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Showing posts from October, 2009

Some Dreams Do Come True

I think that when we are younger, almost everyone has a dream of becoming famous. You want to in a band that makes it big, a professional athlete or an actor. But, most of those dreams fade away as we begin to understand how hard it is to do that and how much work it really takes.

But some people know what they want and they go after it. A guy that I graduated from high school with knew that he wanted to be a music artist. I sang in our schools version of show choir with him and was even his dance partner for a few numbers. He went down to Nashville right after high school, and now, ten years later, Tyler James' first full length album is coming out. You can check out his website and hear the whole album on-line for the next few weeks.

I like his style quite a bit and today at school, I played at least one song for all of my classes. Maybe I can help foster quite a Tyler James following here in Southwest Minnesota.

Should I Be Worried?

We got word this week. No seasonal flu shot clinic for the teaching staff. So much effort is going into the H1N1 vaccine that they are not making enough seasonal flu vaccine. So, no flu vaccine of any kind for us yet. Thankfully, our school has stayed rather healthy so far. I hope that it stays that way.

Tractors

It was nice to see tractors on the road this evening, hauling loads of grain to the elevator. We have now had just about 3 days of dry weather. The sun peeked its head out for a while yesterday afternoon and may an almost full day appearance today. The puddles are mostly dried up and I think the farmer are ready to take advantage of any chance they get.

Today was certainly a Monday. Not a bad day at school, but just a couple class periods at the end of the day that just made me a little grumpy.

It probably doesn't help that I am really, really looking forward to this weekend. Our church does a "Craft and Chat" weekend about every other month or so and I have always wanted to go. Every time they have had one I have either been unable to go, or I have had nothing to do. But, this time I saved my pictures to scrapbook for the weekend and I also have my supplies for our Christmas cards too. So I am going and I am so excited. It is held Friday from 1pm until really late and the…

A Perspective

I have already mentioned my "Word of the Day" screen saver that I have on my laptop that is hooked up to the projector in my room. I am learning that the words go in cycles a bit, so the same word will pop up in several classes during the day.

Today's popular word was "entitlement." A fantastic word to share with teenagers who often think they are entitled to a whole lot of stuff. In fact, we as humans often think we are entitled to a whole lot of stuff when really we are fallen people who deserve nothing but death. We so often miss how wonderful and blessed our life really is and we get caught up on the little things.

This video sort of puts that in perspective in a rather humorous way. I am by no means promoting this comedian, but if you take what he says to heart, it is so true. We live in an amazing world, created by an amazing God. We really should be happy with the blessing we have been given.

First Time

There is a first time for a lot of things.

Today I raked the leaves on my lawn for the first time as a home owner.

Yes, we have been living here for four years. You see, in the midwest there is this crazy thing called wind that blows almost all of the time. It blows hard. If you drop a paper, it is in Wisconsin in a matter of minutes. So for the last three years, our leave never stayed put on our lawn. They probably ended up in Lake Michigan.

But this fall, the leaves fell off most of our trees in one day and then it snowed. Wet leaves do not travel so well. And since today is going to be about the last nice day until July, we raked our leaves.

Dad, you would be proud.

I am Not That Old

I think that my student forget how young I actually am compared to their other teachers. They must assume that since I have been teaching "forever" that means that I am old since all of their previous teachers have been old too (not really, but I am assuming that is what they think).

Case in point. For some reason, one of my students asked the other day what my favorite song was. That is a rather impossible question for me, so he said to pick a favorite. I went with "Twist in My Story" by Secondhand Serenade, one of favorite artists as of late.

Some girls over heard this conversation and were in shock that I knew and liked Secondhand Serenade. I asked them if that was weird or bad that that I like Secondhand Seranade.

"No," one replied, "I just thought that you only listened to opera or classical music or something."
Students really have no clue that teachers have a life outside of school.

I Crack Myself Up

So for some reason I have been having a lot of fun at school the last few days. I don't really know what came over me. Maybe I am not feeling very stressed or after six years of teaching I am starting to have this gig figured out.

And lately I have been dropping hints like crazy in the majority of my classes about the fact that I like chocolate. It is my dream that some day I will come to school and find my desk showed in chocolate bars. (I told that to one class today and some of them asked when my birthday was. Alas, the curse of having a summer birthday strikes again!) So far, I have gotten one fun size Snickers and that was only because the student got it as a gift and she didn't like Snickers really.

Another thing that I have started lately is with a new screen saver I found on my laptop that is hooked up to my board. It give you a "Word of the Day" and tells you the meaning and usage. If that wasn't made specifically for English teachers, then I don't kno…

For My Sister in California

Just so you don't forget about what you are missing now that you are living in California.

Heroes

Today our chapel at school was about heroes. What does it mean to be a hero? How do you become a hero? Who really is a hero?

Chapel concluded with a look at Hebrews 11 and the heroes of faith listed there. Students then got a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote about their hero they would add to the list. Each student then gave their piece of paper to their living group teacher so that we can discuss it in our next living group.

Reading through my students' responses, I was struck by how each and every person listed a family member. All of them said a parent, grand parent or sibling. I must say I found this comforting and encourage. Family still means something to my students and they are able to see the faith that their parents and other family members have.

And I agree with them. Thanks Mom and Dad, grandparents and siblings for being heroes of faith for me.

Maybe I Need to Hold My Excitement in a Little More

At the teacher's convention, I went to a few sectionals on technology, which really got me fired up to use even more as I teach. Since I have my new interactive projection system, I feel like it is pretty easy for me to do. Also, doing stuff like blogging and other things on the computer help to feel a bit more confident in trying stuff. I know that some of the other teachers at the sectionals were feeling a bit overwhelmed.

One of the things that I had to have in order for my interactive projection system to work was a laptop. The only computer in my room is the one on my desk, which really is not all that helpful or useful since it is at the back of my room and the board is at the front. So finally last week my laptop came, so I was eager to use it. I had been using our old laptop, but since it is not hooked up to the schools network, I had to ferry everything with my flash drive and run a long cord back to my desk to get internet access. The laptop has wireless network and inter…

What Makes a Christian School Different

So teaching in a Christian school, I have quickly learned that my students know there is something different about their education. However, I think they have a hard time putting their finger on it. They forget sometimes that they are learning the same stuff as everyone else, but just with a different perspective, through different glasses to put it sort of like John Calvin.

In my senior English class, we just finished up Beowulf, a fairly standard text in a British Literature survey course, which is what most senior get in a literature class this year. We of course looked at the Biblical themes found in Beowulf and if Beowulf is a Christ figure and stuff like that. The kids handled it all well.

Then, one day, one of my students says with great amazement in her voice, "Mrs. Talen, my friends that go to the public school just finished reading Beowulf too." It is apparent that she cannot believe her public school friends read the same thing that she did.

"Yes," I reply,…

Teacher's Convention 2009

It was the annual teacher's convention this week and it was great. I alway find this time so refreshing. After the first month of school, it is nice to have a break and get a bit re energized for the rest of school year.
This year Ken Medema was the keynote speaker. Wilbert had been asked to lead worship for the convention this year, so we got to lead worship with Ken Medema. It was amazing! I was blown away by his gift of music and how many songs he must have filed away in his head. God is using him in amazing ways.
I think that I will write more about things that I learned and took away from the convention later. It made me excited for school on Monday.
Oh, and we turned the heat on. Fall came with a rainy vengeance this week.