New adventures this year, teaching five new subjects, at a new grade level, with new extra curricular activities, and new leadership responsibilities. We have some new staff members at school and I have a new housemate! My life is crowded with expected and unexpected joys!
This year I'm teaching middle school grades 5-8.
7&8 : Bible, World Cultures, Pre-Alebra & Math
5&6: Reading, 5 grade Math and 6 grade Math
New extra curricular activities: managing the Library, and responsible for garbage and recycling. (no custodian at our school students do the cleaning) Yeah, just call me the "Garbage Queen."
Our new principal's arrival to Japan has been delayed due to paperwork issues for his visa, we're praying that he'll have the papers and financial support needed to arrive in early October. In the meantime the school board has asked me to take on some new leadership responsibilities at school. This means leading things like staff orientation, meeting with parents, and handling school discipline issues. Thankfully I have the support of the school board behind me to help with other challenging decisions and an executive assistant with many years experience in administration to help me.
Today was New Teacher Orientation - I led 3 new teachers through a checklist of information to help them transition to KCS. I am excited for the quality staff members he has brought to our team. These 3 teachers have taught on 3 different continents and our now adding a new continent to their list!
Wednesday is All Staff Orientation where we get our class lists, schedules and have our whole KCS staff team (minus the principal) together in one room for the first time. I anticipate lots of learning to take place and lots of fun conversations ahead.
Thursday is family school clean-up day. Fun reunions with students and their parents anticipated as we work together to prepare the school for a new year.
Friday is our first day of school with all the students. We'll start with a "Welcome to School" and then introduce the students to their new teachers, classrooms and textbooks.
Thank you for praying for the year to get off to a great start!
Praise God with me . . .
*for the staff that is on the team this year.
*for the students that have enrolled this year.
*for a new year to serve God teaching from a Christian worldview in a country with less than 1% Christian.
*for relationship building and team unity
*for teachers in new roles to quickly grasp their curriculum and responsibilities
*for me as the "Lead Teacher" to have wisdom to know how to lead well, organization to keep track of all the details, and grace to balance all the new things going on the next few weeks.
*for the relationship with my housemate, Emily, to continue to grow (She moved in Saturday. She's lived in Romania but she's from Minnesota too!)
*that I would allow God to build into me and stretch me during this time. . . that it will shape me and refine me as an educator, and deepen my relationship with Him.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
- For the opportunity to study Japanese full-time
- Blessings of new friendships during the last 7 months
- For boldness to use language abilities for His glory
- Diligence to continue studying Japanese as I return to teaching ministry
- Growth in my Japanese ability to pray and discuss matters of faith
- For preparations in my new role as middle school teacher at KCS - school starts the first week of September
Monday, August 26, 2013
Osaka, Arc Academy, January-June 2013
- Building relationships with people from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Australia, and U.K.
- Discovering one classmate from Hong Kong is Christian and introducing her to and international church near her apartment
- Answering the question, “Who do you pray to?” from a Buddhist/Catholic classmate
- Exploring Osaka with a Muslim classmate
- Receiving first place in a speech competition - talking about umbrellas
- Excursions to a Ninja Museum and Mt. Wakakusa
Sapporo, OMF Japanese Language Center, July-August 2013
- Spending a month in cool Hokkaido (northern Japanese island), escaping the summer heat of Nara
- Taking 1-on-1 courses with a Christian teacher at a Christian school discussing the Bible
- Learning to pray in Japanese
- Fellowship with missionaries from around the world
- Connecting with other TCK caregivers
- Excursions to field of Lavender and a pro baseball game
Sunday, August 25, 2013
*****This is something I wrote for my recent prayer letter.
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With 15 months of language study my first missionary term and now a “refresher” course of 7 months, it feels awkward to say - No, I’m not fluent. In the 8 years that I have lived in Japan I have come to realize there will always be more vocabulary to learn, more grammar forms to master, more kanji to study, more mistakes from which to grow.
“So, what have you learned?” you ask. I’ve learned lessons in perseverance, humility, purpose, and perspective.
