Ezering Along

I have recently started a new job in the sunny land of ENG, a.k.a, England.

Who’d have thought?

I’m not gonna lie, leaving France felt (cue exaggeration) like losing a limb. I can’t remember a time when I have cried so much over something. It was experiencing lack of direction, indecision, confusion and loss all at the same time.

Well, apparently, the old me already had a feeling that I would end up in England, because if you recall my previous posts, you’ll see I’ve written (joked ^^) about returning to the UK and working in my mum’s local Tesco.

Funnily enough, I’m not working in my mum’s local Tesco – yet again I’m working in a school. This time though, I’m no longer the teacher, but the teaching assistant.

Thank goodness.

I’m enjoying my more-or-less free evenings; last year’s constant lesson preparation and activity research but a distant memory…

How delightful it is to wake every morning. To wake early, with purpose. To have somewhere to be, people to interact with, and a LOT to learn. (Being unemployed was just a bit of a drag…)

This is what I love about the education environment: It feels a challenge. It IS a challenge, rather. Yet this challenge means that every day is a privilege, as every day, little old me gets to learn. I get to learn pearls of wisdom from other newbies or experienced professionals, from the children, or more often than not, from my own mistakes. And mistakes, my friends,  are proof that you are trying.

I’ve read the book Captivating recently. In the book, Stasi Eldridge explains how as women we are created to be helpers. When God made Adam, it wasn’t enough; Adam needed Eve! Eve is Adam’s helper, she is his “ezer”. Not only is “ezer” used in the context of Adam and Eve, ezer is used in the Bible many times, meaning to help (helper), or to support.  And as a Teaching Assistant, I am convinced that God is teaching me about having more of His servant-heart. A heart created for helping others, a heart which is ready to help others, and rejoicing in the work.

Don’t get me wrong – rejoicing in the work is easier said than done a lot of the time. The first few weeks of my new job were (and still have recently been) quite up and down, and I still do, and will of course, experience down days.

What has been an encouragement to me though, are verses which I have recently (re)discovered thanks to one of Alyssa Joy Bethke’s blog post, Psalm 84:11-12:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel as though I almost grasp something new, and then, unexpectedly, this exciting spark of something new, slips through my fingers. Whether it be a new experience, a different job opportunity, a new friendship, a new love-interest(ha!), a new hobby, or anything else, there are times when I feel like I’m missing out on what I’ve never had. Or almost had.

Then, there are the times when I dwell too much on missing what I once had.

So rather than seeing me feel all sorry for myself, I’m pretty glad that God chose to speak to me through Psalm 84, reminding me that He will “withhold no good thing” from those who continually seek Him. Psalm 84:11 confirms to me that right here, right now is where God wants me to be, and that right here, right now, is nothing less than His best for me. How cool is that!? And although sometimes I’m full of doubt, waking every morning with this encouraging truth does nothing less than lift my spirits, helping me to rejoice in the new day and in this current season of life.

So right now, let’s trust in His ways, and not miss out on our Father’s best for us. Remember His words (Isaiah 55:8):

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways

and be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Time?

It is Tuesday the 7th of July 2015, and I am officially en vacances !!

Near penniless, yes, but that aside, it’s my summer break…

Woop!

For my final classes with the children, the theme was “Party Time”. So I had fun taking FULL advantage of this theme title (as sometimes what we are to teach seems quite vague and flexible)…Thanks to google, I delivered lessons including a variety of party show-stopper games and craft activities 😉

For example:

1. Musical statues

2. Relay races (using bean-bags on heads and balloons between knees)

3. How many pom poms in the jar? (with an edible prize for the closest guesser, of course)

4. Pop the balloons (having a balloon tied to your ankle, the aim is to pop everyone else’s balloon, and to be the last one standing with your balloon still in tact)

5. Hand-made party horns

6. Salt dough (pushing, prodding, rolling, and making shapes of snakes and snails, obvs)

I also made a ridiculous amount of strawberry jelly for my two year old classes. I even took some to church the following weekend, and had left-overs. I made THAT much!

After the party theme classes, I did feel like quite a kids party-planner expert, I admit! New vocation, perhaps?

TiringThursdays.com

Today is Thursday. Which means, it’s been a LONG DAY. Cue: lengthy blog post.

