Friday, October 11, 2013

Finally, a post from Suriname. :-)

 Ten weeks ago I arrived in Suriname. I am certain this is where I am suppose to be. However, there are just a few things I am starting to miss. Yes, I miss my daughter the most. But beyond that, the things I am missing are a bit surprising, if not strange.  I miss my former house. I was very blessed to live on a farm. My view was spectacular. Whenever I would turn down the lane after a long day of school, I would sigh with relief as I turned down the lane. Home was a place of peace, joy and solitude. I miss sitting on the porch watching the birds, squirrels and whatever else would stroll by.   I miss my comfortable recliner and that old red couch.   That couch was the best napping couch ever!  I miss watching college football and cooking/eating hot wings every Saturday. I miss Valdosta in general. Traffic was nightmarish at times, but there is just something about that place I love. Maybe it is because I raised my "baby" there. But Valdosta will always have a special place in my heart. (The crazy drivers, not so much.)  I miss going to the store whenever I felt like it. I miss drive-thrus and late night Waffle House runs.

     With all that I may miss, one thing is for sure, if given a chance to choose again, I would STILL choose Suriname. I know this is where God wants me. I am in love with my students and with the people here.  The wildlife I see is different. Instead of squirrels scampering on the ground, I see Iguanas running around. I see different species of birds. Instead of Georgia pines and pecan trees, I see palm, coconut, and banana trees. No beautiful lane to drive down, but when I turn the corner and see my house at the end, I still sigh in relief. Mainly due to the fact that, by this point, I am hot and sweaty from the walk home. ;-)

     I am enjoying teaching the different nationalities that are represented in my class. I have children from Brazil, Guiana, Tanzania, Italy, Holland, South Africa, USA, and China. Afternoon dismissal is my favorite. NOT because the children are leaving (hahaha) but because of all the different languages I hear as parents and drivers come to pick up the children. The first week of school, it made me cry. All I could think was Jesus loves every single one of these people. And what a privilege I have to be here to minister to the different nations.

     I will try to be a little more diligent about updating my blog. I do post pictures on my facebook page. Look for the "Suriname Album" to view the pictures.   Your prayers are appreciated. Please pray for me and the students and faculty of IAS.  I do hope to come home for Christmas. That is still up in the air at this point. ( pun intended!)  Thanks so much for your prayers!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party

Latoya at Flying into First is having a linky party. Choose 3 boxes that form a Tic-Tac-Toe and tell about yourself.

I am going to start with the upper left hand corner and go diagonal.

Brewton-Parker College
I attended a small, Southern Baptist college in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. I ended up there quite by accident. I just finished my junior year in High School. I had no clue what I was doing after graduation. A girl I worked with had just been accepted to BPC. The college sounded really nice. I went and visited. It was perfect for me, an introvert. Small class sizes, homey feel, and a Christian college. So, off I went. It was funny though. As much as I couldn't wait to leave home, I called home at least once every quarter (yes, quarters, no semesters back then yet. lol.)and begged to come home. Thankfully, daddy always said no. :-)

I don't know if this would be a favorite school memory, but it is definitely the most memorable and life changing. A few years back, I blogged about this school and the teacher that forever shaped my life. You can read about it HERE.  Anyway, my most memorable experience in school.  I was in 5th grade and headed down a bad path. I was picked on a lot by the other children because I was very shy.
 One day someone brought a prism to school. I was awe struck by it and wanted it. So, I stole it. The next day Mrs. Brown confronted the class. She asked the guilty to party to please put it on her desk; no questions asked.  I struggled all day. Finally, after class when every one else left, I went back to the room and put it on her desk. She caught me. But instead of a harsh word, I got words that forever changed me:  "I am proud of you. It took a big person to admit they were wrong."  I broke down and cried. She hugged me.   That was a turning point in my life. She showed me things could be different.  She took me to church with her a few times.  I will NEVER forget Mrs. Brown.  Because of her, I was set on a different path. 

The last thing about me: Hobbies.  I'm really not much of a hobby girl. However, I do like to scrapbook. I also LOVE to cook and try new recipes. During the summer, I read a lot and spend more time than I should on the computer pinning teacher ideas and playing candy crush! :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Before pictures and decorating plans

As some of you already know, I will be teaching first grade at the International Academy of Suriname in Paramaribo, Suriname this up coming school year. One of the teachers there sent me pictures of my classroom. The current teacher had already taken down everything. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when I saw these photos. BUT, then, I got excited at the challenge of decorating this room and making it cute, welcoming, and comfortable.
First the pictures, then I will share some of my ideas. 

This looks like it might be a reading/library area. I am praying I can find a different piece of carpet somewhere for a reasonable price. If not, I'll make do.  Also hoping I can find some big pillows or cushions to line the wall. Hoping I can find some sort of baskets or bins to organize the library.

I bought some small white curtains to go over that window.  As you can see, it is a chalkboard! Which is fine. I am one of those who prefers a chalkboard over a dry erase board.   Student desks. Not sure how I am going to arrange those yet. 

A view of the room from the teachers desk. Yes, that material map will be coming down. Will try to find a different spot for it.  :) I can't wait to get there so I can see if I can do some rearranging. 

View of the teacher desk area. Those curtains are coming down! :) I've found some cute ones at Walmart, of all places. :) Pic posted below. 

Another view of the room.  I see a lot of potential! Here is my main dilemma. I can only take two suitcases at 50 pounds each. So, I am limited to how much school stuff I can bring with me. But, regardless, there are some things I have to take with me, as they are difficult to find there.  

