SchoolThis past week has brought about more change. Because of the flux in staffing the schedules tend to change a lot – people leaving from contract changes, or transferring. For example, last year in January my schedule changed – I went from teaching grade 11 to teaching grade 12 (a grade where I have to prepare students for college exams – so that was quite a learning curve). The beginning of this school year I was teaching grade 12 as planned but also grade 4 science. Thankfully we got a teacher and that didn’t last longer than I could bear. This week again my schedule has changed and I am teaching grade 11 in addition to my grade 12. New students, new resources to create, new schedule – let’s just say that my stomach and my anxiety are really being tested. Things change constantly and I am trying to do my best to zen out and roll with the punches.

CAM00026With all that being said, there are so many little things in my day that make teaching, and being here away from family worthwhile. Students who finally can say words, sounds, know their letters. Students who blow me away by using idioms and writing essays with details effortlessly. Students who want to participate in class. Days when teaching is fun and you find yourself laughing and smiling with your students. Just yesterday my new grade 11 students pulled me out to the garden outside our school. They are doing a project where they irrigate the sand and are planting vegetables. We went out into the sand, they showed me the trenches they dug for the water to flow through, we practiced saying words of the food they were growing, and just enjoyed each others’ company in the sun practicing English. Moments like that make me stop and realize that the girls I teach are pretty wonderful.

IMG_20131029_073936Some days during class I walk in and the girls have brought a big carafe of chai tea made with camel milk. Or thin pancakes filled with cheese and honey. Or delicious fried dough balls drenched in honey. Now I love my food, so maybe this makes me a bad teacher, but during these times I take 5 minutes to try some food, ask about their day, and just enjoy the moment – the little things. When we have these moments the class is not stressed about exams or marks or English and I can see my students for the young woman they are.

Dates 2Yesterday the girls introduced me to a new snack – dates with cheese! Sounds weird but it’s really delicious. What you do is take the date, break it open and remove the pit. Then use the open date to scoop up the cheese (similar to Feta but a little saltier and more mild if that makes sense?). Then, enjoy!

DatesAs you can see this is my personal stash. The girls saw how much I liked this snack and so the next day one of my student brought in a whole tub of dates and cheese just for me! How sweet is that?? The best part is that her mom makes the cheese herself from cow’s milk! It’s the little things lately that I find to make me smile – the big questions I have no time for, they just bring the world down on my shoulders. The little things – the sunshine, the quiet moments of laughter, making my students smile – they are what I’m focusing on.