Starting work at 9am and finishing at 6:30 may not seem incredibly incredibly long or abnormal. But for me, it’s my most tiring day teaching. From teaching 3 year olds to 9 year olds – it’s not a particularly easy day. OVER 120 children I *teach* today. No lie!

Luckily (ha) I admit I have TEACHERS sit in on some of my lessons (in the school) for discipline issues – yup, so that the children will be more well-behaved. And I can tell you, these kids are WAY more calm with their proper teachers around. C’est impressionnant, la difference!!!

Teaching, is a skill. But I used to think, you either have it, or you don’t. And me, I told myself, well I just didn’t have it.

Like a crazy person, I decided to go for the ride anyway. But I can see now, that it is a skill. And my, am I impressed by everyone who goes and teaches! And like I said before, who teaches well. This year I’ve learnt and grown I imagine, yet if I was to continue the teaching adventure, well, I’d still have a lot of up-hill trekking to do.

However, I’m afraid my year as an English Language teacher for kids is nearly at its end. Very nearly. In just a few weeks, I will possibly be jobless… (Penniless too?? Let’s not go there…)

This is where the real adventure continues though… the adventure called LIFE.

This is my story! I’ve just got to write it well.

And I am incredibly thankful for this past year, that I have had this opportunity, a beautiful carefully hand-crafted part of God’s plan for me, and that I’ve stuck it out til the end. Advice to first year teachers – don’t give up! I’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it here now: the first year is the hardest! (I can’t really say as I can’t compare years, but I feel like it’s true!)

I’m gonna take a lot of memories away with me, mostly the happy ones, but also those most trying times.

Something as simple as a lil three/four year old inviting me over to his house (“Maitresse, tu peux venir chez moi!”), and of another sayin that I’m the most beautiful teacher in the school (ha),  and then the many love-filled hugs and bisous, beats all those hopeless feeling moments when you feel like the whole class is against you – little beings being little beings – disobeying, throwing things, running around, or trying to escape – and basically turning your classroom into a zoo.

But these kids, well obviously,  they’ve taught me a lot. And I’ve learnt to love them – and will miss them too.

WELL. Sentimental post just about over!

‘ll just leave you with this sentimental poem by William Martin; and be off with me….(job-hunting and cold Sweet’n’Sour chicken awaits…)

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

By William Martin

Long Way Smiles and Helping Hands

Mondays. What do you think of when you read that word? Yay? Not bothered? Already?

Today is one of those days – a MONDAY. And I admit, I’m not much of a Monday-lover. Saturday lover? Sunday lover? Count me in. Ze weekennnd!

Monday lover however, I’m out.

After my usual 4 classes today, I am happy to have made it through yet another Monday. Is it too bad that I’m counting? 8 more Mondays left working in that primary school…

Why? Because I-have-no-authority-with-these-kids, and when I suddenly do and something’s suddenly clicked… I’ll have another discouraging lesson.

Anyway, today after “teaching” my 4 classes (failing at disciplining more-like!), there were two things that made my day:

1. A teacher at the school offered to drop me home. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!

And with the amount of pupils’ books I wanted to take home, THIS WAS A MASSIVE HELP, thank you Lord!

2. A lady smiled at me in the street. Simple, but understated. Smiles go a long way! This only made me feel more happy.

MONDAYS. I need to remember that Mondays too are a gift. And we are to rejoice in them too, just like every other day!

This didn’t happen today, but one thing that makes my heart smile another little smile, is having 4 year olds helping me speak French. When I can’t say ‘Arthur’ or ‘Mathilde’ in a French enough way, these little ones do not hesitate to correct me and repeat repeat!

These small acts of love and kindness  – a smile, a practical helping hand, a gentle correction, are big acts of love in disguise! Big happiness boosting memories.

I hope you lived some good Monday moments too this Monday.

Ciao!

Napkin Note:

Dear Emma,
Each day is a gift, make it count.
Love, Dad

PS – Yes, Even Mondays.

Hello World!

So. I realised this blog was kind of like my place-to-come-and-escape.

You see, since work has been going OK, where I no longer walk to work on the verge of tears whilst saying a thousand prayers, I’ve kinda left this blog behind…

But now I’m back!

