Monday, January 31, 2011

Yet another monday

Today was a Monday. It seems that Monday’s have been the hardest days so far. I think that is just takes some time to get back in the work mindset. This morning I reviewed my lesson plan and then spent the rest of the time writing a curriculum guide for kindergarten health. It was to meet the nutrition standard in that unit. I was not able to get it reviewed by Sara today but that is on the top of my list of things to do tomorrow. I am hoping that as I write guides that they will continue to get easier and easier. I also hope that with that I will be able to complete them faster and faster. I know that I still have a lot of time here but I also have a lot of work to do and want to make sure that I complete all of it. This is will be one of the biggest projects I have ever done (which I also know was the point).
I had class at 11:40am. It went ok. I put them into assign seating and I went over how the class would be run as well as grading. I think that they were expecting me to be a “push-over” teacher and today they got a glimpse that this is not going to be a joke. However, I did stress to them that it is their choice how easy the class is. Most of their grades are going to come from participation and completion. So if they will pay attention in class and take notes and not loss their worksheets they should be ok. I am hoping that at the core of what they learn from my class they learn that everything in life is a choice (which applies to health as well) and that they have control of the choices that they make. This will affect every area of their lives.
After class and lunch, I wrote out the quiz that we will be having next class and starting looking at material to teach next class after the quiz. We are going to start talking about diseases. I found myself frustrated when I started though because I do not have enough time to go into all the detail that I think is important. I am struggling with what I think is important as a health educator and what a once a week class enables me to teach. Also it is hard because I am starting with the absolute basics with them. So even though they need to know the more detailed specifics I can’t teach them without giving them a foundation. I feel deeply about it because no matter what they decide to do in life health will affect them. Therefore it is so hard when I know they are not getting the adequate education that they deserve. I understand that Doulos is still growing and developing so I am not frustrated at the school but it still makes it hard to decide what to teach and what to leave out.
And over that I know that the most beneficial thing I can accomplish for the school is this curriculum so I want to make sure that I am not letting class planning take up all of the time that I could writing curriculum. Balance is a life long pursuit.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Women's retreat

So this past weekend, I went to a women's retreat here in the DR. Almost all of the women on staff at Doulos went! It was crazy that all of us were there and I am was encouraged to be worshiping with all of them during the weekend. The Lord of course was on the move throughout the weekend. We were all randomly put into small groups but of course there is no such thing as random to the Lord. I was put in a small group with a women that I felt most threatened by at Doulos. Now let me preface by these feelings were completely my own. She had done nothing to hurt or disrespect me but I had these feelings that Satan used to turn into defense and judgement. From the moment I found out that she was in my group I knew that God was going to show me the beauty of the daughter that He had created. By the end of the weekend, I was so grateful for the time I had with her and that we were able to share Christ, memories, and laughs. The Lord is good and all knowing of our hearts and sin.

At the beginning we could all chose a lanyard that we wanted. The were all made out of different strips of fabric. It was so simple and such a great idea. It got the job done with variety and style. Then in out first small group meeting the all gave us identities from the Bible as out name tags. "I am dearly loved" was mine. I was surprised at how much this resonated with my heart and how much I felt like I needed to hear it. As always I thought that I was secure and I was mistaken. This was good to hear and look down and see during times of the retreat.



There was a river right behind the retreat center that we went to. During free time on Saturday, Rachel and I went out and read for a little bit. I did a little exploring and put my feet in the water a bit. It was so cold!!





One thing that the Lord clearly spoke to me during the weekend was this:

"In order to fully experience the DR, I must fully experience Him."


I think that this is probably true of any event or season of life. I know that there have worried trying to ensure that I don't miss out on something or that I take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. The reality is that if I am not experiencing the Lord here, it doesn't matter how much I do or don't do. This was such great truth that God gave me to put my Spirit at rest and peace.

