Category Archives: teaching

p.e.r.s.o.n.a.l. d.a.y.

About two months ago a colleague of mine asked me how many personal days I had left and gasped when I told her I had yet to use one…

Life has just been too hectic this year to be gone…Any first year teachers feel me on that? Don’t get me wrong- I’ve missed for sick days- but it’s really more work to be away..Not to mention I’ll be missing for FRRO nex week too (visa renewal). But I believe the course of this year has definitely given me every reason to request to use these personal days while I can.

Dax and I have tomorrow off (quite likely his second? personal day off in his 6 years at ASB) and I can’t even fully express how much I am already appreciating that, sitting here as my eyes are drooping and my body is aching. We have been going non-stop for as long as I can remember- my awful cough the last 5 weeks has not helped the slightest. This week my new schedule of running up and down flights of stairs to 2nd,3rd,4th,and5th grade classrooms (located on 4 different floors at ASB) while carrying everything I need to teach for the day is taking a toll on my post-crazy-art-room-packing body. My back pack broke yesterday and I am getting used to moving from chair to chair as meetings arrise, classes invade spaces, and HS students chatter beside me. I am as drained as I can be.. and an extra day of rest is just what the doctor is ordering right now.

As much as I could envision myself simply sleeping the day away we do have a number of things to attend to… An appointment for fabric shopping at a linen market for the guys’ outfits with Dax’s parents, picking up beading samples from Dax’s tailor for mine to apply the same materials to my dress, ring shopping, honeymoon planning, detail arranging, and actually now a doctor’s visit will all happen throughout the course of the next 24 hours.  We’re looking forward to it!

And then.. We’ll go to sleep, and wake up to a Saturday… what a good good feeling (if I momentarily forget about the 240 personal narratives I need to write by next Friday).

Personal day… you couldn’t have come at a better time…

ps. I can hardly contain my excitement at the thought of going home to Iowa in just a few weeks!

Updates from the Art Room…

What a busy year it’s been in the art room. We showcased our student talent during the annual Elementary Art Exhibition two weeks ago and had great attendance and support particularly from parents and peers. The show displayed one masterpiece from every student in KG-Gr 5 at ASB (over 300 individually hung and labled pieces!) It was my first time setting up a student exhibition…aside from the routine bulletin boards and individual project displays in schools…

It was a lot of work, but so rewarding to see the students walk their parents through the display with pride and explain their artwork to their friends and siblings.   Already brainstorming plans for contiuining the exhibition in our new facility next year.

As we began taking down the artwork from the exhibition to send home with the kids, we recieved notice from the leadership team at ASB that in order to complete renovation and construction plans on our current facility, we would need to physically move out of and close 30% of our current educational space.  Which includes 50% of the ES floor- which includes the art room.  So Friday, Jayshree Deepa and I sent our classes out to their homerooms for lessons or time with their teachers, and used the day to begin the exhausting task of packing the art supplies.

  

We packed up 52 boxes…working nonstop from arrival at school until my after school screen printing kids showed up at 3.. We’ve planned ahead and set aside the supplies needed to finish the year in baskets that will be stored in classrooms for the last 5 weeks of school.  Add it to my list of “things I never imagined doing in my first year teaching” 🙂 No surprise I slept 12 hours last night…
Blessing to this frantic packing madness: we won’t have to worry about packing it all the last week of school…

More life, family, wedding updates to come with time… but a peek into work for now… no matter what comes my way though:

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

The Joy of Doing Nothing…but Giving Thanks

I’m finding myself in a fairly familiar, regular place this peaceful Saturday evening: in Kohinoor 553, at the Garrett’s home.  We have collectively agreed/decided/fulfilled the plan to do nothing today… a first, since Dax and I returned from Iowa in January-an honestly probably many weeks before that.

This spring has been full of so many thoughts I never thought I’d be addressing in my first year of teaching…. Thoughts on how to get the kids to remember to call me Mrs Garrett next year (not Mrs Dax or Mrs Coach as many of the younger ones guessed initially), how to legally change my name in two countries (not to mention my passport eventually), where to live as our school expands to two campuses, how to best maximize the time on spring break to source wedding fabric, where to teach-as 30% of our physical building is shutting down by May 5 and I’ll finish the year without an art room, how to grow with Dax and strengthen the relationships we have with both our families, where we’ll honeymoon, wedding planning from abroad, how to travel to the states with a wedding dress and not go too crazy on the delicious Iowa summer food so I can still fit into it, thoughts on how to cherish every moment spent relaxing together, how to find a relaxing moment to spend together…

The list could go on and on… and it does in my mind… to more personal things… more school things… my head and heart have been quite busy… But I am so thankful to say that I am content in all of this. Of course Dax is helping me through much of this… I have said many times now that certainly my time in India would not be the same without him (duh) but also, I don’t think my coping with India and learning to grow and develop here would have been the same specifically…

However he is not the only one… My parents back in Iowa have coped with my emotional roller coaster… Smiling and telling me they love me when I burst into tears on skype for simply missing them as any 24-yr old would half way around the world, keeping me up to date on extended family… Helping line up logistics for the wedding.. Making phone calls and helping get everything set up for the big day this summer….My sister dedicated her entire spring break to trying out Pinterest recipes and crafts for the ceremony and reception and she’s even writing a song. My brother has spent time talking on the phone with me.. checking in when it’s been too long.. doing that brother thing that makes me smile…

And of course…. they are not the only ones.