Grrr. If I can get a hang of this new laptop of mine. I can’t even see what I’m writing now. Seriously.

Anyway. So I’m back. This time though, I’m not here to escape. But rather, to update and encourage you! Work, well, dare I say it…is actually going okay. Admittedly, in the school where I work, the truth leaves a lot to be desired. But I get through the days. The kids do too, miraculously. (Believe me, miracles happen. Kids seriously believe they can fly. Ahem).

Perhaps a month ago now, me and my ‘colocs’ decided to start praying together regularly. I don’t know what it was, but for around 3 days I just had this desire inside to pray for the people around me, and after a few intimate prayers with friends, I suggested to my houseymate that we start praying together regularly. So that’s what we began to do. Thanks be to God!

I can’t say we’ve prayed every single night from then, but at least for the first two weeks ish, we prayed most if not every evening. And I cannot tell you just HOW much that helps and changes your life; how reassuring and encouraging it is to bring everything before God. We saw answers to prayer immediately. Some prayers we are still waiting on, but we know God’s got a plan. If you are living with Christians, and you don’t spend time together praying regularly, I would encourage you to do so! Even when you’re tired and still preparing for a day of teaching at 11pm the night before, it’s worth it.

I also told you in my last blog post about the read-the-Bible-in-one-year plan I started. Well, following that specific plan has kind of gone out the window. However, since beginning that plan, and being encouraged by my groupe de croissance (a sister in Christ), I have had a new thirst and motivation to read the Bible  morning and night. I would encourage you too, to work at reading the Bible with perhaps a more mature Christian, to have someone to be accountable to, who encourages you in growing in your faith. Reading morning and night, I’m still working on this though! Sometimes, as in today, it doesn’t happen. But I’m not gonna be discouraged!

Think I will leave you there for now… and end on this note –

God has a plan for your life, better than your own. The best thing we can do, is spend that quality time with Him, and trust in Him. Stop praying a million times a day out of fear; rather pray with a sincere heart that once, and trust that God has taken the burden already and has got you in His hands. Let Him carry you and lead you into His will for you. He knows every thought, word and action that you will think, speak and do – tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

Recently, I dwelled on verse Psalm 118:24, that THIS is a day that “the Lord has made” so – “let us rejoice and be glad in it”! What I also find encouraging is 2 Corinthians 12:9. The verse reminds us that Christ’s grace is sufficient for us. And amazingly – we may boast even more gladly in our weaknesses, as it is then that Christ’s power rests on us.

That same power which rose Christ from the dead, rests and work within us.

Let us not underestimate that power! 🙂

Just Call Me Scatty

So…it’s been a while. Longer than I’ve wanted. I’ve had so many moments where I’ve longed to just forget everything I have on my mind and to just write. It’s kinda like escapism. But it’s like dancing, and swimming, and whatever-elsing – I just don’t seem to find much time for it.

Oops my nan and sister have just rang me on Skype…

Back!

Doing this teaching job thing I’ve realised, that I am the most scatty person I know. Not only am I quite messy generally…I mean I honestly prefer things to be nice and tidy and clean; when things are a mess, I just imagine how much cosier and lovely things would look tidy. But for me, when I have lots to do e.g. PLANNING, maybe tidying does comes last…as in, late at night… or the next morning…or the next weekend – if it doesn’t bother anyone else that is!

So back to this sentence…: “Not only am I quite messy generally….” BUT I’ve recently come to realise that I actually shamefully lose (but sometimes find) OTHER PEOPLE’S possessions!!!!!!!! For example, a pen. OK, a pen is perhaps not so serious, but still I feel BAD. I tell myself I’m just borrowing the pen, for example, because I know that such and such a person wouldn’t mind me borrowing it anyway, and voila, at the end of my morning at work, I think, Where did I put so-and-so’s pen???