I am not really a theme kinda girl. However, I usually have color schemes. I am thinking yellow and green with polka dots.  Here are some things I picked up today. (BTW, the Carson Dellosa items were 20% off)

LOVE these letters. AND they are already pre-cut. I am investing in a small personal laminator to take with me.  They weigh about 4 pounds, but I think it will be worth the sacrifice of an extra pair of shoes or two. :)
Pictured above are letters, name tags for the desks, name tags for the students, and some accents I will use in the room to label things. 

My bulletin board border. LOVE. :)  I was told the school does have bulletin board paper. I am hoping they have green and yellow. If not, I 'll just make do with whatever is available.

My alphabet boarder.

The curtains I found at Walmart. The picture is not very good. But they are green with white polka dots. I was excited to find these!

So, there you have it. I have got my work cut out for me. BUT I am up for the challenge. I think the hardest thing for me is not being able to get in my room now! I usually like to work on my room a little at a time all summer. This year, I have to wait until I get there. That is why I am trying to get my stuff together and get a plan of action so I can hit the ground running. 

PLEASE leave me a comment if you have any ideas or suggestions!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Organizational Tips Linky Party

Fun in Room 4B and Ladybug's Teacher Files are having a linky party! Share a tip about how you stay organized in the classroom.


I wish I had a more recent picture to share. The only one I found was from 2 years ago when I was setting up my classroom.

Idea number 1:

On my teacher desk, you see 5 pocket folders. They are labeled Monday through Friday. This is an old picture. This year, I had newer folders with cute days of the week labels. Wish I had taken a picture before I packed them up at the end of school!  Anyway, when lesson planning, I put any work or tests we will be doing in the daily folders. When it is time for a test or worksheet, I simply just pull them out of that day's folder. Makes my life so much easier! This was for fourth grade. Next year I will be teaching first. I plan to find some type of narrow tubs/bins to use. I will put any flashcards/manipulatives/or worksheets for that day's lessons.

Idea #2:  See the yellow folders? They were labeled by subject. When they completed a test, quiz or written assignment, they would file it in the appropriate subject folder. My teacher's helper would sort them for me in numerical order. (The students were assigned numbers).

Can't wait to read everyone else's ideas!

Happy organizing!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Collecting and Returning Homework

Joy in the Journey is having a linky party. What do you do with that pile of homework you assigned? I taught 4th grade the last 6 years. Here is what I did.

I have a tray in the front of the classroom for homework collection. When the students come in, they place their homework in the tray. They are to put their name, student number, and subject heading on all of their papers. My teacher's helper will sort the papers and put them in number order for me.

The picture above shows the homework tray.  After the homework is sorted, it is checked. I do this two ways. Sometimes, I pass it back to the students and we check it as a class. The rest of the time, I take out my fun, colorful felt tip pens and check it myself. :-)

When it is time to pass it back, I, or my teacher's helper,  put it in their mail slots. I LOVE this pocket chart organizer! It has made my life so much easier.

And that is how I checked  4th grade homework.
Next year I will be teaching first grade. I will probably do something similar. I need to put some thought in to it. :)

Oh, one other thing. At the beginning of the school year, I send home a copy of my homework policy to the parents. They and their child sign and return it to me.

Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Things for Friday

Doodle Bugs (First Grade Rocks) is having a linky party! 5 Things for Friday!

This has been a busy two weeks. I've packed up my classroom and said good bye to my school of 14 years!  I will be teaching first grade in Paramaribo, Suriname, South America! I am beyond excited. Here are my 5 things!

1.  I packed up my classroom. I said good bye to my school. I taught here for 14 years, the last 6 were spent in this room teaching 4th grade. I loved 4th grade! I will miss the teachers and students.

2.  I've been busy this week getting all of my Visa forms in order. My passport finally arrived! I got my work visa papers sent off the Suriname Consulate!

3. This one of my lunches from this week.  I love bacon. I try not to eat it very often. But when I do, I buy the organic kind with no nitrates. It is really tasty. :) Pictured are blt wraps with avocado. Yum!

4. I absolutely LOVE sharpies!!! I found these on sale! They will be in my suitcase when I leave for Suriname!

5. These are my 3 purr-babies. Baby, on the porch, Pookie, headed back inside, and Jack sitting in the doorway. They are inside cats, but like to sit on the front porch with me in the evenings. I will miss them when I move. My daughter will be taking them.

My New Adventure

When this school year ended, I had been teaching for 19 years. 5 years in Pre-K and 14 years at a Christian school in grades K, 1, 3 & 4.  Fourth was my favorite. I loved working at this school. Made a lot of friends and memories. However, my dream has always been to teach overseas as a missionary teacher. (You can read more about that here)

When this school year began, I knew it was going to be my last year at this particular school. At the time, I thought it was because I would be working in a public school. I needed insurance and retirement, and it seemed like the logical conclusion. However, as I began applying to different districts, it occurred to me that I could go anywhere!  My daughter is grown and recently moved to another state, and my sweet daddy died in September, 2012. (Blog post about how I dealt with his death)  Nothing was holding me to my current city. The desire to teach overseas resurfaced. So, I began applying to different mission organizations. I had a few interviews, via Skype. After much prayer, I accepted a position at The International Academy of Suriname in Paramaribo, Suriname, South America. I will be teaching first grade. I am beyond excited!  I will be leaving the states sometime in late July. It is a 2 year commitment. I will get to come home at Christmas and summer break.

It is an English speaking school that provides internationals an American education. They follow the Texas state standards and use American curriculum. I am so excited.  I will finally be able to develop my own stuff. At my previous school, that was limited because we had to stick by the curriculum. It was hard doing extra stuff due to time and curriculum restraints. I've already been doing some planning based on the Curriculum maps they've sent me. I am excited to finally be able to start contributing my ideas on this blog! :-)

I will post updates as I make the transition from 4th grade, American teacher to a 1st grade teacher abroad.