And we are officially 1/4 finished with the school year. I know, that may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I beg to differ...
Before I begin my thoughts concerning how I feel/what I've learned this far in, I wanted to mention my mailing address, in hopes that you will feel guilty and write me. :) Ha, no, actually a few people have asked for it recently....so here it is: 100 mission drive, Pine Ridge, SD 57770
Okay, I have realized a few things since being here, and I shall relay them in orderly fashion, for those who enjoy structured ideas:
* I am "turning over a new leaf for the new quarter" as I mentioned to a few of my weights students.... and Henry (always the funny guy) says, "Oh, so you mean you're going to be responsible?" Ha.... "Yes, Henry, I am now a responsible teacher." -which means that I am enforcing rules I did not previously enforce so strongly in the first quarter...basic things, really- which I am now more convinced are necessary for effective weight training (dressing in work-out clothes, remaining in the weight room, you know....slightly important details). :)
* I find my best connections with students, not only out of my desire and concerted effort to be a "reachable" faculty member, but moreso because I am genuinely interested in their lives... and ask questions because it matters to me what's going on in their lives.... what they care about, what they think- their ideas are amazing, and I am so fortunate to have the opportunity, time, and relationships to hear from them. Have I mentioned that this is a pretty great job? :) So many wonderful kids, so many brilliant/creative/cunning/charming personalities. And also a lot of pain. It's through conversations about normal life events that I am able to learn of their deep desires, but also of their deep hurts- expressed on the surface as 'ordinary' life issues. In many ways I find common ground simply by being honest with myself and the students. Honesty-(with boundaries)- it's been a theme word for me these past few months.
*My parents were out visiting me this weekend, taking in all the sights and sounds of Red Cloud, and the scenic drive to Rapid City. I felt fortunate to be able to introduce them to bits of the Lakota culture with I have encountered, in addition to showing them around my home, the school, and some of my bus routes.... :) Although in the plans, I was unable to drive bus with them, which would have been extremely cool. They met several of my students during the Halloween Festival, and they definitely got to experience a social event on the Rez- the Festival went off fine, with most everyone satisfied- therefore, I was satisfied!
As I look into this new quarter, I realize that time is flying by. WHAT? the first 9 weeks of school have come and gone? Although I would attest to the many developing relationships which have come thus far, it also seems as if I just got here....still much to learn, much to be grateful for, and much to share with you all. :) I shall keep this blog rather short, as I understand that really long blogs are occasionally difficult to handle in one sitting. :)
Thanks for being an interested audience...and for those who choose to post comments...I appreciate it, more than I often say. :)
Love, JOY, and peace on this BEAUTIFUL Monday afternoon. I shall take a walk- enjoy God's creation b/f the time comes when enjoying God's creation means bundling in several layers of cotton! :)
Sincerely your friend in Pine Ridge,
6 months ago