June 25, 2011

Pembina Valley: Leap of Faith

I'm going to camp this summer. Training begins tomorrow.

I'm praying it will be a fulfilling experience, serving God and serving others.

I want to trust in the sufficiency of God, and try not to focus on my fears and weaknesses. I fear a lot of things (mostly irrational), but I believe God is big enough and loving enough to help me overcome those fears and anxieties. God can use camp to change lives. It's not about what I can do, but what God can do, and He can do anything. Camp changed me 9 years ago. I'm willing to take that risk again and let Him work in me this summer.

I'll be learning a lot about trust and faith this season. This will be the biggest adventure since Europe, and I'm hoping it will change me for the better. Like good clay, I want to be moldable. Like a good student, I want to learn.

I'm letting go and I'm walking out in faith.

Life consists of peaks and valleys, triumphs and struggles, joy and sadness. Without one, would the other mean as much? Could we have compassion without suffering? Without valleys, would the peaks be as high? How much do we use comparison on a day-to-day basis?

Things change, people change, and I'll change. I have faith that the Spirit is always here by my side, walking with me. He's my secure rock - everything changes but God and I'm glad He loves me.

June 9, 2011

Farewell Apples and HB Pencils

About a year ago from today I decided to take a Leave of Absence from my Education degree at the University of Manitoba. A year ago, I thought by this time today, I would want to finish my Education degree. I struggled with the decision to return, and after thorough reflection, I decided to not finish my studies this fall.

I can't express how much I admire teachers that care, teachers that positively impact lives everyday, and teachers that play an important role in lifelong learning. We remember our teachers, and the lessons we learned, both directly and indirectly. It takes a lot of determination, courage and wisdom to be a good teacher. Hopefully we've all been blessed to learn from a teacher that really "resonated" with us.

I was going through a box of Education-related stuff filled with handouts and materials from my practicum experience and I found the student feedback sheets I had asked my EAL (English as an Additional Language) Geography class to fill out.

A lot of their feedback warmed my heart, and a lot of it made me laugh. Although teaching isn't the path I've chosen for now, I won't forget the experience and skills I've gained from it.

I had asked them what they liked about my teaching. I had some overstated answers like, "everything is perfect" and a couple of "nothing"s. Pretty standard answers - they spanned the spectrum. I laughed because one kid wrote in all-caps, "YOU GOT A LOT OF PATIENCE!" Fighting for classroom control was a challenge, so it was nice to see this screamed at me.

For what they didn't like, or would like to see improved, I got this:
"Turn your volume up" - Solid advice, I can be a quiet speaker.
"Miss Choy's teaching is a little boarding"
"THERE WAS NOTHING TO NOT LIKE YOU!" Bless his heart. I might just frame this one.
"Be funnyer" Touche.
Under additional comments, one student said "good person" which made me laugh. So concise.
"Miss Choy you are a good teacher. I like you have class with us. I can learned everything was very simple to know it and easy to remeber it! I learned lots from you! Thank you!"

That's something I think every teacher wants to hear - "I learned lots." That lightbulb moment was one of the most rewarding things about teaching: Helping students learn concepts and realize a passion for their work, and helping them figure out where their skills lie, or challenging them and giving them an opportunity to stretch their limits and grow.

I'm definitely going to miss many things about teaching, and I'm not sure if I'll ever go back and finish it. For now, I'm going to close this chapter of my life.

Last year I received one comment that made me cry on my last day of practicum. Under additional suggestions the English student had written, "Find a different career." My CT and friends told me to disregard it - the comment was written out of spite and for unjustified reasons. Funny thing is, I've ended up taking this student's suggestion and I'm going to follow it.

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (Our grad quote)

I'm stepping off my Education path. We'll see what path I take from here.