The retreat was so refreshing. I was blessed with the opportunity to sing and listen with Dominicans. I was able to praise God in Spanish. This is cooler than you think it will be. On top of that it is so beautiful to listen to Dominicans sing their hearts out!

Friday, January 28, 2011

end of four day weeks

Today I spent the morning planning and preparing for the class that I am going to teach on Monday. I am going to be teaching about physical activity. On Monday, I will need to put them in assign seating, go over the way grading is going to take place and then discuss the expectations for the class. After that we will have our discussion/instruction. For homework, they will complete a week long activity log and next Monday they are going to have a quiz over the first two classes. There is so much that goes into being a teacher and it is hard to keep it all straight.
Another part of the morning, included me having a discussion with one of the other high school teachers about his opinion on sex education, how early to start it and what to include. According the Washington standards sexual education will begin in fourth grade. This teacher has three children that go to Doulos. That is why I wanted to get his opinion being a father as well as being a teacher that agrees with the values and core values of Doulos. His opinion can be summarized as follows: “Ignorance is never the solution.” He basically expressed that he thinks students need to be taught the facts because other wise they are learning from their friend who more often than not have false information. We both agreed that it all comes down to how it is presented and how the education builds upon itself. This conversation was encouraging and I hope to set up the school as well as the students for the best health education possible from all angles.
After lunch I spent time researching and brainstorming ideas for my first health unit in kindergarten. I need to come up with a tangible way that a teacher could explain the aspect of different dimensions that affect our health to 5 year olds. I have not come up with something but will be sure to either move on to another unit or establish a teaching method on Monday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cafe!!! (coffee)

This afternoon I learned how to make coffee the way that Dominicans do. It didn't take any longer than a automatic one would in the states and it made the perfect amount. (In my opinion)

It is fun being here and learning how to love and serve Virginia (the "maid" in our homestay) even when I can't speak the language. It is fun to laugh at both of us trying to communicate. Plus it is nice to know that she trusts me enough to try and make things on my own. Sometimes I think it must be nice for her to just have some one else in the kitchen area. (I am trying to read more out at the table rather than on my bed in my room). Morning and Night she has to serve and then during the day she is alone and cleaning. It must get kind of lonely. Who knows she might think I am weird and annoying but until I know what those words are in Spanish, I will enjoy being ignorant :)

This weekend Stef and I are going to a Women's Retreat. We have no idea what to expect. Literally. As with everything here in the Beautiful Dominican, it is all by word of mouth and know one really knows what the deal is. Yet even with my type A personality and my perfectionist-ness...I am enjoying letting go. I am enjoying not worrying about what I am going to bring, how I am going to get there, what we are going to do, and when we are coming back. It is freeing. Granted the culture helps with this but I would love to learn how to bring this back to my life in the states.

It's almost time for dinner!! so I will go but look for a post on Sunday or Monday about the retreat!

long day

Today was one of those days that could not have been any longer. It was a day that was tedious and repetitive but needed to happen. So, today I spent the entire time going through each unit of each grade and copy and pasting the respective standards into the curriculum template. I started with 2nd and all the way through 8th grade. It was my goal to get all of them done because I know that it would not be fun and so if I just forced myself to do it all in one day I wouldn’t have to dread doing it tomorrow. It is fun to learn how to set goals for myself as well as learn what is realistic for me so that I do not set my goals to high and end the day discouraged.
Today I also talked to the librarian, who is Dominican but speaks great English, about what a health need for the population is. My supervisor would like me to give my presentation during a parents meeting. So I figured it would be a good idea to talk to a Dominican about what health related topic would be the most beneficial. He said that nutrition is probably the biggest. He said exercise is second but nutrition is the kicker. Here in the Dominican, the culture has incredible access to cheap produce and yet they do not utilize it at all. The eat rice, beans, chicken, yucca, and plantains on a regular basis. So I am starting to brainstorm what would be the best approach: doing more of teaching and lecturing or doing more demonstrating and providing resources. I have thought that maybe I could gather recipes that would utilize the ingredients they are used to but also incorporating a lot more variety. Or I could do a presentation that would be focused more on prices and how to economically purchase healthy groceries on a budget. I want to do something that will actually be beneficial and applicable to my audience. So I am just starting to think about what I will do for the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

