I tend to be an optimist and believe that together - with the strength of God and others - we can work through many of life’s challenges. One or our staff recently reminded me that it’s also important to recognize our losses and why we are feeling sad and disoriented in times of life change. For many of us in the current COVID-19 situation, we are missing and aching for ‘normal’ and for others and - our families, our colleagues, our sports teams, our friends. We want stability and security. We acknowledge the weight of our pain and suffering before God, and in the midst of it all, acknowledge the God above it all. When it feels like the world is unreliable, we can remember God never leaves us. He is our salvation in every moment.
Our angst is real. So, also, is God’s strength, the refuge He offers us, and the salvation we have in Him. We will encounter trials. Jesus tells his disciples to expect them. When we face difficult times, how do we hold on to hope? King David knew a few things about suffering. As we read David’s Psalms, we see him fighting for hope. He struggled through threats to his life, country and his leadership, family brokenness, betrayal, the death of a child, and much more over the course of his life. In his writing in the Psalms, we see his incredible strength and an example of how to cling to hope in hard times. Psalms offer an example of fighting through emotional and spiritual difficulty and will help you look to God for hope in hard times.
Even in our greatest struggles, we can know that God is walking through it with us. (adapted from crosswalk.com)
Bible reading this week: Psalm 71
If anyone is interested in this Bible study about hope through hard times, here is a link: https://www.crosswalk.com/
A time for... Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 3.
If you are like me, you sometimes hear yourself saying, “When this or that happens, then I will . . . or, If only so and so would do this, then …. " In longing for some future good or longing for the good old days (of teacher strikes and railroad blockades :) we sometimes forget that every day — regardless of the weather or our circumstances or pandemics or finances or mood or health — is a gift from God to be used for His glory. According to author Ron Ash, “We are where we need to be and learning what we need to learn. Stay the course because the things we experience today will lead us to where He needs us to be tomorrow.”
In every season, there is a reason to rejoice and an opportunity to do good (Eccl. 3:12). The challenge for each of us every day is to find something to rejoice about and some good to do—and then to do both. (adapted from OurDailyBread.org)
Looking for spring: I was looking for signs of spring and look what I found (look at the very bottom of the photo)! Do you know where this is? Be specific - which window?
Blessings for your week, Mrs Verbeek.
The other day when I came home from school my daughter requested a signature on her math test. You see, I had been working with her a lot on her math this year, and so when it comes to math she asks her dad. She had scored a lot of 88% or higher, but this one test stuck out; it was in the 60’s. How was I to react? I looked over that four page test, and though she did great on three pages, she hadn’t done well on one page. Upon closer inspection I realized that she actually knew the concepts, but I didn’t particularly like how the one page was graded by the teacher; you see my daughter received a 30% when I knew that she showed that she understood it, but made a few mistakes. I so wanted to call up the teacher and ask the teacher to reassess that page, but I didn’t because I recognized that in the great scheme of things it doesn’t matter. My daughter is not defined by one poor test.
This week report cards and map test results go home. Reports are one way to communicate how each child is doing at school. Wouldn’t it be great if students received all 100% or Advanced, and level 4 for every subject area and criterias, but then we wouldn’t be telling the truth, would we (assuming that no one has received a perfect report card)? Or wouldn’t it be great (as a teacher) if we didn’t have to give out any marks, and just encourage students to do excellent work, but that is not how our current education system is set up.
In Max Lucado’s book, “You Are Special”, the main character Punchinello was living life in his town trying to receive stars for doing well, rather than dots for not being particularly talented at anything. He just didn’t feel good about receiving all the dots that he received, and pretty much stayed home to prevent himself from receiving any more dots. That changed when he noticed that someone didn’t have any stars or dots and wanted to be like her, a character named Lucia. She pointed him in the direction of his Maker who said, “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”
That is exactly how it is with our children. We value them for who they are, created by God, and not for what they have done academic wise. As teachers we strive to have all our students do well, and to reach all students where they are at, but at the end of the day we remember that students like ourselves are God’s created beings. In fact, we are loved by God unconditionally, and so valued that he sent Jesus into the world. Praise God that he values all His children! Have a great March Break!
WCS Quiet Time
Consider the energy and intensity that often accompany the middle of the school day. Lunch and recess provide students with opportunities to run, play, eat, and socialize. Teachers often see this energy spilling over into the classroom as students reenter for the learning block that follows. Students come into the school, laughing and talking loudly; sometimes they return upset about something that happened in the playground or on the soccer field. The energy can be overwhelming for both teachers and students. So how to transition from high energy time to work time?
One of the Responsive Classroom strategies that we have implemented school-wide at WCS is Quiet Time. Just 10 to 15 minutes to read, write, draw, work on a puzzle, or do some other quiet work can help students take a physical, mental, and emotional breather so they are more ready to engage in learning in the afternoon. If you were to visit WCS following morning break, you'd hear quiet music, you'd see classrooms with lights dimmed, students drawing, reading, or just sitting quietly. Students learn to 're-set' from active body mode to a calmer, more focussed mode. Many teachers say they can't imagine school without quiet time. Some teachers even say they save time, because many disputes and worries that spill into the room after lunch often dissipate as students relax into quiet time. Quiet time offers an opportunity for students to transition back into the classroom in a purposeful and relaxed way so they are more ready for an afternoon of learning. (Sources: wcs practices & responsiveclassroom.org)
C. Verbeek, Principal