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Hello to all my subscribers…

I’ve been very busy this 1st term. I can hardly believe it’s nearly over. It’s a lot easier this year, since I have all the experience to fall back on from last year. There are still some hiccups occasionally but nothing that rattles me too much. I’m enjoying it still. Last week I went on a camp with the year 13 students. It was really nice to get to bond with them in a different environment. I think they got to see a different side of me as well which was pretty cool. I’m very glad I went. We hiked (tramped) 25 km together, went white water rafting together, ate together, played together, hung out together, encouraged one another… it was cool.

In other news, I’ve decided to raise chickens from eggs. Out of the 12 that I bought I think 11 started developing and I think 9 or 10 are still alive and going strong. It’s really cool to look through the egg with a flashlight (torch) because you can see the little embryos moving around inside. It’s amazing… a little life is inside and it started from just a clear bunch of liquid. Each one now has blood vessels and eyes and legs. So cool. I can’t wait for them to hatch in about one and a half weeks.

A lot has changed in the last month for me. I sense God working in my life. He’s an encouragement every day. I trust Him in the utmost. I am happy.

My Grandpa


My grandpa meant a lot to me. I owe him largely for where I am today. He provided for my childhood, my education, and my future. He pushed me to put be my best in life. Sometimes I would get impatient with him, like when he would come over to my house with a letter that I had sent him, just to talk about the spelling mistakes that I had made. He meant well though, and I always try to read things over now before I click send because I remembered that lesson. I can thank him for that. My grandpa loved me. I think he sometimes struggled to show that, but I know that through his actions he did. The other day I went fishing with a friend and I was reminded of the first time I ever went fishing. It was with my grandpa. He had bought me a purple kids tackle box and a plastic fishing pole. I can’t remember if I caught anything, but I do remember that we were at the river and we spent time together. When I was really little, he used to feed one maraschino cherry to me with a special little fork everything I left his house. This was our special thing. I always looked forward to it, and sometimes, if I was lucky I would get two. When I was a teenager, we also shared time together when we had pet rats. Although many people think they are vermin, we learned together that rats are very intelligent and clean pets. When they died we buried them behind his house and had a little funeral for each one. We even wrote out a family tree of them and I still have it today. It has his handwriting and I will always keep it. I cherish these memories. When his memory started getting worse, I wasn’t really sure what to think. I tried to be patient. Then he went into the hospital. As dementia took over his mind I noticed that he was always happy. I almost think he seemed most happy during these times than when I knew him before, I think this was because though his life was hard, raising 5 kids on his own, working as a doctor, that even though I know he wasn’t perfect, I believe that at the end of his life he was at peace. He knew that God would take care of him no matter what happened, that God had him in the palm of his hand and loved him and forgave him just as he wants to forgive each person. The last real conversation I had with my grandpa was when he was in the hospital that first time. We were wheeling him to the hospital chapel. Everyone else was talking amongst themselves. I was at his side and he made it a point to tell me this, “We all go through hard times, but the most important thing to remember is this: Make sure you put Jesus first.” I believe I will see my grandpa again in heaven some day when Jesus returns. I look forward to that day.

 

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An overdue update


Hey there,

So much has happened. After the Seniors left school for exams I spent time getting ready for the next year. I made pretty good head way. I finished the school year and am now on summer holiday. I’m feeling pretty good about teaching a second year. I’ve been in New Zealand for one year and 1 1/2 months. I’ve had my second Christmas in New Zealand.

My housemate has been married and her new husband moved in, so I and our other housemate have moved next door to another house that was empty. Her cousin will be joining us as well. The great thing about this new house is that it has a nice spot for a garden and I’ve taken full advantage of it. I’ve planted lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, sweet basil, artichokes, zucchini, parsley, thyme, oregano, and watermelons.  It’s so cool. It makes me happy just looking at it. I was blessed to have a friend of a friend with a lounge suite that they wanted to give away, so they have given it to me. My house mate’s parents have helped us out with a fridge, washing machine and lawn mower. I got a great deal on a bed too and some pots and pans.

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I’ve also decided to take up tramping, which is also known as backpacking in the states. I have a pack, boots, sleeping bag and mat, a tent, a camping stove… I’m pretty excited about that too. I’m hoping to see parts of New Zealand that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t tramp through it.

I’ve been hearing about the snow storms up in the states and the polar vortex. I hope everyone is warm enough.