finally

This morning I had a meeting with Sara! It was so good to finally meet with some one who can give me answers that are solid. I showed her what I had divided up this far and asked her a couple questions. Thankfully, she said that I was on the right track and that I just need to keep moving forward. That must have given me a boost of confidence because after that I went through the curriculum again and worked through the health standards. I came up with temporary units and placed standards for respectively for each grade level. It only took me two or three hours to go through all of it. I am not sure if this is because the content is more familiar to me but I was happy to feel like I got something substantial done.
After that, I started formatting the templates for the curriculum. So I have to go through each unit and copy and past the standards I designated for it into the document. I was only able to get through kindergarten and first grade, for this part of the process. Tomorrow I will start back up with formatting.
I have not received any lesson plans from Brock. However he has much more on his plate and there is plenty that I can do in the mean time. I am focusing on being patient. It will all get done in the end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

trust

Today was a full day of what I have been doing the past couple work days. However, somehow I got way more of them done then I had been in the past. I did all the standard dividing within the PE units for grades 4 through 8. For that portion of the process, I am finished. Hopefully, Brock will have the lessons plans for the Kindergarten units sometime tomorrow or Thursday.
Sara, the instructional coach and curriculum “guru”, came back to work today. I got to pull her aside at one point and ask her if there was a time we could meet and go over what I have been doing for my curriculum so far. We established that tomorrow at 9 in the morning will work best. I was hesitant to ask her because I knew that she would be busy but she was very understanding and willing to work me in. Sara has a great spirit about her and I look forward to working with her.
I am learning a lot about self-motivation. Here at Doulos I don’t have to report to anyone when I come in or when I leave. I pretty much have to take all of the initiative and make my own schedule of what needs to get done and when. This is great from the standpoint that I can manage the work as to what makes sense for me but there are days that I am tired and it would be easy to slack off since know one is keeping me accountable (except for what I present as my final product). It is my responsibility to ask questions and find resources. I think that although at times this is frustrating it will be a good challenge and development for me professionally. Also it is nice to be trusted from the “get-go.” It makes me want to honor that trust and perform with excellence.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

who would have thought!

I just blogged about my time camping and wrote about what has been stirring in my hear...here are the pictures from camping I hope that these give you a glimpse into my weekend. There is a full album on Facebook if you want to see more!

our campsite


href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wnwtfHF2_Q8/TTyPraPuv6I/AAAAAAAAAjM/LfX53o_570o/s1600/DSC03052.JPG">




Rachel and I went to the waterfall...but didn't know we were supposed to cross this small one (and we ended up at the top of it instead of the bottom so I couldn't gett a good picture) but here is what we found!






Who would have thought that coffee beans look like this before they get into our mugs!!







a few from our hike down...







welp i hope that this is successful...first time I have posted pictures. There will be a whole album full on facebook so yall can see more!

Camping!

So this weekend I went camping for the first time! It was pretty soft camping but it was camping none the less. We went up to Spirit Mountain which is the coffee farm that Chad and Krista (the couple who started Doulos) grow coffee. The coffee is organic and fair trade. The profits go to supporting Doulos. It was INCREDIBLE to see what a coffee bean looks like before it is dried and roasted (I have pictures and will post them soon!). At the top of the coffee farm is a camp site that Doulos has the 5th grade expedition every year. We drove up to the top and spend the afternoon and evening on Friday just hanging out. We had no school on Friday. I went up with Chad and Krista's family and Leah, Rachel, and Loraine. The last three are all teachers at Doulos and great girls!! I enjoyed being able to sit in the hammock my brother bought me for Christmas (thanks Branden!!) and talk with them. I got to hear more about their life and how they got to where they are now. And for most of you that know me, that was quite life giving. Conversation is one of the more life giving things for me. I love it. And to have it outside surrounded by the mountains God created with the sound of birds singing in the background...it couldn't get much better than that. I enjoyed sitting by the fire in the evening and gazing at the stars. It is incredible how many you can see when you are at the top of a mountain!

