Thursday, December 02, 2010

Some recent quotes...

During a lesson on Hanukkah...
Me: Ok, so who remembers what the name of building is where the Jewish people worshiped God?
Student: Oo I know! Nipple!
Me: Close... its temple. Good try.

A student at mg's school:
"Hi this is my good friend P. She's severely autistic."

A child at my school after working very hard to peel a tangerine and eating one piece:
Ahhh that was refreshing.

Me: Are you going to work hard to be a good friend today and not hit or spit?
Child: Yes. I was in my bed and I prayed to Jesus that he would help me not hit my brother too.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A child rolling over on her cot at nap time:
Oh my gosh.... I broke my hip.

Conversation with a 6th grader about my job:

6th grader: You teach preschool!? I don't know how you do it.
Me: Well... they're cute.
6th grader: Cute won't get you through the whole day.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Have you ever seen or used a 3 x 5 index card? I'm willing to bet if you've ever been to school you have. My dad used to joke that I should buy stock in them because I used them for every single subject to study... they held my organic chemistry compounds and equations, my english vocabulary words, my life cycle sequences and my Bible study memory verses.

As a teacher this really hasn't changed much. I still really enjoy organizing my thoughts in a defined, pre-lined space (preferably with a Sharpie in hand).

As I began my home visits this summer for my pre-k students I made up a card for each one of them. Their names where written at the top (in orange Sharpie) then their parents/guardians names on the other side with an address and phone number.

That's it.

That's all I knew about these children before I met them.

I was struck today by how much more I could write on those cards. I now know and have had the privilege of meeting parents, grandparents, guardians, aunts, siblings, and several pet fish. Some of these details-- who lives at home and who else goes to our school-- have been added to the cards.

But I could add that K is the best helper in my class-- he is always showing someone how to open their milk or where to sit at circle. I could add a running narrative of funny conversations between R and S, two half sisters I have in my class. I could start a diagram of who should and should not sit next to who if you want anyone to listen. Who can tie shoes and who has yet to conquer those pesky laces. Who goes to the bathroom 20 times a day. One child sings at nap time in full voice... in Spanish. One child seeks my attention-- and needs it-- almost constantly.

At the end of the year, I doubt much more will be written on those notecards, because my favorite way of organizing information is insufficient to hold the streams of information I learn about these 16 children on a daily basis. I could group and re-group them by ten different attributes a day. At the end of the year I think I will be overwhelmed by how much I have learned about them. What a privilege.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Opening Ceremonies

A few days ago we had our Opening Ceremonies for Charlottesville City Schools... all the teachers from the 11 schools packed into the CHS auditorium wearing our various school t-shirts and the dust from our classrooms.

The vice superintendent Gertrude Ivory spoke (where was Superintendent of the Year Rosa Atkins? No one knows). But Ms. Ivory is an incredible speaker. She is sincere, inspirational, and honest. While listing CCS's accomplishments, she also mentioned that we have all too many non-proficient readers graduating from our schools. She mentioned test scores and diversity, growing ESL populations and creative innovations.

She led into her speech with this statement (or close to it):

We need our schools to be filled with both excellence and equity. Because excellence without equity is privilege. And equity without excellence will lead our students to mediocrity that serves no one.

Here we go...

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Neighbors, New Sisters

Well friends,

We did it! We're moved into Prospect Ave... and its such a story of God's faithfulness.
Five years ago when I was a Fellow God put it on my heart to move to this neighborhood... Ellen and I prayed about living here four years ago, and the Lord led us elsewhere (which was awesome), and in His timing has fulfilled the dream I had of being a part of this community. A community of people sitting on front steps and in front yards. Of walking to and from Blue Ridge Commons. Of a culture of yelling back forth across the street. Of children running from house to house. And a community where Jesus has been long before we arrived.

There are other new arrivals to this neighborhood: a Bhutanese family who lives adjacent to us. And if you're like me and need a geography refresher: here you go.
The six of them arrived in America after 8 months of "being in process" as refugees from Nepal. They were forced to leave Bhutan 18 years ago, selling a large farm where they grew rice, maize, and cardamum, and two houses as they left. Now the grandparents, parents, and children all live next to us! Their names are Bol and Kina (grandparents), Caabi and Gonga (dad and mom), and Tek and Rubina (son and daughter). They are unbelievably delightful.

Before we had solidified our friendship with them, they were run outside everytime we came out to come and go from our house. They would stand on their little stoop and welcome us home, nodding and waving. Today, as I came home from the grocery store, my arms full and one hand holding a cell phone I was on, Gonga approached with two oranges and handed one to me and then handed me another and said, "Matthew!" Her intention was clear and I thanked her. I ran inside to dump the groceries, returning to the stoop with my orange and asked to sit with the grandparents. They said yes and I plopped down. Bol said to me, "No English," as a way of indicating he didn't know how to communicate, and I said, "It's ok. We'll just sit." And we did, peeling and eating our oranges. Naming a few things around us in Nepali and in English. Bol asked where my mother was (in their culture its unheard of to leave your parents living alone, sorry mom) and I tried to explain Lynchburg.

Soon Matthew came home and promptly joined us on the stoop, which got the attention of Gonga and Caabi, who invited us into their house! We sat on the couch, admiring their maps on the wall of Virginia and of Israel. When I asked why they had a map of Israel, Caabi replied, "It's just a poster from IRC."

We took them over to our house to show them around after some conversations, and they returned the favor. As we left our house, Tek, the 11th grade son, pulled me aside and said this is the first them they have been in someone else's house. He explained that in the camps in Nepal their homes were very small and they ran from place to place. His grandmother, he said, is very lonely because she has no one to visit and is in one house all the time. It causes the loneliness, he explained. I told him they were welcome at our house anytime.

When Gonga led me upstairs to their home (which is almost identical to ours), she put a necklace around my neck and a ring on my right hand and proclaimed, "My gift to you! We are now sisters."

What does it mean to have a Bhutanese sister!? I supposed we will now find out. I am so very thankful for these friends and that we can welcome them to the neighborhood.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

AAAAAAnd we're back...

Sometimes a lack of exposure to children + wedding planning = a blog drought.

We're working on this.

Matthew and I thought this would be an appropriate place to start logging some of our funnier encounters with some neighborhood kids, particularly a 6th grader named Garlodi who is originally from Liberia and one of the most inquisitive and hilarious kids I know.

Today he said, "Was Gilli born in the woods?"
Me: No! Why?
Garlodi: He's so tall! I thought maybe he got his tallness from the trees.

This led to a discussion about DNA and genes...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"When we adopt-- and when we encourage a culture of adoption in our churches and communities-- we're picturing something that's true about our God. We, like Jesus, see what our Father is doing and do likewise (John 5:19). And what our Father is doing, it turns out, is fighting for orphans, making them sons and daughters."
-- Adopted for Life by Russell Moore

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A conversation between two four year olds...

Boy: Can you tie your shoes?
Girl: No.
Boy: How many are you?
Girl: 2. (thinking he was asking how many shoes she had)
Boy: How can you be 2 if you have big arms??