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Showing posts from 2020

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

He is making everything new!

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It seems like day after day there is more news about the sadness and sickness that crawls through our nations, local communities and lives. News of cancer, mental health and depression, news of the passing of both young and old, news of broken bones and broken families. Maybe it's the current health situation and maybe it's because we're expecting "Christmas cheer" but the news weighs heavy on all our hearts.  Be it the pain and sickness, or the sin and corruption we see in our world today, God's Word hits it right on the head when it says that all creation groans in eager longing for the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:18-23). The health crisis that we've spent our year in has been a year long advent as we groan and take on each day waiting for lockdowns to end and normalcy to return. We don't know when this will come to an end. It reminds me of the prophecies that were told of Christ's coming as families and generations waited and longed for t

November: The Dreamt Ideal, The Reasonable Expectations & The Actual Reality

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This weekend has been a whirlwind as I worked through my first wave of report cards. Be it the marking, the comments or the reflections, I can see why this isn't a favourite part of the job for teachers. It was difficult because while teaching is messy - be it the spilling of papers out of desks, the chasing of late assignments, the tending to student needs, to building of character, to attending to independent education plans or the nagging of other miscellaneous considerations, it somehow needs to be consolidated into neat letters and numbers on a piece of a paper three times a year. It doesn't help that most of the time as a first year teacher, I don't know what I am doing. Shooting in The Dark "Little by little the bird builds its nest."   Cultivating and building a foundation takes time and it doesn't happen immediately. Birds are careful in crafting their nests, considering what materials to use and how they intertwine with each other to produce a strong

October: Our World in Four Squares

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I recognize that we are already a week into November and if I don't write this now, it probably won't get done. October flew by so quickly and I don't know if I have all that many new reflections to report on. One of the only things that came up again and again was Four Square during recess.  Four Square, a simple game of hand ball where four players take turns defending their quadrant whilst trying to get another player out. It seems like a simple game, in fact, it should be quite simple but whenever I was on recess duty and watched my students play, it was absolute mayhem.  Tornado! Tea Party! Poisonous Tea Party! Bomb! were some of the rule variations that were called and I have no idea what was going on. What I did see what our world within a game of four square. Every couple of minutes the rules would change (depending who was in the King position) but it lead to endless arguments and fighting, demands for redos and a barrage of finger pointing. Eyes would turn to me i

September: Be Faithful

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This September, I returned to school; but for the first time, I did not return as a student. I am teaching a grade 5/6 split class at a private Christian school in Guelph. It baffles me to think that I am an actual teacher now; not a student teacher, not a teacher-candidate, not an aspiring teacher but an Ontario Certified Teacher that has their own class for a full year. What did I do to deserve or "level up" into this position of responsibility?  As my first month of teaching wraps up, I have learned and held onto so many different lessons and reminders that I'd like to remember. My hope is that I could end each month with a post to wrap up any new insights I have learned. After all, one thing I've learned throughout my two years of teacher's college is to reflect on what you do - what did you do well? What could you improve on and how might you do it differently next time?  The First Week of School   (as a brand new teacher, with the repercussions of a global h

Trust The Process

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Tonight's Loaf (#4) As we count down the final days of summer, I am finding myself in a bread-making kick. Never would I have thought that I'd be baking bread from scratch but here I am on a third loaf within the past 24 hours (the first one failed, the second one was shared, and the third one is currently in the oven). Baking has always intimidated me - the need to be precise, working with yeast, the waiting and seeing; is unlike working the stovetop where you can just add and mix as you go. Even when baking small treats, I find myself double checking, triple checking if it was 3 cups or 4 cups, a tablespoon or teaspoon.  Loaf #1: Inside was a bit dense but what a first go! I was inspired to try baking bread because the chef at the farm this summer makes fresh bread each week and we had talked about it periodically. She gave me resources and referenced videos, she even gave me my own thermometer to check the internal temperature. I also promised her that I'd let her try so