Also, a recent trip to Le Feu prompted me to question myself: just how honest am I? If I say I’ll pray for somebody, do I actually do it, I mean, always? Or do I say all convincing, I’ll pray for you!!! But then get wrapped up in me-me-me, and shamefully forget or forget until ages after…

Work has been getting to me a little. Teaching, meh. I think I’ve figured out what I’ve always actually felt – teaching isn’t for me. I like children, I really do. (When there’s just one or two of them preferably, heh). And what does it say in the Bible…that we must be like little children? I need to brush up on my knowledge! Talking of that, I’ve started a read-the-Bible-in-one-year challenge (with 2 passages to read a day), which is going, er, okay so far…

But really, life isn’t SO bad. Although I may exaggerate at times and talk about black clouds following me around. I’m grateful for the food on my table, the roof over my head, and the money in my pocket. THAT REMINDS ME have I even paid my rent for last month?! Honestly you see, I can’t be left alone, can’t be trusted with anything!! Anyway continuing my list of what I’m thankful fors… I am so thankful for friends and family, plus friendly and supportive colleagues (never mind the disorganisation at work sometimes…they are a very supportive bunch!)

Now, it’s time to ask myself: What will I do next year?!!! This year is gaining me work experience, and new friends and challenges, (and a little French speaking practise on the side!!), but otherwise, I don’t feel like my time here in Lille is something I want for the long haul. The thing is though, I don’t know where I see myself next. I’ve been thinking of the somewhat exotic land of…Eng! England. You know, where they speak English. Near Wales. Scotland. Etc. Ha. But really, I have no idea where…Cambridge is pretty nice! But really, I’m asking myself too, what about being closer to the family…so anyway. Things are a little up in the air at the moment. Only thing I know is, I want to try something other than teaching!

Think that’ll be this post done. Thanks for reading if you’ve taken the time to read.

Ciao!

I’m Still Standing, Yeah Yeah Yeah

Okay, so it has been A WEEK. It’s over, thank goodness. I think it went pretty fast too because there wasn’t much preparation to do – because it was revision week etc. In the classes in the centre, we had to basically revise everything we have done up to now. Only problem – the parents came along to OBSERVE. This is quite a nerve-wracking experience. After say, just over 12 weeks in this job (with very little experience before hand) and then I have people OBSERVE the way I’m teaching their own kid, or kids. Let’s just say, it’s not the most pleasant experience, especially if one or two children start playing up and there’s my inexperienced self failing to gain control in front of expectant parents. My credibility gone down the drain…gulp. But I got through it! Woop! Well more or less, I have one more hour to survive with said parents watching me like hawks…

At this present time, I am, as usual, (not good I know…) but quite BEHIND with my work. This is not helped by the fact that I have pupil evaluations to do. Which also, I’ve never done before, until now. This is furthermore not helped by the fact that I barely know these kids. I mean, I teach over 200 a week. And some kids, I see for only half an hour a week. HALF AN HOUR times 12, well that equals 6 hours. So, I’ve seen, for example 75 4/5 year olds for a grand total of around SIX HOURS. Even less, cos of the two weeks holiday I already had. And now what, I’m expected to say how much each one remembers from that 6 hours, and makes notes on how much each participates and behaves? I can barely remember their names after spending half an hour a week with groups of 15 at a time.

I’m gonna have to make badges for the next semesters so that my next evaluations will be a lot easier. Sigh. Gotta learn the hard way.

Although I may be drowning in a pile of yet to be sorted paperwork and the like, I have many things to be thankful for. Number one – CHRISTMAS IS VERY SOON, and more importantly, THE HOLIDAYS! I don’t feel very happy actually that I move around quite a lot during the holidays; it’d be nice to stay here for a week or so to enjoy simply being here or travel a bit in France, and not rushing from place to place with work constantly there in the back of my mind. But at the same time, I know I will love catching up with different family members. And at my Mum’s place where there are less people about, I’ll enjoy that quality time with her and my twintwin, and some downtime to myself.

I just know that those hols will go fast. But I guess, that is life. And some people don’t even have HOLIDAYS! I’m the lucky one here.

Still not 100% health-wise, which doesn’t surprise me in Lilleland. Not got that much of a cold now, but coughing every now and again, and my ears are not right. But I can hear! I just would like to get a doc to check them out… but again, these irritations are not serious ones, so again I have a lot to be joyful about.

I’m going to go swimming methinks, tonight. After I finish my “reglisse menthe”. Have you tried it? You should, it’s very calming! The weather at the moment is quite representative of the north NORTH FRANCE methinks: grey, cold and rainy. But oh well. Feels like home, then, I guess.

Bisous mes amis.

A plus!