Monday, May 5, 2008

Grading, grading, and more grading

It's been crazy the last couple of weeks...again! The end of the quarter rolled around, which means I'm 3/4 done my first year here in Chile. Wow! It's flown by, and I've loved it!
But with the end of the quarter comes a lot of work, and that seemed to consume my life for the better part of 2 weeks. I had a LOT of grading to do, making sure everything was turned in on time, and then doing math (Yikes!) to figure out the quarter grades for report cards. It was hectic, but it was finally done last week!
I had an interesting conundrum, because several people bombed my writing class. Now, I wasn't quite sure how to take this news when I figured the grades. I mean, I know it's a new class for me, and it's a new format for the kids, but I didn't think it would be this rough! I've been struggling with them for about a month now, because so many of them aren't following instructions. And with this writing class, if you follow the instructions and include all the requirements, you can get a good grade. So even those who are less adept at writing and communicating can do well. And, when followed correctly, it really does improve their writing. Well, several of them haven't bothered to follow the instructions. One or two because they genuinely don't get it, but most of them because they're too lazy or too indifferent to try. I wasn't quite sure what to do with this, so I called one of the administrators, who is infinitely more experienced than I am. She suggested that I curve the grades (just a teensy bit) since it's their first time with this course, but other than that, just let it go. The kids need to learn to follow instructions. They've had the luxury of being in a small school with lenient teachers who often are concerned with seeing that they understand the content rather than on how they present the content. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be in balance. So by letting some kids fail, hopefully I'll be teaching them some other life lessons that they haven't been pushed to learn yet. I don't know. I don't like failing anyone, but at the same time they earned it themselves.
Oh the joys of teaching! :o)
After the end of the quarter, we luckily had a long, holiday weekend. So several of my friends from church and I got together and headed out to the beach. (Granted, it's getting cold, so we weren't going to the beach for your typical "going to the beach" reasons.) I woke up Thursday morning to get ready to go, and realized I was coming down with a cold. Lovely. I was able to enjoy myself anyway, but it did get progressively worse throughout the the point where Sunday and today I was at home in bed. However, it was so much fun with my friends, and it gave me 3 days to work on my Spanish. I learned a lot, of course, and made many mistakes, of course. I almost wish it had lasted a few more days, because by Saturday I really was feeling comfortable in Spanish. We had so much fun, going out to eat, going to the beach, taking crazy pictures, hanging out at the house we rented, laughing, talking, and just goofing off together. I'm so happy that there's such a great group at the church, and I can't wait until the day I can understand them! :o)
There are only two more months of school left, and then I'll be home for a few weeks before the next year starts. I'm hoping to be able to fit some more fun, new experiences into the next two months....including a possible weekend trip to Argentina, a day at an amusement park, and a weekend at another missionary's house for some more Chilean culture experience (they have several kids that I teach and I get along really well with all of them). Hopefully these things will come to pass!!

It's hard to believe the next school year is only 3 months away, but it's true. What does this mean? I need to have 100% of my support in by then! I've sent out letters and spoken with several of my monthly supporters, so I've definitely gotten the ball rolling. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see how God provides! Please pray for me in this, because I'm not allowed to come back until I'm 100% supported. If you're interested in helping out, please check with me (or read the letter I sent) on how to do it. My monthly support level is now just over $1700, due to the drop of the dollar over the last year. I have a portion of that already committed, but I'm still lacking.
Thank you all for your encouragement, support, and prayers! I really do appreciate them all! It's good to know that my family back in the States is supporting me as I follow God's leading half way around the world!

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