Do you ever have those moments that leave you grinning from ear to ear? The little victories. The small steps in progress. In my profession, I get to witness these moments of triumph on a daily basis. A student’s face lighting up when they get the answer right. A student cheering when they get their passing test scores back. A student’s light bulb clicking on when they grasp a new concept. These are the moments I teach for.
A moment like that vividly stands out in my mind from this past week. In my class of two year olds, there is one child with down syndrome who has a personal teaching aid. She participates in all of the activities, but she has never spoken during my class. On Thursday, she said “hello,” which is the first time I have heard her say anything outside of a few Spanish words. I was so excited for her and proud of her for voicing the word. Those winning moments are what keep teachers going.
During school this week, I attempted to teach my students the concept of thankfulness and the holiday Thanksgiving. Most of the older primary students understood it as a day of thanks. Some of the younger primary just wanted to share with me what they like rather than what they are thankful for. Although the ideas are similar, there is a difference, and trying to explain that difference in plain terms to seven and eight year olds whose first language isn’t English presents somewhat of a challenge. Once we got past the explanation part, students wrote what they were thankful for and colored turkeys to take home. I thought I would share some of the end results, which were rather adorable if I do say so myself.
This Thanksgiving was the first Thanksgiving I have spent away from family. Away from home. Away from the familiar. Because most of my day was spent teaching and most of my evening was spent tutoring, I didn’t have much time to think about the holiday until about nine o’clock when I started making chicken-n-dumplings for my flatmates and me to eat for dinner. The dish is the best comfort food I know, and as homesickness started to hit me, I needed all the comfort I could get. Of course, I didn’t make it as yummy as my momma always does, but I felt a little less far away from home. It was also very sweet of my roommates to keep me company, and I finished the evening by watching the classic comedy Son in law to prevent any tears from falling. I can now say that I survived my first major holiday away from home.
Today, some of my amazing friends from the Meddeas program came over to celebrate a Friendsgiving. We had roasted red pepper chicken, lemon garlic baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, peanut butter cookies, wine, and cider. It was delicious! I am beyond stuffed, and even better, my school lunch will be leftovers! These people are amazing, and I am so lucky to be able to experience this program with them. Note: playing any guessing games (famous people or characters) is more challenging when you have players from various parts of the world hahah.
So what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family and friends who have been so supportive of my decisions and goals. I am thankful for my new friends who have made this experience even better. I am thankful that I can teach and make a difference, no matter how big or small. I am thankful for technology to allow me to talk to my loved ones back home. I am thankful for my health (being sick that first month was no fun). I am thankful for the opportunity to travel (looking forward to seeing Paris and then Germany, Czeck, Austria, and Hungary in a few weeks). I am thankful for letters and messages because they always bring a smile to my face. I am thankful for so many things; there is no way I could list them all. And if you are reading this, I am thankful for you and your support. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please feel free to leave comments or questions below. Cheers! 🙂