Friday, September 21, 2012

One month of school

It feels like so much longer but the kids started on August 20th.  One month ago.   It's been emotionally rough because I have so many children.  By Tuesday #23 and #24 will have started.  I don't know when it became acceptable to have such large class sizes.  The PTB want to cap my classes at 16 each.  That's 32 little preschool peoples to work with total.  16 kids/day in a special ed. class of any kind is too many!

Well, it is what it is.  I've written a letter of protest and made a chart to show why I can't meet the needs of 16/day and 32 total.   In my opinion we're treading on thin ice with meeting our legal obligations but district is at fault, not me.  It is what it is. 

On the good side of work-my kids are fabulous!  The kids in the four year old class play so well together.  We worked so hard last year to create a peaceful classroom and it's showing this year.  The three year olds are starting, just starting, to play with each other for little bits of time.  Mostly it's just sharing the same materials while playing which is perfectly developmentally appropriate. 

This crop of kids is also showing how imaginative they can be.  Wednesday I knocked a basket of crayons off of my table.  The boy I was working with says to me, "I get 'em for you.  You not helping me."  He proceeded to pretend that he was snorkling, diving under the table to get to the crayons.  He'd pick up 3 or 4 and then come up for air and dive back down again.   When he was all finished he exclaimed, "Whew, no sharks." 

This little guy and a half dozen others are on their way out of my program this fall.  It's sad to turn things over to someone else but exciting that they don't need us anymore. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recent reading

I just finished Dr. Luke's Assistant by David A. Todd this week.   It's a fictionalized account of how the book of Luke might have come to be written from the perspective of Luke's assistant Augustus.

The story chronicles 3 years of time about 30 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.  Augustus is a Jew but from a family that has embraced Roman ways.  His journey of faith, as well as the triumphs and trials of research and writing during that time period kept my interest throughout the book.   Luke and Augustus traveled and researched as much of Jesus' life as they could starting in Bethlehem and interviewing people who would have been alive and witnessed the events of Jesus' life.

It was interesting to read how early Christians and Christian congregations didn't have the gospels of Mark and Matthew unless someone knew someone with a copy and then not unless they could find someone who could read and write accurately and knew how to check for errors in copying.  This was exactly Augustus' work and why Luke hired him.  (in the story)

This was a very enjoyable read.

Earlier this summer I read Rumors of Eden by Kathy Frias.  It is set 2 generations/300 years post Old Testament Flood. (remember how long lives still were)  Culture varies between tribal and cities with city-Kings.  The protagonist, a young Madai, suffers the loss of his wife and experiences a crisis of faith.  Does God exist and where can I find him?  What witness or proof of God's existence can I bring back with me to share with my family and my son?

He decides to take a journey to find an "old one", a person who might have been alive in the time of Noah and who can remember and give him guidance.   The journey is arduous and along the way he crosses a great ocean, dodges evil practicing unbelievers, escapes a corrupt city-state and in the process meets a wise traveling companion.  His journey has him meeting Job and Job's family in prosperity and later witnessing Job's faith in misfortune.  He meets faithful and doubting believers from across the world who are also on seeking journeys.  He and his companions are captured by the warriors of another city-state and eventually escape helped by the Shemites (son of Noah).

Then Madai and his companion get to meet Shem and his father Noah who becomes Madai's "old one" and witnesses to the truth and presence of God in each person's daily walk of faith.  As part of this tutelage they are taken to the Ark, which still rests on Ararat.

Madai learns interesting and special lessons about God, about the peoples of the world, and about himself by taking the journey and through his companions and those they meet.  His journey through doubt and who impacts his thinking and faith was one of the threads of the story that kept me interested.

It's a long book that can feel tedious but just when I was getting a little frustrated with the story it would shift into action mode and pique my interest again. 

While I would recommend Dr. Luke's Assistant to any reader I hesitate to do the same with Rumors of Eden.   You need to be a patient reader or be the type of reader who can pick up and put down a story for a while and then come back to it.  I think it's very much worth the read for the lessons of Madai and for a glimpse of how the world might have been 300 years after the flood.  The author doesn't stint on setting or in letting us feel what the characters feel.  I loved the wonder and awe of meeting Shem and Noah.

I will certainly watch for other books by both of these authors. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two weeks!

I can hardly believe that two weeks of school have gone by.  Some days it feels as if we never stopped in May.  I have 18 returnees of 21 kids.    Other days I blink and the day or week is over. 

It's going well.   I anticipate too many kids again.  District is working on a plan but I don't know if we'll find another teacher.

In spite of too many kids I do so love my job!