Edward and a Proud “Momma”

Teaching kindergarten feels like being a part of one great big family.

There have been frustrating moments. My kids don’t always want to listen. Sometimes they complain and cry. They are hard to please – they want routine, but they want variety within that routine. It’s been a huge learning experience for all of us as we do life together.

There have been some “momma-bear” moments with these kindergartners, too. If I see older children in the bateyes bothering or making fun of our students, it makes me so angry inside! I’m surprised by the protective feeling that comes with being a teacher to these little ones.

There have also been some proud moments where I’ve watched these students take huge steps in learning. Even today, I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as Achuchu repeated Luke 2:11 word for word in English (OK, so maybe there was one little hiccup, but my momma-pride demanded that I brush over that little blunder and gave him a sticker anyways.)

Another little guy who has recently caught my eye and stolen my heart is Edward.

Edward is the newest little ball of cuteness to join our “family”. When he started school with us this year, he was dreadfully behind the rest of the kids. However, he’s catching up at lightning speed! He is actually one of the best at enunciating and repeating in both Spanish and English. Kurt has been helping him recognize and correctly form the letters in his name. At the beginning of the year, Edward had no idea how to trace letters in his writing notebook. Now he needs little help in copying the letters across the page. This kid has some serious potential. His charming smile and delightful little laugh put me in a good mood every time he’s around. You could say that I’m one proud “momma”!

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The little stuff (or maybe it’s the big stuff after all)

Sometimes I feel like I only write about the big things going on in our lives – the difficult struggles, the huge joys, the deep pain, the answered prayers. I thought I’d just share some little stuff from the week – things that have made my heart happy in the midst of the ‘daily grind’.

The kids are starting to lead out in prayer! I almost cry when I hear one of their little voices sounding out the typical “Señor Jesús, Te damos gracias…” that starts their conversations with Jesus. Marcia, Sonia, Chiquito, Nika and Yeanny have all volunteered this week.

Yeifrey has been exceptionally “roller-coaster-y” recently. I feel like I walk on eggshells with him – that he may explode at any moment. This week, I’ve really seen him searching for some extra love and attention. Each day during writing practice, he grabs my arm and says, “Miss Angela, please just stay…”

Sonia led her entire small group during center time today! We were short-handed when we first started centers, so I just gave her the little worksheet and told her what I wanted. I asked her to explain to the others how to match the color names to the crayons. I’d look up every once in awhile to check on them, and they were staying on task better than any group so far – without a teacher there! Sonia is one smart little gal. So proud of her.

I’d be lost without my helpers in the classroom. Our Dominican teacher Mery seems to know the days I have no strength. She leads the kids with confidence and creativity and energy. Kurt interacts and plays with the kids – he’s recently taken on the task of helping struggling students learn to write their names. Gabe has been great about doing whatever I ask him to do. And Katie fills in all of the gaps to keep things moving throughout the day. Prepping notebooks and pouring juice and dishing out hand sanitizer and talking with kids in the corner aren’t the most splendid of ways to spend one’s time. But in my mind, those humble jobs are the very ones I imagine Jesus rewarding someday as we stand before Him.

Recently, I’ve just really felt the presence and closeness of the Lord in the classroom. I don’t know who all is praying for us, but I can attest that God has been helping me personally as of late. Days are still chaotic, emotional, and draining. But through the struggles, I can feel my Savior’s gentle leading. He is so very faithful – even in the little stuff.