Friday, August 24, 2012

My Summer Job as a Herder of Half-Sized-Dirt-Coated-Humans

Today was my last day at preschool. My summer job was working as a teacher's aid at an English language focused preschool called Happy Day. My heart feels full of everything that happened. I made new friends, some big and some small. Most of them were only about four-years-old. I gained new skills and learned
a whole lot about negotiation and toddler diplomacy. Now I wish I could take a few days to digest it all, just as one does after a feast.

All summer I have been asking myself and God if teaching is something He would call me to someday. I go through lists in my mind of the things I loved and hated about teaching preschoolers to help me in the decision making.

Here's a sample list of WHAT I LOVED:

-I loved figuring out creative ways to get kids to do things. Sounds manipulative. It is! But not in a bad way. Sometimes it's just super hard to get a kid to do something as basic as wash his hands after he picked his nose and wiped it in the sandbox. So if he would refuse I would have to try a new approach. For instance one little guy named Eduard would not wash his hands. So I had to make it fun. I would take each of his hands in one mine and stretch his arms so that each one was in a separate sink (we had the tiny kind of toddler sink) and then I would wash them at the same time, just in two different sinks. It worked. He came to love hand washing.

-Another thing I loved was thinking up crafts. For instance mini tee pees out of coffee filters. Or a giant paper doll for whom we painted outfits using sticks and leaves as paint brushes. I loved preparing all the materials and explaining how to do it. I loved watching them enjoy working on the project.

-And finally I loved the kids. I loved slowly building up trust and friendship with those small humans. I loved having them look up to me as someone they could tell stuff to or run to with an owie or give gifts of rocks and pictures to. I loved that after I came back from a week of vacation they were excited to see me.

But the work was not easy.
Here's a sample list of THE HARDEST PARTS:

-You had to talk ALL THE TIME! You were constantly cajoling or reprimanding or praising or yelling or explaining or reading stories... After only half a day I would come home and not even want to say "hi" to my mom because I was so tired!

-Knowing how to corral a group of antsy, barely potty trained, sticky,
motor-skill-undeveloped individuals. It is hard to get a bunch of kids to listen and comply. Whew.

-Parents. Thankfully, because I was just an aid I didn't have to communicate a whole lot with the parents, but from observation I could tell that it is not easy. You have to somehow get across that you and the parent are on the same team. But at the same time you have to be humble and pliant, because the parent is the boss. I can tell that if I become a teacher this will be one of the most the most difficult parts of my job.

The Lord really blessed me this summer through this job. I am positive that He was guiding me the whole time. I still need prayer about my future as a potential teacher, but I trust Him that He has a plan for me.
Thank you, Heavenly Father!

Photos courtesy of Mr. Paul G. Till. Thanks, Dad!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trains and Rocks

So I have been working this summer as a teacher's aid at a preschool. When I do the morning shift I come in early and wait for the first kids to arrive. Today I had two little girls; Simonka and Vanesa, come in first. Both are completely adorable with endearing speech impediments and just all around cuteness, but secretly Vanesa is one of my favorites.

Simonka and Vanesa played happily with their train set for a while while I looked on from my spot on the couch, poised to jump in if a scuffle broke out. And one did, or I thought it would when Simonka decided to take all prettiest red trains away and hug them tightly to her chest.
Vanesa asked very calmly, "Could you give me a red train, please?"
(I always get attached to the ones who say 'please')
Simonka clutched the red trains tighter, stuck out her lower lip looked Vanesa straight in the eyes and gave a firm, "NO!"

This was the moment I lifted my bottom from the seat ready to console a crying Vanesa and chastise the non-sharer, but there was no need. Vanesa did not cry. She merely dropped her hands in her lap and looked sad for half a minute and then reached out a dimpled hand towards the shiny red train. She stroked it longingly a couple times and told Simonka earnestly,
"I just wanted to pet it."
Then she turned around and found a different toy. I did not need to intervene.

Sigh. That made my day. So did the rock one little girl gave me as a present.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Family Vacation August 2012

Dear Stumblers-Upon-My-Blog,

It has been awhile, eh? Yes indeed. But as Miranda Hart, my favorite British comedienne would say,"Let's jolly on with the show!"

This Wednesday my family returned from vacation in Bohemia. We folded myself and my gangly younger-but-larger brother Paul Hugh into the backseat and then sort of stuffed five-year-old brother Isaac into the cracks. Dad drove and Mom read Harry Potter out loud. Away we went.

Each day we had a new city a new hotel and a new goal of what to see there.

Destination #1: Třebič

To see the old Jewish Quarter and the largest and best preserved Jewish cemetery in the republic. It was lovely and sad and fascinating. Unfortunately I was starting to feel ill and could not enjoy it too well.

Hotel rating:
Two Stars. Did not smell great. The pool was small and murky. Above it was probably the most tacky mural I have ever seen. It was an airbrushed, completely naked version of Kate Winslet in that scene from Titanic where she poses for Jack in nothing but a necklace.

In the mural version, however, her legs are inexplicably severed. Maybe to make way for the Titanic which appears to be careening towards her. Her expression is immovably sexy despite legless-ness.

Paul Hugh did a great underwater impression of Kate. Except with trunks. And legs.

Destination #2: Kutná Hora

To see the small and very unique cathedral of Saint Barbora.

Hotel rating:
Two and a half stars. Very nice people. Much cleaner rooms. Badly working hot water dispenser.

We had lots of adventures in Kutna Hora:
-My mom accidentally drank a contact lens.

-My dad got caught in a spectacular rainstorm because he was out having a cathedral photo taking session. SO as not to get his one pair of shoes wet he took them off and wrapped them in his shirt. He ran shirtless and barefoot across the main square in the pouring rain.

-My sixteen-year-old brother Paul Hugh spent the whole time contemplating the best way to climb up the side of the cathedral.

-Izak and I got scolded by a rude lady who thought I wanted to throw him off the balcony of the cathedral. What, in fact, I was doing was boosting him up to show him the little tiny people and pews below.

Whew. It was fun. The cathedral was lovely.
We had studied about it in History of Art, so it was awesome to see it in person.

I am so grateful God protected and provided for us throughout!

Lucy Rose