The next morning Rachel and I went on a hike to a waterfall that was about 45 minutes away from camp. Again we had such good conversation on the way there. I loved walking through trails and guessing our way there for some of it. It felt good to be dirty (sounds weird I know). It felt good to appreciate the breeze. It felt good to almost walk into a spider web and scream like a little girl. It felt good to be sharing it with someone else and being vulnerable in the process. I got to share about my life on the way there and she shared on the way back. How beautiful! It makes me think about Adam and Eve walking through the garden and sharing about life. There is something that feels so "right" about that. It's so simple and yet so life giving.

Needless to say, I am blessed here. I cannot think of a better way to spend my last semester. Yes things are still hard at times and will be in the weeks and months to come but I am starting to realize how much richer life becomes when we don't avoid the hard times. I am starting to realize that failure it so good because it promotes growth. And even further I am starting to realize that it isn't about failure or success it is just about being. I was introduced to this concept the first time that I came to the Dominican Republic and worked at Pico Escondido, the Young Life camp. The intern at the time Russ Crowe, talked to me about "just being." I didn't understand it at all then, and imagine I am only scratching the surface now. But over the past two-ish years this concept has stuck with me. It has slowly made its way into my being and reminds me to stop focusing on success or failure. It reminds me to stop focusing on productivity. It reminds me to stop focusing on works. It reminds me that I am made in His image. It reminds me that God can't love me any more. It reminds me that tomorrow has enough worries of its own. It reminds me of Christ.

I have so much to learn and for once in my life that is not intimating. For once it doesn't make me feel like I am behind and have so much catching up to do. For once in my life it doesn't make me feel less than and insecure. It makes me smile. It makes me excited for the next moment, the next hour, and the next day. It makes me excited for the next season. It makes me excited for friendship. It makes me excited for conversation. For early mornings and late nights. And for a new perspective.

"Reality is found in Christ" -paraphrase from Colossians 2:17


Just being allows for me to do my best, confident that my best is enough for my God.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

structure

Today went so much better than yesterday! So this morning I was able to have a slow morning spending some time in the Word. Then once I was at school, I worked on things for the 9th grade class I am teaching. I established what my disciplinary actions would be, my grading structure, and thought through assign seating. These students need as much structure as they can get even if they go kicking and screaming. I think that eventually they will be able to come into my classroom knowing what to expect and will realize that being a “bump on a log” about it doesn’t help anything. Also this gives me a good way to establish what is expected before we get a couple weeks in and a student says “you never told me I could bring my homework in late.” It is crazy how many things I, as a teacher, is having to think about ahead of time. You don’t realize it when you are just the student.
After my break, I found Brock and sat down with him to brainstorm units for the PE part of the standards. He was such a great help. We established nine units with a week (2 classes) of health in between each unit. We think that this will allow us to meet the health units without forcing the kids into a classroom for multiple weeks at a time and therefore taking their attention spans to the extreme limit. We then set that I would go through each unit in respect to the standards and designate which standards we were meeting in each. I would then give him that sheet and he would write lesson plan based on the number of classes and what needs to be met. After the lesson plans are written, I will condense them into a format that will be what is needed for the curriculum. This way Brock will be able to help himself for next year so that is doing the work in advance and it will help teachers that come after him. It is going to help me TONS! This way I don’t have to think through every class in addition to writing the curriculum format for it.
After meeting with Brock, I spent my time before and after lunch doing what I just described above. After I had made a list, I found Brock again and went over it with him. We then discussed what the Biblical integration would look like for each unit. We are going ask a couple people before we go further on it. For now that is what we have accomplished and I am happy to have some type of path to move towards for the next week or two. I am hoping that when Sara gets back we will have been doing this all right. Until tomorrow, happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