Back to the start of this post. Sitting and enjoying a relaxing Saturday night in the Garrett home has become tradition. Althea, Donford, and Aiyesha have been absolutely amazing through this entire season. They’ve spent long hot hours searching for fabrics, included me in special family events, literally fed and housed me a large majority of the past few months (really can’t emphasize enough the amazing cooking that comes from their kitchen and the mattress slumber parties that happen in the living room as a family).  They know what tea I like to drink and my favorite ice cream. They’ve taken care of me when I was really sick-literally layed in their house for days and they nursed me back to health.  They’ve rounded up countless emails for our invitation list, and provided most importantly a loving, supportive environment and family to be part of.  Aiyesha has been an amazing sister-in-law, proudly telling kids at school and stepping in to help with design ideas and wedding reception possibilities.  Words can’t express full the peace this family has covered me with. Because of their generous care…. I have been able to focus on the pressing needs of the day to day with considerably less stress. I spend so much time at their home now, it’s such a relief, such an escape and such a relaxing place to just be. They have opened their home and their hearts to me… in a way that moves me to awestruck gratitude.

I’ve had several conversations lately with Jayshree, the other art teacher at school. It’s been a hectic time at school too with the art exhibition getting organized, hung, and run… She is always telling me she’s so amazed by how blessed my life has been this year… One day she told me I had big luck this year: finding a great job, finding an amazing man, finding a good family… I told her it wasn’t any measure of big luck that has put me where I am today… It’s a big God who has a plan for me, loves me, and encourages me with blessings every day.

Thanks for reading through this massive post. It’s been a while since I really let it rip on writing, but this is very typical rambling/unending blog writing here… There are just some things that are too important to cut out or briefly sum up…..

As always… thankful to simply be blessed beyond belief.

Spring Break 2012

A friend reminded us last night that a great blessing to teaching is the aspect of scheduled holidays and breaks…(in addition to the joy and challenge of connecting with and helping students learn and grow every day of course).  Ironically, I’ve spent every spring break traveling abroad the past 6 years. (Mexico, Guatemala, Guatemala,Pittsburgh, Florida, Seattle) This year… I actually live abroad (and have an income!)… but am staying put for spring break 🙂

Dax and I have been using this much needed pause in classes and school to try to get some planning and logistics figured out for the big day which is now less than 3 months away!  We have visited tailors for both Dax and I (I’ve decided to get my dress made here in India-which is exhausting and exciting), hunted for fabric in Crawford market and a half a dozen lace and fabric supply stores, skyped with family and friends abroad, visited with friends in Mumbai, spent time with family, SLEPT, eaten great food and watched a few movies.  Still to come: finalizing meetings with both his tailor and mine, finish some paintings for Easter arts service this weekend, l.e.s.s.o.n. p.l.a.n.n.i.n.g., cooking Mexican for the Garretts, more skype dates, and goodness gracious me finally finishing our e-invites and website for the wedding.

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Slowly but surely it’s all coming together. I’m really thankful that we’re keeping this as simple and practical as possible… no full on bridezilla moments (yet)… however I do easily get caught up in the stresses of details and reactions from others…. and Dax is such a patient supportive groom-to-be…

Now in the midst of all this planning and preparing, we settle into another day in this holy week where we focus on the gift we recieved on the cross through Jesus… I am already eagerly living in the joy of the fact that on the third day, He rose again…

Wowza

In the midst of surviving (and some moments I’d venture to claim thriving) in my first year of teaching… I put together this slideshow of the year’s explorations and adventures in Art to show at an elementary assembly at school to publicize the upcoming art exhibition we’ll be having at ASB in April.  It’s a good reminder of everything that went well this year-as I’m really in the process of reflecting how to improve and change for the next go around with some of these projects and units.  It’s been a darn good year 🙂

After School Activity: Screenprinting


Screenprinting has sort of become “my thing” over the last 3-4 years.  I studied printmaking in college, and enjoyed this particular process… but what I love more than creating is sharing it with students… Screenprinting took me back to South America for a summer of teaching workshops to students who were just learning to walk, learning to be teachers at university, or learning how to enjoy retirement…In my last year at UNI I was invited to teach workshops in area schools, taught my cousin’s 4H group, and helped area youth creat screenprinted Tibetan inspired prayer flags for the arrival of the Dalai Lama to our campus in the spring of 2010.

 

Now, I’ve found a way to bring “my thing” to India as well. I have been teaching an after school activity for the elementary kiddos at ASB for the past two months and as deeply as I sighed when I committed my Friday afternoons to an extra hour of teaching, I must say I am loving this group and wanted to share some highlights from last week’s session. The kids have learned about hte process of creating a design then making a screen with that design. They have made solo prints, collage prints-using each others’ designs as well, and (their favorite part) screenprinted their very own t-shirt. I love watching them work together and “discover” new ideas (ie: printing on a new area of a shirt, turning a design, changing colors etc..)

so many reasons to give thanks

… an extra day in February, my first ASB UnPlugged conference + presentation, a life filled with great friends, restored health, Dax making me smile in new ways every day, trimester 2 narratives complete, getting back to the gym, thankful for safety on the roads in Mumbai and intruiged by imagining the story behind each rickshaw driver I encounter, awesome strawberry peach froyo, great stuff happening in art classes…

And I’m thankful to have a relatively peaceful upcoming weekend with time to Skype with family and update you properly on many of the above mentioned happenings.. but for now.. I’ll leave you with a photo that never ceases to make my day in India: buying food wrapped in recycled newspaper bags.. In this case, one dozen eggs to go 🙂