Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wrapping Up A Successful Semester

I've been back to retirement mode for about two weeks now.  Retirement has a way of luring one into thinking that there is always tomorrow that can be used for all the things that don't get done today.  With that being said, perhaps you will understand why I am just now posting some of the final activities that I had with my students from the international program at our local University.The semester literally seemed to fly by.  Here are some highlights for our time together since Spring Break:

  • We said good-bye to my dear friend Dixie who substituted for the regular instructor for Level Two students with a party and a presentation of the life maps we made in class.
Colorful Life Maps

Dixie surrounded by her students
  • We never pass up an opportunity for a photo op

Some of the girls

A couple of the guys
  • I gave an end of the semester brunch at my house
Our faithful volunteer tutors
Walter and Alda

We are so grateful for this couple who graciously have given so much time to the program for years.  We really appreciate them, their help, and their great personalities.

A fine young man 
Part of the joy of working in the program is getting to know youth from many countries.  I keenly feel a great responsibility toward these students whose parents give them the opportunity to study in another country when they are so young.  This student proved himself to be worthy of that trust by working very hard and making incredible progress.

Another fine student
I can't imagine what it must have been like for our Japanese student when he learned of the earthquake in his country this semester.  He was the picture of great perseverance as he continued to work hard while knowing that his country was in a time of great distress.  It was rewarding to see how the class came together with concern and support during the time of crisis in Japan.

Eating together

The light is not great in these photos, but you get to see the great time of friendship that we all enjoyed.

My guests brought flowers and other gifts
to grace the table
 I love the faces on these beautiful cats that were graciously given as a gift to the hostess.  Thank you so much for the gifts that you brought!
Two darling cats

  • We gathered one last time as a class the day before the final.  Everyone was nervous about taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) the next day.  We all were also very sad as some of us tearfully said good-bye to each other.  Those of us there, gathered for one last photo together.  Sadly, one important class member was not there that day.
My students and I
Spring Semester 2011
I don't know that I will ever be able to properly express how much I have appreciated the students I worked with this past semester.  They, all five of them, were some of the finest people I have ever met.  Working with them helped me to heal from the greatest loss of my life.  Two of the students were born the same year as my daughter.  For some reason, I found this especially healing to see them progress in the life goals they have set for themselves.  

Someone gave me this card a number of years ago.  I have kept it on my desk all these years.  Someone else gave me memento that says, "A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart."  At the center of teaching is heart.  As a teacher, I have learned it is the teacher's heart that is most moved, most touched, and most enlarged.  I have always loved being a teacher.  It is a profession that have given more than I have ever given it.  This year teaching truly helped to heal my broken heart.  

Some of our wonderful international students
Students gather in the International Office
to celebrate graduation

I've taught ESL (English as a Second Language) to high school students, middle school students, and elementary students.  Each group brings its own special joys and challenges.  Now, I am hooked on teaching college age international students.  It is special to go to the office and see so many nationalities speaking so many languages everyday.  The experience has broadened my heart, my world, and my circle of friends.  


Lynilu said...

It's good to be involved in something so awesome. Aren't you glad you can walk away with those memories?

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Sally, Looks like you had a fabulous class and semester. You obviously are a fabulous teacher. Are you going to do it again?

My hubby taught English to students in a high school in China several different semesters. He loved it so much that he went to China and taught an entire year there.

Thanks for sharing. I can feel your JOY for teaching. We need more teachers like YOU.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a blessing for you to have such a wonderful way to heal and to help! Loved the pictures -- and hearing about your joy in teaching!

Beth said...

The photos are wonderful Sally. Precious memories for you and for your students. You are such a caring person. Bless you.

DJan said...

What a wonderful post about some really exceptional people. You have all benefited from your interactions, and it shows. Thank you so much for sharing your students with me!

Joanne said...

There is something about all your posts. and today I realized what it is. It's hope. Always there is hope in your posts. even the ones that are heartbreaking. I come away from your blog with that feeling of hope and thankfulness. What a gift you are to your students! and to us that read your blog. Thank you! Blessings, Joanne

Mare said...

The honesty in your posts is compelling, and I am sure you help people without even knowing it. God bless you.

Grandmother said...

International living or working has a way of broadening the heart. What a good thing you did for these fine young people. You have truly changed their lives for the better. Good for you for reaching out instead of turning in.

Bossy Betty said...

What a wonderful post that sums up the joy and fulfillment teaching can bring!

Maggie May said...

I see that you are retiring too! It is with mixed emotions, isn't it?
Lovely to keep a record of the things you did with the students.
I like your description of putting things off till later when you retire.... I do this already!
Hope you enjoy your extra time.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Fresh Garden said...

Absolutely wonderful!
You're the best!!

Olga said...

First off, congratulations on your Second retirement. Enjoy some time off. I'm thinking you might be doing some more teaching before your absolute final retirement. I know it is a delicate balancing act--giving up work you love.

Terry said...

Although you feel blessed to have taught these young people, it also sounds as if they were also very lucky to have you for their teacher. My second sister is a school teacher, and from her I know what a joy (and trial) teaching can be. Enjoy your retirement, I'll be looking forward to your posts!

KleinsteMotte said...

I do believe that you benefitted a great deal. And so did your students. If only all teachers could understand that the teacher has much to gain from the students. It creates the best learning environment because trust is part of the foundation of acceptance.
Your passion for your profession comes across so clearly. Maybe you could tutor an occasional student?

Kay said...

This post left me feeling so uplifted, Sally. You are everything I feel teachers should be. You've given those kids more than knowledge. You've given them lasting memories that will stay with them, sustain them and encourage them through life. You've also given them a view of Americans that will have far-reaching world understanding. You're terrific, Sally!!!

#1Nana said...

I,too, am enjoying retirement mode...that's why I'm just now getting around to reading blogs. Since the end of the world is today, I thought I'd better get my favorites read before the rapture!

I loved seeing the pictures of your students and your house. Now I'm off to write my final blog post, the rapture won't wait for tomorrow.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Sally,

I really enjoyed reading about the people in your class and seeing your lovely home. You are a treasure, and I appreciate all the things that you do for others.

God bless,

Kathy M.

Friko said...

People are always moaning about 'the youth of today', well, you have the true picture, and you have given us an insight into the reality.

I hope you will enjoy many more years as a very appreciative and loving teacher.

Linda Myers said...

I envy you your experience. After a career in IT, I wanted to teach ESL. But when I took a course, I realized I haven't got the skill set to put it together. How fortunate for you to have these oportunities!

Barb said...

A wonderful end-of-year celebration! What you have given has come back to you full-circle.

Terri Tiffany said...

I would LOVE to do this here. What a wonderful opportunity you had! And BTW--LOVE your house! you decorate awesome!

Deb Shucka said...

LIke Terri, I loved seeing your house. It was also incredible to see the joy in these pictures. I'm so glad your time with those kids was healing for you. I know you gave them at least as much as you gained during your time together. You truly have a teacher's heart, Sally.