me and my insecurities

so far you all have been reading about my life from the internship perspective. Well I am sure that most of you can imagine that there is so much more that goes into living in another country for four months than what happens at my internship site. And yes what you imagine is correct. Living in another country is hard. Especially when the person you love is back home. I hate to sound like the mushy gushy in love girlie girl but hey I pretty much am. I know that it won't last forever but right now I am starry eyed for Matthew David Fortier and I might as well enjoy it. Because I know that it will transition into a whole new kind of love I have never experienced as we continue in life together. I look forward to the hard kind of love. The love that takes work. Because then it's evident that it's worth fighting for. And so until then I will desire to be where my fiance is.

But enough about how much I miss him, it is hard here because there aren't the things in the states that usually distract you. There aren't the familiarities of life that allow you to be comfortable and hide the insecurities that are constantly waging war within your flesh. Here where you are exposed and unable to understand the people speaking around you, it is exhausting. You are constantly thinking. You are constantly processing. It is hard. All in all my insecurities are singing a broadway musical right in front of my face from the moment I wake up until the moment I lay my head back down.

But oh how grateful I am for the show they present every morning because it gets my bony little butt out of bed. It pushes me to grab my journal and bible and go sit in the little bit of silence that exists in the Dominican. This musical in front of my face makes my heart yearn for silence, for peace, for rest. My insecurities present me before the Lord asking for truth. Truth that will sing sweet hymns into my spirit. So for that I am grateful. I am thankful that I can no longer dismiss the thoughts with a distraction or with a convenience.

So I am here in the Dominican. It's me and my insecurities. I will continue to ask for truth and I will do my best because my best is enough for my God.


***here is my day from the journals I have to write for college
Today was very slow. This morning I spent time looking over my lesson plan for my first class. I was very nervous about teaching for the first time. After feeling confident about the content I went through the rest of the standards that I starting high-lighting through on Friday. I finished dividing it between fitness content and health content. Next, I spent time looking at the template format for the curriculum and brainstorming on how I was going to divide the required standards into units. I have to be honest, I didn’t really get anywhere. I have no idea how to divide it. I can find games that can work on all of the standards but I feel like PE should be more than a bunch of random games. I talked to Brock about talking through this part of the curriculum to get his opinion on how I should divide it up. I feel way out of my league.
Before I knew it, I was on my way to teach class. Oh man, Dominican students are so much harder to calm down then American. They don’t have any discipline or structure in their households and so there is no foundation to bring to school with them. Therefore instead of having one or two rowdy students you end up having all of them be rowdy. I was able to get through about half of my lesson plan. I could have got all the way through the activity I had planned but I messed up on the time and accidentally let the students out 20 minutes early. So that was a bummer but it was learning things for next time. Tomorrow or sometime this week I need to sit down and figure out how I am going to grade the students so that I will be able to give them accurate grades at the end of the semester. I feel way out of my league in this area too.
After lunch I started to research other PE programs to see how they divided up the year. This was not very successful. I only found two programs that provided that type of information. Brock and I are going to sit down and talk about this tomorrow. All in all it was a very slow day. My brain is tired and I would like to turn it off until tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

