This Sunday, my “Mennonite History, Life, and Thought” class had the opportunity to visit an Amish congregation in Yoder, Kansas. The service started at 9:00, so we had to leave at 8:00am. Add in time to get ready and the time change and it was a pretty early morning. The Amish hold their services on the property of congregants, often in homes, but sometimes in barns or sheds. This particular one was held in a church member’s basement. When we arrived, all the men were standing in the barn talking, all of the children were staring at us from the windows of the house, and all the women were sitting and talking on the benches in the basement. The basement was set up so that men and women sat separately on backless wooden benches, with youngest boys in the front, oldest women in folding chairs in front, gender-separated families in the middle, and young women and men in the backs of their respective sections.
For the past three-and-a-half years, I have been the self-proclaimed sports photographer at Bethel College. I really love photographing the passion that people have for a particular activity, and sports photography is one way of doing that. I usually try to attend at least one tournament/match/meet/game per season for each sport, and usually attend far more. I enjoy seeing the passion that my classmates have for their respective sport and the camaraderie that exists between teammates. And it is so wonderful to be present when something truly legendary happens, such as the basketball win that recently occurred over Southwestern, the football team’s “bouquet toss” in 2010, or the inaugural game (and win!) of Bethel’s new softball team.
We’ve had awesome weather the past week here in North Newton. It’ s been a little on the windy side, but for February it’s fabulous. The downside of having nice weather, of course, is that when you have class all afternoon it’s hard to get out and appreciate it.
Luckily, some of Bethel’s professors feel the same way about nice weather. On one of the days last week when it was shorts weather my two math classes took place outside. The math department has a portable chalkboard in one of the classrooms that we take outside on nice days. Since the classes are so small it’s not hard to hold a lecture outside in the afternoon sunshine.
We saw a history class heading outside as well for a discussion. The discussion-based classes go outside quite often when the weather is appropriate. It’s common to see a group of students sitting on benches by the fountain, enjoying weather that would otherwise be lost to them, while discussion religion, history or literature.
I just hope this early spring doesn’t turn into a March full of blizzards!
This was a weekend of fun and games. To start off the weekend, Voth Hall held a dance on their top floor; the Cowboys and Indians Dance. It was different than most dances because it had 3 different dance floors with different types of music. One was a dub-step, another country and the last hip-hop. The three floors made it fun because you could go from floor to floor and have a different taste of things from each floor.
It was also fun because everyone was able to dress up. I was an Indian and many of my friends were split between cowboys and indians. (The pictures below do not portray this fact but trust me they were there.)
Right as I was just starting to get used to my second semester schedule, a flurry of very important distractions began. There is an opera, The Tender Land, being performed on campus next weekend, the spring sports season has begun, and the KMEA convention is going on right now in Wichita.
KMEA, the Kansas Music Educators Association, is an organization that I don’t really know much about except for the fact that it’s on organization of music teachers and they host a convention every year. The convention has all sorts of exhibits and talks for members to attend, but the most public parts of the convention are the honor groups and the performances by Kansas groups. The honor groups are select groups of high school and middle school orchestra, choir, wind ensemble and jazz band students who spend the day with a clinician and then perform what they learned. There are also performances throughout the day from school groups across Kansas.
Second semester has started off well. I have probably my heaviest academic load so far, but it is exciting at the same time. Sophomore year is the year that your major really kicks off. Up until around your second semester you are all about general education credits.
So this semester I have buckled down and am taking all credits that will go towards my degree. I am taking Gender, Class, Race and Media, Living in Performance, Ethics in Sports, Photography and Yearbook Production. All of which go to my Communication Arts Major or my arts minor.
It is my hardest load because they are all reading and writing. Depending on your major, that is pretty much what it consists of. It’s exciting because it is actually things that I have an interest in. But it also make me busy, busy, busy.
Last Monday was my very first full-class lesson. My supervising teacher thought since Art is a once-a-week lesson it would be a good subject for me to take over. Immediately I thought about the lessons I had planned for my Bethel class (Teaching the Expressive Arts). Unfortunately not one of them fit into a 2nd grade lesson—rats!
Back to square one. What could we do that would be fun, an art concept I know something about, and would look good as I’m observed… I tossed around a couple ideas with my mom, but kept coming back to a t-shirt I had when I was in kindergarten. At church we had put our thumbprints (in paint) on a t-shirt, given them arms, legs, eyes and a smile, and then added text that read, “I’m thumb-body special”. I thought, why not do something with thumbprint art?
I have survived and thrived during my first full week of student teaching. This semester I’m lucky enough to be student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom in my home school district. I moved home so my daily commute is only 9 minutes one way as opposed to 40 minutes from campus. My supervising teacher was actually my older bother’s 3rd grade teaching, so she’s been teaching elementary students for several decades, and she has an awesome way of working with and relating to students.
My first day was Tuesday, January 31. I was glad it was a short week, and I was really nervous starting out. Thankfully I had the opportunity to start the school year with my students back in August so I knew something about the general schedule, and at that time knew most everyone’s names. But here it was five months later and I had only been back in the classroom for one day around Christmas time. How would the students react to having another adult in the classroom full-time? Would they respect me? Would they like me? Would they accept my direction and correction? Will I be able to plan lessons? Will I get along with my supervising teacher? How will the parents react to me at parent/teacher conferences later this week? How will I fit into the 2nd grade team? And mainly, how will I fit into this established classroom and school in general?
Hopefully over the course of the next few months I’ll answer all these questions for you, and let you know what it’s like to prepare to impact children, to love them, and to inspire them to become lifelong learners. Join me in the crazy adventure of student teaching. I know it will be a semester of challenges and great rewards. If you’re interested in teaching someday, or just in learning more about the world of education, I hope my posts will only inspire you to learn more.
Interterm has finished up, the break between Interterm and second semester was, as usual, unsatisfyingly short, and our new classes have been in session for about a week. As previously mentioned, I was in BIFL for Interterm. It was really an enjoyable experience. For Interterm break, I visited by boyfriend Ben in San Francisco, where he is doing Voluntary Service with an organization that houses homeless people. We walked all over San Francisco, up and down hills, across the Golden Gate Bridge, across the Pacific beach, and through many of the distinctive neighborhoods in the city. It was a really wonderful time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
This semester should be pretty easy for me. It’s my last one, so I hope to be able to make the most of it. I’m in Computers in the Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology, three seminar classes, and Mennonite Life, History, and Thought. The Mennonite class looks like it will be the most interesting by far. I grew up in the traditions of the Mennonite faith, but I’m really glad to have the opportunity to explore them more thoroughly in the upcoming weeks. I also plan to present my senior seminar project this semester, which means that I need to start writing it soon! But all in all, it looks like this final stretch will be pretty pleasant and hopefully free of as much stress as possible.
Interterm finished last Thursday. Interterm is the month of January in which we take one class for 2.5 to 3 hours everyday. I took Intro to Biblical Studies which is a required course at Bethel. In this course we went through the bible and studied each book slightly in-depth. We were required to know the order of all the books and went through all of the books during our discussions talking about their main stories, genres and inner lying message. Interterm ended well. The class was slightly demanding but it was enjoyable and helps you find out more about your faith and beliefs. It was really interesting because I noticed things about myself and the bible that I had never really thought about before.
Now that interterm is over, Spring semester started yesterday. I will be a little busy, but am excited for what it is to bring. I am involved in my normal newspaper, basketball and classes. I am taking yearbook this semester which is something new for me. I am also taking photography and a lot of Communication classes.Track season is about to start which is exciting. The weather right now is wonderful. Although we hear that there will be a cold front coming this weekend.