea is that the kids take their education into their own hands and learn at their own pace. For some kids, that means they ask me to read them 10 Dr. Seuss books everyday. For some kids, that means that adamantly study math all day because they love it. For some kids, that means they play outside all day long and never crack a book. And all of that is acceptable at the dragon school. I am not sure how much I buy into this way of learning, though I do see some definite benefits. The school is a bright and happy place, on any given day you can walk in and hear laughter and the sound of 32 little kids enjoying life. And, for me, it makes my life exponentially more fun than the average english teachers because I have the freedom to just enjoy being with the kids and communicating with them in English, however that may look.

So, here is a little glimpse of my students and the fun we have at school:

ART: A lot of the dragons (the girls especially...) are really into art. They do everything from felting purses, drawing, origami, to painting chairs...and here are just a few pictures! The first are chairs the kids painted, the middle picture is two portraits of me that Janna drew and a picture of the ocean (I mentioned that I liked the beach...) from Lucas and Luis, and the last is an origami flower from Anna.

SWEET FRIENDS: Most of the kids are really sweet to each other, very inclusive, even with me. I checked my box the other day to find a friendship book from this shy, adorable little girl Lina. She wanted me to fill it out as her "friend". I thought it was precious that she considers me a friend and I had fun looking at all the other entries from the other students.

FREE SCHOOL: While the kids technically do not have to do any school work, almost all of them love reading. Pictured above is Luca in the reading room, pouring over a book about cars, his favorite thing. Especially with the little ones, I spend a lot of time in this room reading out loud to them. Also, the girls love for me to make them pictures with directions in English of how to color them in, which is what is pictured above to the left. They proudly display their work around the school when its finished.

THE BUILDING: Like I mentioned, the school is a very happy place. The walls are painted bright colors and the walls are decorated with students' work and shelves are full of games. The Dragon School is a fun place.

OUTSIDE: The vast majority of the kids adore playing outside (especially the boys...) and the school has a great back yard. They just got a trampoline last week, and the dragons ask me to double bounce them about 1000 times per day. They also love playing tag but somehow I always have to be "it". All the running and playing always makes me exhausted by the end of the school day, but if that is my biggest complaint about my job, then I think I should count my blessings.

COOKING AND BAKING: One thing I love about this school is that the kids are very involved in the kitchen. Everyday one teacher and two dragons cook breakfast, and you will often find kids in the kitchen at other times either cooking Spanish lunch with their Spanish teacher or doing a science lesson. So, today, I decided to introduce them to my favorite homemade cookies. They were a huge hit, the dragons got in a fight about who got to cook with me (there's a 5 kid limit in the kitchen...) and the ones who ended up baking with me loved it. By the time we had all eaten plenty of dough and were finally putting the cookies in the oven, the kids were ecstatic (middle picture)! And the cookies were delicious. The kids devoured them in minutes. We will definitely be making cookies again soon.

I hope this gives you a little taste of what my daily life looks like. I promise its not all fun and games...I do have to sit through a 5 hour staff meeting in German every Wednesday and I spend about half of every day confused because I can't understand German. But this post does show the little blessings God has put in my life. I want to leave you with a verse that my friend Katherine sent me yesterday that just fits so well with this whole thing...Its John 11:40 and its a great reminder for everyone, no matter what your life is like these days. "Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?' "


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