little things

This morning staff had to be at school by 7:00am to devotional. This was a really cool experience. I am blessed to be experiencing what it is like to work with a faith-based organization. It is encouraging to work with people who believe and live out their lives according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During devotionals, we sang a couple songs together and then we read a passage in the Bible. We all discussed what we thought was significant or encouraging from the content. We prayed and then started the day.
To begin, I had a meeting with the high school teachers. They have a meeting every Friday to discuss any discipline problems going on with students as well as to check the work load they are assigning. They try to make sure that they aren’t all assigning test at the same time and bring up any other necessary. I am glad that they do this because I remember being a student and feeling like everything was due at the same time (although I know sometimes it is unavoidable). After the meeting I went back to the student lounge and printed off my worksheets for Monday’s class. I have 15 9th graders in my class. Two of them are Haitian and don’t speak English well although they are learning quickly. I think another one or two are new students and are having to catch up on English quickly as well. It will be a challenge to make sure that my teaching methods as well as assessments are meeting the needs of my students and yet still providing them with comprehensive information. I also made my grade sheet for the semester and finished filling in my teacher key for the day. I am nervous about fitting all of the content I have planned for Monday into 80 minutes. I only have 60 minutes of activity and lecture but I am not sure how things will go with it being my first time teaching a unique population.
After lunch, I spent time brainstorming my Biblical integration for the lesson. This was hard and still don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t have to have a parallel for each lesson but I thought that it would be good to start out with one. I am enjoying the challenging of mixing the Bible into academics and looking at it from a new lens. I might do some reading and researching this weekend to see if I come up with anything else.
Lastly, I started going through the standards, starting at Kindergarten and highlighted each standard depending on if it would fit better into Health or Fitness. This will help me get an idea of how many outside, active classes and units I will need to create compared to inside, lecture/handout classes and units to create. I feel like I am getting more confidence that I can actually accomplish all that writing the curriculum will entail. It is going to be a long detailed job but I think I can do it as long as I take it one small chunk at a time. Sara, who was on maternity leave, is coming back on Sunday so hopefully by the end of next week I can get some time to meet with her and discuss question as well as get guidance. It will be nice to have her as a resource.
The end of the day ended with the activity called “Revolution.” This is basically a fun thing that involves the whole school on Fridays. During the week each teacher nominated a student from their class for the character trait of the week. This week’s was “confidence.” Then all the teachers vote on the list of nominations (they can’t vote on the person they nominated). The winner which is announced at Revolution gets a prize and this week it was a free smoothie from the cafĂ©. They also play fun games competing between the elementary, middle, and high schools. The students really get into and I think it ends the week on a good note.
But it’s Friday and time to go home!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

step by step

**here are the latest journal entries I have from work. things have been getting way better in the host family house. i am super comfortable and they are more than a blessing. Rosario is so patient with me and my awful spanish BUT I am getting better!! Hopefully I am going to start taking Spanish lessons soon which should really help me. I have waves of emotions that come but they are getting less and less. Enjoy reading about my work days...feel free to skim :)

