Sunday, September 25, 2011

The last week of September

Last week's typhoon was more or less the death knell of summer in Japan. Since then, the temperatures have cooled and the humidity has vanished.

As I sit out in the plaza this morning, it is 64˚F/18˚C. This is a perfect temperature to sit outside, gather my thoughts, write and enjoy some coffee. The beauty of a day like today is the choice--either iced or hot coffee are fine on a day like today. I went with a hot Marron glacĂ© latte. Good choice, as it turns out! Tully's has some unusual flavors, but I'm okay with that. I tend to be very much a creature of habit at a place like Starbucks where I can stick to my tried and true trifecta of Vanilla Latte, White Mocha or Caramel Frappe. The unusual and constantly rotating menu at Tully's forces me to occasionally branch out and try new things... something I need.

I'm thankful for these moments of rest and peace throughout the school week, especially as the stress level picks up. In fact, I had a strange realization on Sunday afternoon that for the first time this school year, I was stressed out. I'm surprised by this, actually--usually I get stressed out a lot earlier in the year.

Anyway, these are the things that I am praying about this week, and for any who read this I covet your prayers too:

1. Wilderness Camp (four day/three night hike in the woods with the Juniors)! I'm starting to get more excited than stressed for this (just found out my group this morning, and it's a great group). Nonetheless, it's not a picnic. It's four days of hiking, possibly in the rain, and sleeping outside (under shelters if we're lucky). It's fun, but it's not relaxing fun.

Actually the reason I'm mostly stressed about wilderness camp is the fact that it represents a milestone of sorts in the school year. As a teacher, I need to try and finish up the current units I'm teaching before wilderness camp, since that represents basically a week away from school if you include the three-day weekend that follows the return from the hike. As I thought about what it might take to finish my current units in the Junior class, I realized--I'm several weeks behind where I was last year.

Now, I added a lot to the first few units, and so I knew it would take a lot longer to get through. Still, it stresses me out to know that I've fundamentally changed the timing of my year from what I'm familiar with. It shouldn't stress me out, but it does. I try to be a teacher who focuses more on uncoverage than coverage--on understanding, no matter how long it takes to get there than getting through a set amount of content... but old habits die hard.

2. Grading: I spent the first few weeks of the year doing intensive prep for the first few units (all of which were mostly new to me). I got grading done when and where I could, but I've still got a decent amount that I need to do. Wanting to do this before Wilderness Camp is a solid goal. It also stresses me out a little.

3. Recommendation letters: I should've expected this and planned better for it--somehow I had it in my head that I'd magically have lots of time during the year to write recommendation letters even while school was in full swing. That's simply not been the case. It seems like another student asks me to write a recommendation for them each week. I'm more than happy to do so, but it will mean readjusting my schedule to make that happen. I may have to take a sabbatical from daily blogging for a while :P I'll still be writing, I just won't be able to post what I write publicly.

4. Health: I've been tired a lot lately and sort of not feeling well in general. Not sick, but not genki. It's frustrating and very tough to be diligent when this is the case.

I need to turn all of this over to God and then just do my best. It's so much easier to say that, to write that in the blogosphere than to actually do it. Anyway, if you happen to read this, please pray for me. And, if you have any prayer requests yourself, feel free to drop them in the comment section or email me. I have a tendency to get self-absorbed sometimes and think that I'm the only one in the world who is stressed and it's always best if I remember to pray for those around me.

Thanks and I hope that all who read this have a great week!
God bless--

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