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I have done a little bit of traveling and site seeing this holiday, but not as much as last summer. I saw Castle Point and the Patuna chasms, which is a canyon in a river that you get to walk up and around and then back through. It was beautiful. It would be great to go back and do it again some time. New Zealand has so many tracks and things to see though. On New Years we went camping and walked up a river and floated back down on tubes and blow up boats. That was really fun. Pictures of that are on a different camera so I’ll post them a little later since I’m having trouble getting those photos onto my computer.

I have a goal of going on at least 5 tramps this year so I’m excited to show you how it goes. I also have a goal to make a friend from the community this year as well. And I’ve made good headway, I thought it would be a bit harder, and that it would take longer than it has, but I did meet a girl at a cafe the other day. I asked her if she was into tramping and she was. So, I’ll be going with her and her friends to do the Tongariro crossing in a few weeks.

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Also, sometimes I do get an inkling that I do in fact like the snow. Perhaps this is because Christmas here is in summer. But at any rate, I think I miss having four complete seasons a little bit. I’m thinking I may start my application for permanent residence soon. I’ve posted some more pictures of the last several months. You can check them out here. (click the word here).

Springtime


It’s my first spring in New Zealand and it is even more so my favorite season because in New Zealand you actually get to see baby animals everywhere. Where I come from animals are kept in barns and are not often seen in fields. There are a lot of sheep and cows in New Zealand and they are all kept in paddocks to graze on grass. This means that when they have babies, you get to see them as well. The baby animals bring a smile to my face. They are all so cute.  I’ve seen ducks, chicks, calves, and lambs. Today I got to see a freshly born black little lamb. He was still wobbly on his feet and just learning to suckle. How precious… Praise God for baby animals.

The days are getting warmer now and there is only one week left until the 2 week holidays. I’m looking forward to it. My students just did mock exams in preparation for the real exams that happen in November. Some of them did very well, but others need to pick up their game and study harder. Hopefully they will do so and not throw in the towel now after seeing their marks. Apparently it’s typical for students to not study until the last-minute… Hmm, I think I remember doing that a few times. I don’t have any new photos to put up, but I will include a picture of this lamb which is like the one I saw today. :) I hope everyone is enjoying the last bits of warm weather up there in the north! I’m enjoying the blossoms, longer afternoons and warming days.

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Mid Winter


A big hello to the world! I’m sorry to those that follow this blog for the long interval of no posting. Lets see… I’ve just finished a two week holiday in between term 2 and 3. It’s been great this last term. I put boundaries in place and followed them the whole time. This allowed me to have 4 hours of free time all to myself at the end of each day. I go home, make dinner, hang out, go to bed. Lovely.

Anyway, beyond that, I’ve started the evolution unit with my year 13 biology students and I’m really enjoying it.  I gave each of them an essay by a scientist that believes in a 6 day creation and when we go back to school on monday, two students will give an oral summary for the class each day until everyone has gone. It’s cool because I can show them how there are difficulties in both theories… (evolution and creationism)… and then advise the students that it takes faith to believe either. I then can show them bible verses that support why we as christians can have faith in creationism. I stress to them that I’m not asking that they believe one theory or another, or making them, but to think about it themselves and make a real choice.

Over the holiday I went down to Wellington for the day with the two new assistant deans on campus. They are here doing a student missionary year like I did when I went to Yap. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is quite a large city. We looked at shops, drove up to a look out, the Te Papa Museum, checked out some touristy places and then drove home. It was cool. Then on Sunday I went down again to see some more things such as the Botanic Gardens and the Cable Car in the city with Dexter. It was a lovely day.

Then on our way home we stopped at a Noodle Canteen take away food place and while we were waiting for our noodles we felt the large earthquake that you may have heard about in the news recently. It was a 6.9 and the epicentre was in the Cook Straight, between the north and south island. Some boxes fell over in the restaurant and everyone rand outside just to be safe. There was minor damage in the city, but after looking at the news that evening I realised that we were just on the streets that had to be shut off temporarily because of broken glass and damage that had littered the sidewalks below the large buildings. I’m glad we weren’t in the city when it happened. A women was telling us outside that she just came out of a pub where all the bottles fell of the shelves and the glasses smashed on the floor and all the old men were hiding under the tables. What did it feel like? Well, the ground was moving back and forth and you could here the building shaking and creaking too. It only lasted a little while, maybe 30 seconds where we were. You can read about the quake here:

1. news article

2. news article 2

3. news article 3 

Anyway, I’ve posted some more pictures on my flickr account. They are from the last several months. Just click here to view them :) I’ll put some down below of Wellington as well. If you click the link here you can hear what a Tui bird sounds like, which is in a few of the photos on the linked page. Enjoy!

