Monday, August 31, 2009

First day of school!

To all my supporters,

Thank you for your prayers and for being my "cloud of witnesses," as Hebrews 12:1-2 references.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Today was my first day of teaching at KCA, and it went pretty well! (Throughout the day, the other teachers kept asking me how things were going--it was encouraging to know they were looking out for me.)

In the morning, it was a bit overwhelming to see all the students, because I only knew the names of a handful of them. By the end of the day, I knew more names and faces.

2nd pd: 6th grade math.
This is a fun bunch, and I hadn't realized that they wouldn't be used to the daily routine of middle school. I spent a lot of time answering logistical questions about materials needed, changing classes, and hall passes, because after all, this is not elementary school any more! I have 14 students in this class, with 2 sibling sets.

3rd pd: Geometry (mostly 9th/10th grade)
I really hadn't expected to get through all of the logistical first day items (like handing out textbooks, describing my expectations) by the end of class, but lo and behold that's what happened. I had left the nice overhead transparencies I'd prepared in the other room, so I winged it without them, because I had to use the time I had available. That went okay, but not great (what do you expect?), but for tomorrow, I have overheads ready to go and a lesson to teach (and homework to give). I have 14 students in this class, but 6 were absent today!

4th pd: Algebra 2 (mostly 10th/11th grade)
This is a good group too. One of the students asked me if I had Dutch roots, but I told him I wasn't sure (someone on the train last year asked me if I was Dutch). I began (and almost finished) the first lesson with this group.
With a number of the students, I know I will need to call on them to draw them out and get them talking and participating, and also to make sure they understand the material (I don't want them falling behind).

All in all, I think I've been adjusting fairly well. Each day I feel a little culture shock switching from everyday Ukraine life and the English/American-ness of KCA.
My roommate and I have had a few cooking adventures (like buying what we thought was pasta sauce for spaghetti but was really tomato paste), and I've spent my weekends with the Nazarene bunch (Josh and Robyn Allen, Trino Jara, and Dougie). We have gone walking around the city, and the first weekend I was here, Josh, Robyn, Dougie, Zena (from Kiev church), and I went down to Odessa on the coast of the Black Sea--it was great!

Prayer requests:
~A number of students and families are still traveling back to Ukraine from wherever they have been this summer. Also, a few of the teachers/staff are still en route. Pray for their travel safety and smooth sailing through customs/visa issues.
~Due to unforeseen circumstances, one of the other teachers is returning home to the States. Pray for her in this time of transition.
~Pray that I will fix my eyes on Christ and persevere through this year, have patience with my students, and do my best to serve them.
~Raising the rest of my needed support--I still need approximately $3,800 for the year.

In Christ,
Jessica H. for more entries and photos. This page also has links to my Facebook group and financial support pages.

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