***hopefully I will write a non formal blog this weekend or next...maybe

Wednesday, January 12, 2011: 8 hours
Today was tons better than the day before. I had a nice tear-filled conversation with my mom after work yesterday and so I got to vent and let a lot of emotion out. Also, my morning was a lot better than yesterday. I woke up on time and I was able to spend some time reading my Bible and journaling. It is definitely good for my emotional and mental health to have an easy morning that is quiet to start out with.
The morning part of the work day I spent finishing my lesson plan for Monday’s class. I feel a lot better about it and had it reviewed by Brock as well as Whitney. After finishing the lesson plan I wrote curriculum in the respective format according to that lesson plan. I want to have something to show Whitney when I met with here at the end of the day. I am having a hard time figuring out how to format the curriculum. As far as the time that has been given to the subject in the school. I don’t know how we are going to meet all of those standards with out having more class. But the goal was for me to have something to show so that I could be told where I was going wrong and where I was doing things correctly.
Maggie (administration intern) and I spent the second half of the day helping the new intern getting acquainted with the school and town. She will be living in the same host house as me and so it was good for me to show her around since I will be with her day and night. Her name is Stephanie and she will be working with the art teacher. After getting back from that I met with Whitney. Whitney is an English teacher here and is the second “go-to” person for curriculum stuff since the first one is on maternity leave (that is really killing me). Meeting with Whitney allowed me to use her as a sounding board for the questions and thoughts that I had regarding curriculum. I discussed with her the problem of not having enough time in the current schedule to meet the standard that Washington State has set in place. Whitney also provided me with the information that this curriculum is for a “5 year goal” within the curriculum process. Knowing this information, helps relieve some pressure that things need to change immediately and rocking the boat. She was also able to affirm the work that I had done to create a mock curriculum. So I feel better about when I finally starting creating and formatting the curriculum but Whitney also directed me to meet with Krista (the executive director) and Asbeth (the principal) to discuss what the future goal of health in the school would be. I will hopefully be able to meet with them tomorrow.
I am still pretty much on my own. Brock, my mentor teacher, which is just the current PE teacher, isn’t doing much mentoring. He is a great guy but he doesn’t come from an education background but only a sports background. He is pretty much praising anything I do, which is good but I also know that he might not have the knowledge to critic it. That is why I am trying to get my stuff reviewed by other people. There are advantages to being mostly independent because I can make my own deadlines but I also have to make sure that I am doing things correctly so that I don’t have to go back and do it all over again.
Thursday, January 13, 2011: 8 hours
This morning started out well. I printed my lesson plan and my teacher key for my lesson on Monday. After filling the key out, I read through the beginning of the standards PDF in detail to get an idea of the requirement Washington State was writing for from a time standpoint. Before I knew it, I was on my way to a meeting with Krista and Asbeth about curriculum. Because we are in the Dominican, and therefore nothing starts on time I had to wait a bit. While waiting, I spent some time reading over the standards to continue getting familiar with them. Eventually, I was able to meet with both Krista and Asbeth and explain the “problem” concerning the current schedule. They both understood what I was explaining told me that they would work on figuring out what Doulos is aiming for in the future concerning their health and physical education program. They encouraged me to continue working through the K thru 8 grade standard since the time schedule for those grades is feasible. It was encouraging to be listened to with respect from both people considering how young I am and not yet graduated. It only gives me more confidence to continue in my job.
After dinner, I sent time reformatting the standards so that I could print them and have a hard copy for the next months while I am chipping away at getting them. This process took way longer than I thought it would and before I knew it school was over. Tomorrow I will continue printing and finishing up materials for my Monday class and start sifting through the Kindergarten standards. I am glad that tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is coming.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

try again tomorrow

Monday, January 10, 2011: 2 hours
Today there is no school. It is a holiday in the Dominican Republic. The campus is open for staff to come in and work if they want to. I came in and worked this morning partly to get things done but also to get out of the house I am living in for a little bit. I am enjoying my time there but it is nice to have some time away from the house where everything is loud and constant.
I am writing health curriculum for my main responsibility. I definitely have my work cut out for me. The school has adopted the Washington State Standards to follow. It is difficult to sift through the standards and break them up into appropriate units as well as not get frustrated when the standards are require things that I don’t view as important as some other concepts that the standards do not require. I am mainly just trying to get a grasp on how everything is set up between the curriculum template and the standards so that as the writing process moves along I will be more familiar with the resources.
So far I have met all of the staff and they are very helpful. Unfortunately the Sara Espinoza (the administrator for curriculum) is out on maternity leave until February so I will have to figure out a lot of things on my own until then. There will me a lot of trial and error in my time here I am sure. (There has already been a lot of that with my Spanish).
Tomorrow is the first day of school for the semester. I am nervous but hopefully I can get a hang of things.

