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June: All Wrapped Up!

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This ball of old, dirty yellow tape perfectly captures the essence of this year.  Social distancing, chaotic mess, and hopefully a different school year in September.  Forty-weeks ago, I was slumped in a chair, hands covering my face as I cried in my dark empty portable that would soon by my own classroom. I felt the immense weight of the upcoming year; the 17 students I would be responsible for, the curriculum and content I was going to have to cover and the uncountable hours I was about to work. Soon after, at the end of my first ever day of teaching I remember hearing the principal exclaim, "only a hundred and something days left until the end of the school year!". And here I am now, with my first year behind me, partially completed in that now familiar portable and partially from my bedroom, during a global health crisis - by God's grace and with His help, I did it!  Everyone has been asking me how the school year went and how these final months have gone - which I

#KidsAsk: "Does God Love Satan?"

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My first year of teaching has been met with countless unexpected questions, situations and circumstances - be it COVID protocols, navigating zoom learning, or the facets of teaching a Grade 5/6 class I wasn't prepared for (ex. all the social drama). However, one of the most interesting parts has been the array of questions I am asked during our Bible class. This is the first post of a series where I'll share what's been asked and give my initial thoughts on it. By no means are they final, and it is meant to be open-ended, so if you have some insights, please feel free to chime in! This past week I was asked, "does God love Satan?" More often than not, these questions come out of nowhere and are usually irrelevant to the discussion we were having in class. The logic behind this fifth grader's question was "if the Bible tells us to love our enemies, and Satan is an enemy of God, then does God love Satan?". I have never had to think of this idea from th

To Be Called

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I've joined a small group of guys to study the book of Ephesians together and even after our first zoom meeting, it has been such a blessing to gather around the word, and have people to dialogue with rather than trying to always navigate or figure it out in my head alone. The church is the body of Christ, meant to be in fellowship with one another, sharpening and pointing one another back to God through his Word. One of our discussion questions really caught my eye this week - What does it mean to be called by God?  The doctrine of election continues to be highlighted more and more to me as I read through God's Word. Ephesians 1:4-5 says that before the foundation of the world, God predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in v. 18, Paul prays that we may know the hope to which he has called you. Romans 8:30 says that those he predestined, he also called ; those he called, he justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 1 Peter 2 tells us that we a

February: Uneventful

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How many times can you invest into a piece of work or creation only to have it brushed aside, complained over, and not appreciated before you give up? It has been hard over the past 6 months to work endlessly and churn out material and curriculum weekend after weekend and only have it met with groaning and moaning, while watching plans that I was excited about fail or not go as the way I had hoped.  I watched the Cheese Rolling episode on We Are The Champions on Netflix and it has become how I explain to others how I feel my year is going. It feels like I tripped back in October and I've given up on trying to get back on my feet so we're just going to tumble until it stops and hope for the best. The month of February always seems to be a dreadful one, even if it is only 28 days long. Even though the month has been challenging and tiresome, from switching back to in person and having our March Break postponed, we press on! Unfortunately, there isn't really much of a choice. 

January: A Month Online

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Tomorrow, after being out of school for 7 weeks, 4 which were online, we return to our first full day of in-class learning of 2021. I am expecting that I'll be completely exhausted with a hard crowd to work with (most of my students are not looking forward to be back in school), and oxygen deprived (as new restrictions mean we must have masks on in class and during recess outside). But before we look too far ahead, let's look back. The past month of remote learning has been in many ways quite a gift. I had wondered what killing momentum for the winter break meant when it came to starting up school again, so to go from no school to only about 50% was a good step up (we only had 150 mins of synchronous learning each day). Teaching the upper grades meant my teaching time was in the afternoon from 12:30-3:30 which meant I didn't have to get up at 6 or 7, and didn't need to drive in the dark to set up my classroom. Teaching from home paused all the recess duties and dealing

A Hand in Every Tree

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I don't know how you and your family spend the first day of the year, but in 2021, mine spent 3 hours mapping out a family tree with all our relatives and extended family members. I'll be the first to admit that whenever Chinese New Year comes around (which is soon!), I always forget who we are seeing, what to call them (in Chinese, titles are different depending on which side of the family they're on and if they are older or younger in respect to other family members - it isn't just mere "auntie" and "uncle"), and most importantly how they are related to us. In my defence though, we usually only see them just once a year. I've tried different memory tricks to remember who's who but alas, no success.  The three hours included calling close family in attempts to track down names (chinese names, english names and nicknames), country of residences and any standout notes (one of them is actually a professional and competitive ballroom dancer!) as

December: The End of A Term

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The final school week of 2020 felt a bit like a scramble, an unleashing of whatever I could just to pass the finish line with a Christmas movie in hand (which now have become 3 overdue library DVDs sitting on my teacher's desk). "How has teaching been?" - "a rollercoaster ride" is an answer which clumps a plethora of emotions and stresses, ups and downs at high speeds but never a breath until the screeching halt that was Christmas break. I can't say it was all bad; and I am told regularly, "you're a first year teacher, it is supposed to be hard - you can't be so hard on yourself, but the fact that you are shows that you really care."  I care - I definitely do. I have felt the weight of what it means to be a teacher, and even at my teaching placements throughout teacher's college - I was highly aware that though I was just a student teacher and I was learning, these were real souls I was teaching - this ain't no game. At the same tim