August 26, 2012

The Teaching Funnies

Yes, we live in a 3rd world country. Yes, there are many cultural differences between Guatemala and the United States. Yes, there are aspects of our teaching jobs that are different because of the previous two statements. 

For example, I don’t think it is very common for schools in the United States to have scheduled power outages every couple of weeks because the city says so. I don’t think it is very common for all the teachers to cram into one 15 passenger van (lovingly named the “teacher bus”) in order to get to school. I don’t think it is very common for 99.9% of your students to come in with English as their second language, at least not where we grew up. I don’t think it is very common for your coworkers to be some of your closest friends that you hang out with on weekends. 
There are some universal truths that cross all cultural borders and apply to all teachers everywhere. I like to call them “The Teaching Funnies.” 

Universal truths that cross all cultural borders and apply to all teachers everywhere:
(Thank you, Jeff Foxworthy for writing these. Thank you, Aunt Sue for sharing these with me, as well as your love for teaching.)
You might be a teacher if…

1.     You believe the playground should be equipped with a Ritalin salt lick.
2.    You get a secret thrill from laminating things.
3.    You want to slap the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 8 to 3:30 and have summers off.”
4.    You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes.
5.    You’ve trained your body to only go to the bathroom at two distinct times a day: lunch and afternoon recess.
6.    You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
7.    It is difficult to name your own child, because there’s no name you can come up with that doesn’t bring high blood pressure as it is uttered.
8.    You can tell it’s a full moon or if it’s going to rain, snow, hail, anything…without ever looking outside.
9.    You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a “good choice” or “bad choice.”
10. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
11.  You believe, “shallow gene pool” should have its own box on a report card.
12.  You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids sure are mellow today.”
13.  When out in public, you feel the urge to snap your fingers at children you do not know and correct their behavior.
14.  You have no social life between August and June.
15.  You think people should have a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.
16.  You wonder how some parents MANAGED to reproduce.
17.  You laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room as the “lounge.”
18.  You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
19.  You encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter schools or home schooling and are willing to donate the U-HAUL boxes should they decide to move out of district.
20. You can’t imagine how the ACLU could think that covering your students chair with Velcro and then requiring uniforms made out of the corresponding Velcro could ever be misunderstood by the public.
21.  Meeting a child’s parent instantly answers this question, “Why is this kid like this?”
22. You would choose a mammogram over a parent conference.
23. You think someone should invent antibacterial pencils and crayons…and desks and chairs for that matter!
24. The words “I have college debt for this?” have ever come out of your mouth.
25. You know how many days, minutes, and seconds are left in the school year.

Life Update

I was nervous about readjusting to life in Guatemala again, but there have been no problems at all. It is such a blessing to be back and at work again!
We are already two weeks into the school year. First grade is wonderful. I have a smaller class this year, only 11 students compared to 14 last year. They are a wonderful class, full of a lot of spunk. Although it was a weird transition to have a new class of new students, I can see already that we are going to get along great. 
Collin is still teaching Prekinder-5th grade P.E. He is also teaching 7th and 8th grade sciences, as well as 6th grade Bible. The Bible class is new for him this year, but so far he is enjoying it. 
Our post-work time is spent doing a variety of things. I am usually finding a book to read or a new recipe to try. Collin is usually finding sports to play or a new game to try. We are enjoying our bigger apartment for having people over and getting to know our new coworkers. We have had a few movie nights and game nights so far, including a little time for “Settlers of Catan,” and a showing of The Goonies. Classic.
I am very excited for a new adventure this year, as another teacher friend and I will be starting a high school girl’s youth group. We plan on meeting twice a month for Bible study, games, baking, and just hanging out. I am excited to have this opportunity to work with students who are not in elementary. It will be a great change up. Please pray that we will positively guide and influence these young women at this stage in their life.
First Grade Funnies
Just so you can get a taste of joy from my day… 

1.     We have a new Drama teacher named Mr. McDonald. You can imagine how the students first responded to this name. As he was dropping off the first graders from Drama class, one student yelled out, “Yeah, bye Mr. McDonald. Bummer you didn’t bring any hamburgers with you!”
2.    This same student was sharing a book she made about her life with another first grader. She got to the page where she had drawn a picture of her family. I quote, “Here’s me, and my brother over there, and my mom right here. Oh yeah, and there’s my dad with his big fat head!”

3.    We were discussing what it means to be brave. The first graders wrote a journal about a time would have to be brave. One student wrote the following, which has been edited for spelling: “I could pray to bad people. I could be kind to bad people. I could go to the doctor and that doctor pinches me.” (Spanish: “pinch” means to get a shot.)

4.    Here is a chance for you to see how well you can read first grade spelling. It is a page from a student’s book she is writing. The book is called “Insex.” “Barflays or grayt beckus day flay. Lets fayn mor insex.” An A+ for spelling words as they sound.

5.    For a discussion on our five senses, the students had to cut out magazine pictures of things they like to see. One student cut out a picture of a very sweaty Misty May and Kerri Walsh in their beach volleyball uniforms. I asked my student why she cut that picture out. She said, “Because I like to swim too.”

Grace and Peace,

August 5, 2012


Spoiled rotten…is how I feel after spending 8 weeks of summer in the States. An all-inclusive experience: family, friends, nieces, nephews, jobs, room, food, vehicle, dishwasher, wash machine, haircuts, pool, golf, tennis, camping, canoeing, water park, and sunny weather.

 Humbled…is how I feel when I apologize for mooching all summer and my dad says, “Maybe God blessed me so much so that I can bless you.”

 Temporary…is how I feel when I realize how fast time flies, how fast 8 weeks flies. Our lives are but a mist that “appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Am I using my short life as a sacrifice for God’s glory?

 Conflictedis how I feel when I see how prosperous and free we are, but then see how we choose to use our prosperity and freedom.

 Passionate…is how I feel after reading the book Revolution in World Missions. Curious? Please order it for FREE here…

 Sadis how I feel about leaving our family and friends in the States for awhile. 

Nervousis how I felt about adjusting back to Guatemalan life again. 

Thankful…is how I feel after making every flight and bus back to Xela in one long day. 

Happy…is how I feel after buying groceries, visiting school, seeing friends, meeting new teachers, and not being a new teacher in a new country this year.  

Refreshed and motivatedis how I feel about starting a new school year on Monday, August 13, 2012. 

Content…is how I feel. 

We had a fabulous summer. Check out some of the highlights that we have pictures of.

My best friend’s wedding. Yeah for Kaylee and Alex Sleeman!

Happy First Anniversary to us. July 1, 2012.

Wisconsin with the Broekhuis family. We love matching.

Mackinac Island with Grandpa and Grandma Potgeter. Bike, shop, eat, repeat.
 The lovely, and very generous couple.

 The Mackinac Bridge.

 Horses. Bikes. Fudge.

My biking partner for the 8 mile ride around the island.

College Roomie Reunion. Thank you, Megan, for getting married.

Potgeter Family Vacation. 12 adults. 6 children. 1 cabin. Lots of fun.

The cabin.

No words to describe this picture.

The cutest nieces and nephews around.

So happy together.

Back in Guatemala. Our spare bedroom and new bed that beckon you to visit us. :)

Grace and Peace,