Like Dragonflies

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Do we, like dragonflies, dart around while the lake lies before us? Its gentle waves crash upon the shore, and a sweet summer breeze brushes by. Do we, like  dragonflies, speed past the the sun's painting of the skies? Strokes of red, orange and yellow   washes behind the billowing clouds. Do we, like drag onflies, find ourselves blind to the life that goes on? The silent spider spinning her web,  the teetering turtle basking on rocks, and the momentary mayfly fluttering its last. Do we, like dragonflies, find ourselves deaf to the call of the loon  as our wings beat and buzz? Her song rings over the still waters  for anyone who will listen. Do we, like dragonflies tirelessly seek out task after task? To work, to sleep, to mate, to eat dart left, dart right, circle and repeat. Do we, like dragonflies, fail to see the ever-outstretched arm of tranquility that invites us to peace? To gaze, to contemplate, to wonder and to rest to sit and be still, to delight and stop thinking 'wh

The Rest in The Rain

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After a scorching week of endless sunshine and highs of over 30 degrees everyday, the skies finally grew dark as storm clouds rolled in and loomed over, thunder slow-clapping into an applause. And beat by beat, drop by drop, an orchestra of rain played out over the cities, streets and fields. Everything was soaked, nothing left untouched. Having been at the farm for over two months now, our plants are on my mind. This season of growth and harvest are incredibly dependent on the temperature and weather and this recent heat wave has dried out our strawberry plants (it's been a crazy few weeks of strawberry season) and robbed the land of its moisture. But as I drove by fields in the downpour on my way home, it was almost as if I could see plants with outstretched arms, drinking in the overflowing fountain that poured out from the skies. ROMANS 8:19-23 - For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the crea

Just A Mistake?

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Osteospermum - African Daisies The May two-four weekend just passed us by; and the perfect combination of sunshine, a long-weekend, working from home, and a greenhouse full of plants meant record-breaking sales at the farm! Like a hose, an endless stream of annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets and bags of soil flowed out, ushering in the beginning of spring. I had the pleasure of working the till and feeding my social soul greeting and serving our customers and guests. This also meant that I had front row seats to flowers of every colour, shape and size come through - osteospermums (african daisies), calla lilies, fuchsias (image on left) and portulaca to name a few of my favourites. Each of these flowers are unique and different, even amongst the variations of each kind (I don't even know how many kinds of marigold we carry) and I couldn't help but be in awe of God's magnificent creation. Consider how they grow, their little characteristics that dist

More Than A Course For Credit

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Through my two years of Teacher's College at Redeemer University, I had the incredible privilege of being a part of the Redeemer Concert Choir. It all started when I had spontaneously signed up for an audition at the end of my first week of school not knowing that I would enrolling in an actual course for credit, meet some incredibly talented friends and discover the world of choral music. One Choir, Many Parts There's something about an ensemble that generates a unique bond, as you and your voice are woven into a community and a sound so unique that no other ensemble can recreate. The music you make can only be created when you are all together - the voices of basses, tenors, altos and sopranos blend to produce beautiful harmonies and dissonances to provoke emotion, tell a story, or share a message. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 which talks about how body of Christ - one body, many parts. Just as the eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you"; th

There's Scripture in the Soil!

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This summer, God has granted me the opportunity to work at a farm in Elora, north of Guelph. I am incredibly thankful for his provision in this especially during the global pandemic we are all experiencing. I am glad that I have the opportunity to work at an essential service and serve my local community in doing so. More than that, the idea of working on a farm has come up here and there over the past few years, and I've only heard wonderful things. What has struck me the most since I started a couple of weeks ago is the number of biblical analogies and insights that sprout up as I work. The Word of God is filled with examples and metaphors related to agriculture and farming and I thought I'd share some of the neat ah-ha moments I've had so far.  God gives the growth.  I remember my first day out in the field planting onions. Each plant was grown in the greenhouse before it was transferred outside. It was baffling to consider all the work, time and effort that went