Candy Canes and Story Time

The Christmas season is definitely upon us; even in Beirut, the streets are becoming alive with the festive season.  Hamra street is lined with twinkling lights, stores are playing some variation of Christmas music, and many are walking around with bags of gifts for their loved ones.  The classrooms at the school have been decorated for a few weeks and my students became more and more amped up as the weeks towards the holiday approached.  The last weeks have been full of unexpected surprises, laughter and many many hugs!  I am so thankful for the hugs.

My students are a blessing in my life. I feel like a pop star every time I go to class.  Remember that I don’t have my own classroom, so ever 50minutes I aIMG_2869m entering into a their class – their space. I am the visitor, but I am a welcomed visitor.  They chant my name as I enter, they tell me they missed me (even when I saw them earlier in the day), and they all want some sort of physical contact – a fist bump, high five, hug or pat on the shoulder.  It’s all quite funny and at the same time very humbling.

This week there were many secret Santa gift givings in the classrooms, and bless their hearts, my classes all had some little gift for me.  I walked out with coffee cups, chocolate, fun zig zag rainbow socks and a few very heart warming cards – these were my favourite.  I love the cards.  My classes spent our last few days finishing up Folktale storiesIMG_2870 they were writing and sharing our creativity while licking candy canes and cheering for the offering that each new student gave.  Our last period together yesterday we watched a TED talk about Student Voice and Creativity.  I reminded my students how much I valued their contributions in the classroom and related it back to the amazing stories they had just finished.  I sent them off with their Christmas assignment – to see what they could learn from others and recognize the value that different people have in their lives.  It is my hope that my students will end this year with the realization that every student has a voice, that every encounter can teach them something, and that we all have something to learn fro m the other.  IMG_2871

                                                 Yesterday I also woke up to a very special surprise from my school mentor – Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is an incredibly thoughtful, caring and organized mentor whom I appreciate so much!  My little surprise –IMG_2867 a stocking hanging on my door. It was full of Lindt chocolate, nuts, coffee, and other special treats she knew I would appreciate.  Later in the day I had another surprise – I took some money out of my bank account and must have been given a Christmas bonus from the school, because there is a more money in there than just my regular paycheque.  All in all, through my students, my mentor, fellow staff and others, it is so wonderful feeling wanted, appreciated and thought of this holiday season.  I feel blessed.

I am heading out on vacation for the next two weeks. I will be travelling to Cyprus, Athens and the finally New Years in Berlin. I am very excited, a little anxious, and wishing the best for all of you.  I am praying that this holiday season isa blessed one for my family. Despite being apart, I hope they know how much I love them. Merry Christmas everyone!

"My mom is an English teacher and she says Santa's elves are subordinate clauses."

~ by Ryan on December 19, 2014.

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