if at first you don’t succeed…

Downtown Oklahoma City–adorable.  Last weekend Cason and I visited some friends from home, who are now stationed in OK City.  They were the perfect hosts.  They took us to dinner downtown at this place called Texadelphia.  Cute little combo of Mexican and Philly cheese steaks.  Delicious.  Then we played Scattergories together and watched a hilarious Jim Carey movie.  I love traveling, and I really like that living in Texas now gives us opportunities to travel to new places without having to drive really far distances.

I had my first statistics exam on Monday, and I did well.  I’m thankful that I have this class my first semester in grad school because it is the one class where I’ve learned everything before.  Intro to School Psychology is good so far because it has mostly been topics about School Psychology that I researched when looking at different school psych programs.  Though my Psychology of Exceptional Children class is pretty new to me, a lot of it seems to be common sense so far.  There are loads of acronyms that I’ve never seen before, but I’ve learned them pretty quickly.  The biggest aspect of that class so far is that I will serve for 10 hours this semester outside of the classroom.  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to tutor a 13-year old boy with Aspergers.  I’m really eager to get started, and I’m glad that I will be tutoring him in my favorite subject–math.

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Assessment is a completely new class; I never had the opportunity to learn how to administer cognitive abilities assessments.  Why would I have needed to?  Even though the class is new and sometimes difficult, the subject is interesting and necessary.  In order to do my job as a school psychologist well, I have to learn how to administer these assessments.  Today I will be administering my first assessment to another classmate.  After sitting in class for two weeks “learning” how to administer this assessment, I’m just ready to get the show on the road and actually do it!  It’s one thing to listen to someone tell you how to do it, but I have a feeling we will  learn more today by administering the test than we have learned in the past two weeks.  Experience seems to be the primary teacher in this field thus far.

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The theme for the next several years will likely continue to be, “Let’s throw them to the wolves and see how they do.”  The perfectionist in me doesn’t always like this idea.  I am a planner, and I like to have expectations clearly defined before I embark on a large task.  School psychology doesn’t work that way at all.  The only way to learn is to attempt, fail, and try again.  I like to watch others attempt and fail so that I can learn from that instead of making my own mistakes.  Well, that’s not an option here, so I’m still trying to get used to that.  Luckily, our first attempts and failures with administering this assessment are pretty low-risk.  So we make several mistakes in front of our peers–they’re likely to make similar mistakes.  Plus, I understand that they’d rather have us make the big mistakes with our peers and our professors instead of in the school setting.

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On another note, I get to fly home next weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and I am SO excited!  One, I love flying.  Two, I love weddings.  Three, I love Georgia.  Four, I love my family.  (That was in increasing order, if you didn’t notice.)  Needless to say, this is going to be a pretty awesome weekend.  Now I just have to get through five classes, several homework assignments, two quizzes, and one extra test administration & protocol.  Not too bad, right?  Honestly, it could be much worse.  I’m just thankful for three-day weekends and fun events to look forward to!

 

welcome to pre-k

Last Friday I completed my third full week as a Pre-K paraprofessional, and I’m amazed at how quickly I have become attached to these 4-year-olds.  There are still three weeks of school left, but I moved to another room this week.  I have mixed emotions about that because I feel like I have just started bonding with the 20 kids in my first class.

Over the past three weeks, one child, who rarely talked at school started talking to me regularly.  He has started asking for the things he needs and telling me the things he wants.  He still speaks softly, and sometimes I have a hard time understanding him.  However, it is no small accomplishment that he has gone from not talking at all, not even with his peers, to talking intermittently throughout the day.  It absolutely melts my heart when he asks me to come sit by him or asks me if he can pass out the spoons at lunch.

Honestly, that’s what I want to see happen in students.  If God uses me to touch one life out of 20 young ones, then I will feel blessed and greatful beyond measure.  I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to be going back to school in the fall to learn how to help at-risk students.  There have certainly been ups and downs with this new job.  I’m not a super fan of the level of ‘babysitting’ I have to do with Pre-K students, but it has taught me invaluable lessons about these children.  I think people would really be amazed at how much 4-year-olds analyze and feel and manipulate.  Human beings are capable of tremendous achievements, and children at this age are very impressionable.  They are sponges that soak up everything you give them.  I think the greatest fault we could have as educators is to expect too little out of these young minds.  They want structure.  They want to learn and be pushed.  They are capable of more than even they realize.  I’ve been amazed, truly.

This wasn’t quite the lengthy post I had anticipated, but I just wanted to write a little about my new job.  I’m sure the subject will continue to come up as there are two and a half weeks left.  Hopefully I will be back to write more sooner rather than later.

hope deferred

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I got a new email from the human resources department in Beijing today.  Here’s what it had to say:

Although we submitted your applications to SAFEA well over a month ago, they did not start to apply until just a couple of weeks ago. We have to negotiate with them because you are recent graduates and do not have 2 years of work experience. Since our president has had to talk with them about this before, we do not expect it to take as long as last time. We are hopeful to get you here before our March session begins on March 9th, however we cannot guarantee it.

I’ve tried to stay pretty relaxed despite the fact that things are not falling into place quite like I would like them to, but it is becoming more difficult to sit and wait.  I’d be lying at this point if I said I wasn’t frustrated with the fact that the Chinese government is moving slower than I wish they would.  That there is now a potential that I may not be going to China makes me reflect on a lot of things.  I have been thinking a lot about why I wanted to go in the first place and how I would feel about not getting to go at this point.  A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into making this dream a reality and not just on my part.  There are a lot of people who have put in hard work and loads of encouragement to make this trip happen, and I would hate to feel like I am letting them down by not going.  I know that it wouldn’t be my fault and that nothing is set in stone yet.  I’m just doing a lot of thinking, and it would be a huge disappointment on the whole to miss out on this opportunity.

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Over the past couple of years I have come to realize that timing plays a huge factor in how things pan out.  As a result, victory typically goes to the patient ones.  I am not a patient one.  Think about it though.  How often have things fallen through because of the excuse that the timing was off?  It seems there is a fine line between being patient and knowing when to move on.  If the China thing does not pan out by the beginning of March, then I’m afraid that I will have to move on.  Hopefully the timing will work out, but if it doesn’t, then maybe teaching overseas will still be a possibility in the future.

I know I have said that all I can do is pray, so that’s what I’m still trying to focus on.  This is a reminder that the purpose of everything in life is to glorify God and not to satisfy my own desires.  I don’t believe He would have placed this desire on my heart in the first place if something glorifying would not come out of it.  I know that God will continue to do His work over in China regardless of whether I am there or not.  I also know that He will continue to do work in my no matter where I am.  That has also been evident in my life.  So let’s just keep praying for His will to be done and for His name to be glorified above all names.

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Oh, my Nana said I could use the money she saved for my trip to get me a puppy if the trip plans fell through.  So that’s the silver lining.  Here’s a picture of the puppy for smiles: