Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It Takes a Village to Get a School Ready

Tomorrow is the first day of school. 

If you have ever taught before you know that it takes a lot of work to get a school ready and that's not even factoring in the Niger dust which probably doubles the amount of work at our school.  However, if you had been hanging around our school these last couple of weeks you would have noticed something interesting.  An amazing amount of people have been pitching in to help us get ready!  There are the regulars...the janitors, the teachers, the youth pastor, the dorm parents, the principal, the director, among others.  But its our job to get the school ready, after all.  The surprising and really awesome thing to see has been the students pitching in.  I have seen high school students right on down to second graders helping out.  There were even two dorm students who arrived today and instead of hanging out with their friends and settling into their rooms they were out mowing the lawn.  How cool is that?

We have even had alumni and parents of alumni and students helping us out.  Wow! What a blessing to be starting another school year in a community like this.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Psalm 23

Good Shepherd,

You provide wholly.
You lead peacefully.
You renew daily.
You guide righteously.
You follow closely.
You protect carefully.
You prepare abundantly.
You honor undeservedly.
You pursue lovingly.

You are...
My Good Shepherd.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Currently Making Me Happy

Books - millions and zillions of beautiful books.

I love these books!  I don't quite have millions and zillions of them but someone donated roughly 200 or more of these leveled books.  They happen to be from my favorite company too which makes the gift even sweeter.  I'm excited that my kids are going to have so much quality stuff to read. 

As I sat leveling these books, I thought about what a difference the ability to read can make in a life.  The last year I taught in Georgia I had a little boy who was quite the troublemaker at the beginning of the school year.  In fact, I caught him stealing the first week of school.  It was only after he qualified for the Reading Recovery program and spent several months of intensive one on one time with a teacher learning how to read, that I realized that his bad behaviour was evidence of the frustration he felt over his inability to decipher the words on a page.  His behaviour improved exponentially once he learned to read.  He was no longer a problem in the classroom and other teachers noticed the difference, too.  Learning to read literally changed his path.

That same year, the janitor that cleaned my classroom retired.  It was only near the end of his time at the school that I learned that he was illiterate.  At his retirement party, he had to hand the cards he received over to his wife because he couldn't read.  I wonder how his life would have been different if he had only learned how to read.

Teaching children to read is such a privilege and maybe, just maybe, it will change their lives.
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