 

 


I was thinking last week, that learning to teach is a lot like learning to drive. When I first learned to drive, I had a tendency to look directly in front of the vehicle. This would cause me to swerve slightly, back and forth, in order to stay in the center of the road. My eyes would get tired as well. Driving instructors tell you to gaze into the distance rather than in front of you. This helps to keep a more steady path. This is tricky to do at first, because I was not sure about how far to look. Looking too far into the distance is not good either and it feels unnatural.

When I first started teaching I think I was looking directly in front of me. I was working too hard to get everything perfect, overcorrecting myself so much in order to have every detail planned for each lesson. This caused me to be planning for each class usually in my free periods before the class, or early in the morning and late after school was over in order to be ready. I became very tired after about 6 weeks of this and then gradually began to care about nothing, leaving school as soon as I could and winging every class directly from the textbook. This got me through the last 4 weeks. The last week I nearly had a meltdown and did end up crying in the staffroom from anxiety over a certain class.

I think that I was looking too close into the future in the beginning and too far in the end. Just like driving.

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After a nice two week break that is given between terms I have been doing much better. I think I’ve figured out where to set my gaze. I have even given myself a goal and boundary for each day. It goes like this: I am not allowed to stay at school past 4:00 pm. When I leave school, I am not allowed to work on school or think about school. I also require myself to plan the next day’s classes one day in advance. I am not allowed to plan for a class on the day that I teach it. So, if I’m not ready, I will just ‘wing’ it.

And after doing this for a week and a half now, I havent had to ‘wing’ anything. I’ve left every day at 4. I haven’t done any planning outside of that time. I have a life outside of school and it feels great. I think what this has done for me, is to force me to make pivotal decisions so that I’m not spending hours looking up possible ideas and not actually getting anywhere. I pick something, write it down and move on. I’m not longer worried about everything being perfect, and to be honest, I think it’s making me more creative.

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Another thing that has happened recently is that I was trying to order some organisms for an experiment in biology called ‘planaria’. They are these cool little 1 cm worms that can be used in many different experiments such as testing if they prefer light, or being at the top or bottom, or if they like certain ‘smells’ etc. They also grow back as two if you cut them in half. I looked online and to my dismay there are no biological providers in New Zealand that will ship these to me. And it’s not just planaria, it’s anything. You can’t buy animals that have been preserved for dissecting, you can’t by certain species of algae for experiments… You have to catch or grow it yourself…

I really do think it has to do with the New Zealand mentality of, ‘she’ll be right’, and ‘do it yourself’. So, I emailed a guy at the university in town and he gave me some instructions he found on how to catch planaria. At first I was really sceptical, and the first 3 times I tried it, it didn’t work. But, I did find a stream that has them, and caught 35 of the worms! The method involves putting some cooked egg yoke in a tea bag and suspending it inside a jar that you place in the mud so the edge is just above the muck at the edge of the stream. The planaria smell the egg and crawl in and stay there. My lesson went great and the students had fun. I got to go wading in my gumboots and learned something new. It’s still a bit frustrated that I can’t just buy what I need, but at the same time, I’m really glad that I couldn’t this time.

Autotom6


Hello everyone,

Teaching is going well. I’m realizing that I need to work less and focus less on making what I do perfect. I know that improvements can happen over several years. I don’t need to have everything figured out right now. If I keep pushing myself the way that I have over the last couple months, I think I will burn out as a teacher. I need to allow myself some more rest. I’ve been doing that now, but all the work has been catching up to me in the form of fatigue. I know that a lot of first year teachers go through this, so it’s not completely discouraging. It’s actually encouraging to know that others go through the same thing. It’s been extremely helpful and such a blessing to have such a good friend here in New Zealand. I know things would be different if he was not here to offer an arm to lean on.

I don’t have many new pictures to post right now. Please keep my students in your prayers. There is one who may lose his eyesight, and my heart just goes out to him. It must be so hard to not see. Please pray that his optic nerve heals from the inflammation that has been present for many weeks now.

Dexter and I are also ambitious to start giving Bible studies to some people here. We’ve never done this before, but are excited and optimistic to be able to spread the good news that God loves them.

Autumn is starting to creep upon us. For Easter we get a 5 day weekend and it’s just what I’ve needed. In a few weeks we get our first term break which is for 2 whole weeks. I can’t wait. I think I’m going to do as little as possible. I think I’ll write a more proper blog post then. :)

Below is  a graph of what a lot of first year teachers go through. The months don’t match up with my year, but I’d say I’m near the disillusionment stage.

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