Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lessons from Thirty 13-Year-Olds

Today marks my first day of being done with my summer job.  I immediately feel a little sad, and, if I'm honest, a little relieved.  The learning curve has been high.  I have never worked with students that were so poorly behaved.  But, I mean, what was I expecting?  Sunshine and daisies?

These are middle schoolers--in my opinion one of the toughest age-groups to work with.  These are kids from the inner-city.  They bring tough backgrounds and a set of behaviors that they've learned for survival.  This is summer time.  Even the brightest, most zealous student most likely doesn't want to do school during their summer vacation.

I made mistakes.  They tested my patience.  In the end though, I think we both learned a lot this summer.  Here are a few lessons that I learned from the thirty thirteen-year-olds I spent the summer with:

Don't sweat the small stuff.
Kids need to get up and move.
Kids' attention span doesn't last much longer than 30 minutes.
Don't take things personally.
No matter what I do, all of my students are never going to be completely happy.  I'm always going to be met with some complaints and hesitation.
Be more intentional with setting up rules and procedures from the get-go.
Be.  More.  Patient.  (help please, Holy Spirit!)
Teens struggle with identity, and finding personal value in Christ can be huge for this age-group.
Give them choices in order to get buy-in.
Anytime you can incorporate food, do it.
Teenagers are hilarious!

It was rough, but I truly love each one of my students and am grateful that, for better or for worse, we got to spend the summer learning together.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nice Rack!

Of elk antlers, that is.  I'm really bad at this taking "before" photos thing.  But here is the "after" of my latest project.  Last winter I went hunting with Philip and his dad and uncle.  I know, what was I thinking?  Well I try to support Phil's interests and they tend to somehow always involve peeing outside.  Phil and I were walking around the woods in the snow wearing camo and hunter orange, when I saw it.  Was it a stick?  A tree? An oddly shaped serpent?  Nope.  It was this giant elk horn shed.  I ended up being the only one on the trip to bring something home for our troubles.

Inspired by Pinterest, of course, I decided to give this guy a fresh coat of paint.  I just used leftover paint from other projects and a little masking tape.  Since I found the shed, that makes this an almost FREE project!  Free is my favorite number.  Admittedly, I did spend about 8 bucks on some Miniwax Polyvore Protective Coating. This was mostly because the antler still smelled a little funky.  I sealed whatever weird dead animal smells were coming from it under three layers of finish.  Right now she holds necklaces in our bedroom.  I think hats, or coats could also be happily stored here. Ain't she a beaut!

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