I have come to the end of the first full week of school and have so much to be thankful for. It’s amazing to me how quickly I was able to get into the routine and feel comfortable teaching the kids and working with the staff here. I’ve already had some heartfelt, deep spiritual questions from the kids (“How do you know that the God of the Bible is the one true god and all the other gods are fake?”), and am constantly struck by the diversity represented in all my classes.
On the very first day, three adorable sixth grade girls came up and introduced themselves. After chatting for a bit, I asked where they were from, and they quickly spouted off: Germany, Greece, and India. I blinked, taking an extra half second to take in just how unique each one of these girls was, and yet they stood before me as good friends, with the same shy smiles that I would see in any sixth grade girl back in the States. Most of this week has been like that for me. The more I get to know my students, the more blown away I am by the richness of the cultural backgrounds that they bring to this school. The discussions in class so far have been electric: unleash a topic, and sit back and watch them bring their heritage to the table in an articulate, thoughtful way. It’s every teacher’s dream.
The next month or so will be extraordinarily busy around here for me. Since our high school English teacher is not here yet (but hopefully will be coming!), I’m not only teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English classes, but 6th grade Bible, 9th grade English, and I’m splitting 11th grade and 10th grade English with several other teachers here throughout the week. Although I’m really enjoying having a chance to teach high school and study literature more in-depth, it will be a relief when I get to give up these classes so I have time to prep and focus on 6-8 English and 6th grade Bible, which are my designated classes for the year. Please pray that our high school teacher can come soon.
The sixth graders are quickly becoming “my” class, since I see them for 15 minutes in the morning for homeroom, then again for English, twice a week for Bible, and again at the end of each day for homeroom. I’m thankful for this group of kids…they’re from everywhere…Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, USA, Lebanon, India, Ireland, Germany, and so many more places. They all have different personalities and quirks, yet they somehow blend together in this school in a way that seems to work. They’re all “sixth graders” in a somewhat typical, Western sense of the word. They forget stuff and can be squirrely. They all have a need for Christ. When I stand in front of them and get to talk about the Bible and its historical foundation, accuracy, and relevance to our daily lives and see them tracking with me and asking questions, it feels as though the world has been lit on fire. I wish you could be here to meet them. Then you’d know what I mean.
My main purpose in working at the school is twofold: 1. to provide an excellent education to the children of missionaries so that they can do their work well. 2. To teach unbelieving students about the gospel of Christ in word and deed. Both groups are present here, and I have all the freedom in the world to not only teach English, but teach English in such a way that the kids are challenged to think about the essential questions of life. Best of all, I get to love these kids. I pray each day for God to give me His heart for them. My love just won’t do. It’s HIM that they need to see, not me, and somehow that powerful, transforming love needs to be channeled through this broken vessel. That is my prayer.