Perseverance: Some days just showing up to class takes all the energy you have. I’ve heard it said, “Anyone who wants to learn a language well must have a solid theology of suffering.” Language learning requires teachers repeatedly pointing out your errors and students fully absorbing the teaching without letting it impact your sense of worth.
Humility: Admitting in front of your peers you do not understand a concept requires the courage to be vulnerable. Language learning often causes you to question your intelligence and instigates a battle with pride. Resisting the temptation to compare abilities with peers and accepting an honest view of personal learning growth is key.
Purpose: Is my main goal to get 100% on the test and become fluent in this language? OR To glorify God through the process of language learning? How can I use the language to share His love with others? How will I respond to what He’s teaching me through the language learning process?
Perspective: I grew in appreciation for the learner’s perspective and hope that will impact my interactions with students this fall as I return to teaching at Kansai Christian School (KCS). I have seen demonstrated how the things teachers say (and don’t say) shape what students learn, and the health of the learning community.
As a teacher in an international school where English is the language of education, I realize it is a rare gift of time to step away from my teaching responsibilities to study the local language. I thank God for the people who have donated money and time to make it possible. I am also grateful for the teachers who have invested in the process over the last 7 months. I have a better understanding of my language abilities and new ‘tool box’ for future learning.
Join with me in prayer that God will give me boldness to use the language abilities I’ve gained for his glory, strengthening relationships with Japanese neighbors, friends, and parents of my students.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Recently OMF Japan Language Center celebrated Bel's graduation.
The students led the ceremony, prayers, speeches and songs all in Japanese.
One professor gave a creative speech,
telling a story using Japanese words with the sound 'bel' or べる, in them.
Bel had completed 2 years of studying through the curriculum
and is preparing to transition into ministry in Yokohama.
She was a delight to get to know! Loved her positive attitude!
We also celebrated the July birthdays of teachers and students.
Here's a photo of me with my teacher,
- since classes are one teacher to one student -
you could also call this my class photo.
Such a delight to learn from and pray with this Christian sister!
I will remember her clear explanations,
patient correction, great sense of humor,
deep understanding of Buddhist and Christian faith,
gift of hospitality and love of all things PINK!
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I ventured into Sapporo and took some photos of the station entrance as I was waiting to meet friends before viewing some fireworks.
This structure looks like the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Inside was an escalator with access to the station and a shopping area.
This is the cities main railway station, located downtown Sapporo.
The JR Tower building is to the right in the above photo.
It has the T38 Observation Deck and holds various shopping areas and restaurants.
These baby buggies each carried 4-6 young children.
Looked like they were preschool or daycare providers out for a stroll.
The children were excited about the pigeons in the park.
Monday, July 29, 2013
n. Chiefly British
A refreshment, consisting of scones, jam, and clotted cream served with tea, usually served in the afternoon.
After a morning of language study I enjoyed lunch at my Japanese teacher's home.
We ate cold udon (thick Japanese noodles) and then prepared for an afternoon tea party.
My Japanese teacher, Motoko Sensei, is married to John, who is British.
He helped me understand more about the tradition of tea parties and instructed me in how to make scones.
I helped Motoko-sensei make sandwiches with ingredients like cucumber & salmon.
Motoko-sensei's hobby is to host people at her home.
She has a gift of hospitality! and is an amazing chef!
She enjoys introducing the missionaries she is teaching to the Japanese Christians and not-yet-christians in her community. She invited me and another church member invited 2 ladies she knew from her "dog walking" group. At the end of our tea party we set a time to meet again before I return to Nara.
Sometimes I forget how simple outreach can be.
Simply opening the home, and inviting a few people who have yet to meet can set in action what
God uses to draw together relationships that bring people into worship.
Here is Motoko-Sensei (red dress), John, and 3 Japanese women who were excited to get a chance to meet foreigners. It was a lovely afternoon of talking - mainly in Japanese.
Thank you Motoko-sensei and John for teaching me something new
and opening your home as a way to introduce new friends to one another and Japanese to Jesus.