Tuesday January 11, 2011: 8 hours
Today was really hard. I really hope that it only gets easier from here. I am sure that being out of the country and feeling not comfortable is not helping at all but man am I on my own in my work space too. Today I had some orientation done with one of the staff members named Shelly. I am going to have to do a better job of putting myself out there and trusting that people don’t mind me coming over to hang out after work to get a break of my host family every once in a while. That is one of my biggest struggles but I don’t know how I am going to survive the next four months if I don’t force myself to get over it.
After orientation, I tried to start working but it pretty much turned into me holding back tears the whole time. I am get overwhelmed when I look at the standards and think about the curriculum because I have absolutely no idea where to start. Especially for the entire curriculum that I am not actually going to be teaching. I don’t know how to not come up with lesson plans and still write curriculum. The PE teacher doesn’t come from a teaching background and so he is not of any help and the woman who usually helps with all the curriculum writing is out on maternity leave. She might not be back here until February! So I tried to keep it together for a couple of hours and then had to go to the bathroom to let some tears fall that had been building. After that I just decided to work on my lesson for Monday’s health class and I got that about half way done….if I did it right. But at least I will have something to teach. Of which I am really nervous about. I would say one of the biggest frustrations right now is feeling like I have no direction and feeling completely inadequate. It feels like this is never going to get done but I must must must remember that I have four months. If this wasn’t a big project then it would take four months. I just don’t know how to tangibly break it up into manageable portions yet.
I also need to figure out my morning routine better because that really affects my days and I have known that since high school. I need to have ample and slow time with God in the mornings. It is just hard at a host family’s house where you don’t feel comfortable. I just need to try. I brought this journal my mom bought me a long long long time ago. I can’t even remember how long ago but on the front it says:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

I knew that would be me here. And that is exactly how I feel today. That is the only thing I can lean on and not feel like a failure. I also am going to try and work as hard as I can take while I am at work but then leave it at the school. Hopefully I can let it be for the time after I am off till when I go back again in the morning. I am not good at that but I will try.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

first weekend!

Well it has been quite the weekend! I have had the biggest mix of ups and downs! One moment I am overwhelmed and don't know how I am going to do this for four months and then the next I am in such a good place and and thank God enough for bringing me here.

First off the homestay I am at is incredible. We have hot water!! internet!! and a phone I can call the states for free with!! now this is NOT the norm in the DR. I am so blessed not only that but the woman I am staying with is so patient with my horrible spanish and her granddaughter speaks fluent english so she is able to translate for me! It is still hard though especially when the emotions come. there is not anyone to talk to (except a 10 year old) because they can't even understand me. also in the DR the people are very social and alone time is not something that people have here. They basically view alone time as for when you are sick...not good for me. Any one who knows me knows that I enjoy my alone time...especially in the morning. So I am trying to respect there culture as much as I can without exploding. I know that things will get easier and easier as I get to know more spanish.

But this weekend I went to a lot of places. My host family took my up this beautiful mountain and to an incredible resort (not to stay the night but just to see it). They also took me around town and showed me where everything was...not that I am going to remember it right now. Then today I went with two girls up to a waterfall. It was an awesome walk with some good talk time. Everyone is so friendly here. (pictures should be on facebook of all of the above). I went to Tim and Whitneys house last night for dinner and a movie.. it was really nice to go to a house of americans for the evening.

but tomorrow is the first day of the semester at GCSU. Doulos doesn't have school but I am going to go in the morning to get away for but only for a couple hours. I have to start writing my journal for my internship tomorrow. but i am excited for school to start on tuesday and get in the swing of things when it gets to be a routine.

well im about to show adriana how this whole blog thing works so I am going to end this one for now!! Thanks for reading about my life in the DR!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

my best

So it was my first full day in the DR. the plane ride here was difficult but a sentence popped in my head that is helping me if I say it over and over

"I will do my best, and my best is enough for my God."


I am anxious but doing my best to take everything moment by moment. I am trying to be strong and let go. Sounds funny together like that.

I don't know how much I will get to blog but I will do my best to at least copy and paste the journal documents I have to do for my college to the blog so you will get the professional version of what is going on down here. Hopefully every once in a while I will be able to write from my heart and you will get to hear what God is doing good, hard, emotional, joyful...whatever.

also the passage at the top of my blog hit my hard today.