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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Deep

So yesterday was only my fourth day of actual teaching. I know, I’ve barely started, yet I feel all I’ve been doing is going on about it. So far I have worked two Mondays and two Thursdays. For some reason, after my Monday afternoon classes I always feel a little deflated (or very deflated, if we’re talking about last Monday…) whereas on Thursdays I feel that things go much better. It’s almost as though Monday is my practise day, and by Thursday I’ve been able to adapt the lesson plan to make it better *fingers crossed*, as well as figuring out ways to better discipline the kids too (will come to that later).

Still feeling a bit like a squashed tomato, as everything is new. Next week I’m going to be teaching up to around I don’t know…20 hours maybe…? So we shall see how THAT goes. I can feel the butterflies in my belly already. Possibly not the best idea to spontaneously train off to England for the weekend, but hey ho. Family’s important!

The thing is though, I’m rubbish at motivating myself to do work. My dad’s always said, I’m a ditherer. It used to take me ages to start writing my English essays for example; and it’s not like I’m a student anymore, where if worst comes to worst I can just hand in my half written essay and hope for the best (yeah, failed that one!). This time, I’M the teacher, the one who has to know where I’m taking the children next – all activities and materials planned and prepped. It’s going to be an interesting ride!

On a positive note though, yesteday I enjoyed my lessons. Well, firstly I think I was just plain relieved that pupils weren’t sliding on tables and stacking chairs. Don’t ask. Although of course there were those who tried to misbehave and those who weren’t listening, I felt able to better control those situations. For example, if someone was not listening or if they kept misbehaving, I’d tell them to go and sit in the nursery corner for a minute, on one of the little yellow chairs which are lined up around a green furry rug. I gave one child the choice: yellow chair or Mr. So and So? After waiting a while for his response (he wanted to do neither of course)…he finally chose the yellow chair.

What made me happy, was how my classes ran quite smoothly yesterday for the four year olds. Even my first class with the children who are a little older ran quite smoothly too. Last week my timing was a bit all over the place, so hopefully I can learn from this week and last week and maintain good lesson structures.

If you’re working with little ones too, the little children really enjoyed the song, ‘We All Fall Down’. I also gave the little ones a colouring activity to do – we were working on Spot the Difference worksheets, where there was one picture of a man with a big nose and small ears next to another picture of the same man with a small nose and big ears. The children had to tell me the difference and I tried to stress the words ‘big’ and ‘small’ and revise a few colours when they were colouring. In my final group, the time quickly passed and everything seemed to have gone well; one little girl was speaking Frenglish by the end!

I’m hoping to introduce some kind of reward system for when the children are good – for praising them too, as sometimes all I feel I’ve been doing is trying to assert some kind of authority and telling the children what they can and cannot do. One new thing I managed to do yesterday was to ask the classes to think of their own rules, and then introduce the classes to some of my own – for example, when I say, ‘Everybody!’ I want silence.

I’m not sure if I’ll be teaching forever, but I feel like a lot can be learnt through learning to teach, that is, learning to teach well.

I’ve been asking for a lot of advice this week, from other teachers and leaders who have worked with children. I feel like I’ve thrown myself in the deep end a little, what with 1) teaching young children 2) teaching in French and 3) relying on little teaching experience i.e assistantships and Holiday Clubs. Either way, I guess here in the deep is where we find out whether we sink or swim. I’ll keep you posted.