growth

364 days later

My last blog post was July 5, 2016, shortly before Brexit passed and months before Donald J. Trump became the President of the United States. What silly times we live in. As I look back on this blog, my growth, the time passed, and the change in environments I have experienced, I sense a profound sense of closure in a significant chapter of my life: my early 20’s.

When I began this blog, I envisioned a different direction for the blog to follow. One where fizzle-out-and-die would not be the end game for my biographical journey through Taiwan. However, my life took a pretty extreme turn for the worse and the better about two years ago. It has been nearly two years since I moved to Washington, D.C., and while my heart aches for Kaohsiung and Taiwan often, I’ve learned to love this new, adoptive home. In doing so, I have learned to let go of the past and accept present circumstances and the opportunities the future holds.

“Blank Goes Here” was a title given to a part of my life where self-determination was not the prevailing theme. As I reflect, the name was apt for the way I was living my life not too long ago. I had allowed myself to experience new things and be shaped by them; however, now, I feel like I have outgrown the brand, so to speak. I am no longer a blank waiting to be filled or defined by external forces. I have experienced, lived, enjoyed, and suffered enough to know that now I want to determine my own circumstances rather than allow my circumstances alone to shape me.

In one month, I will begin my life as a part-time student, pursuing my MBA in a city and school I have grown to love.  I am allowing myself to finally be the artist and not the canvas; to be the writer and not the page. It’s exciting and new and it feels empowering.

So with that, I close out this blog (for now). I’ll leave it open as a living document and testament to an amazing and formative part of my life, but it is a piece of me firmly in the past now. In the spirit of growth and rebirth and “see ya laters” rather than “good-byes” let me reintroduce myself. Hi, my name is Fay and I can’t wait to tell you who I’ve become.

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Surviving the Fourth Grade

I don’t know what it is, but maybe the fourth grade is the sweet spot of human development where kids are carefree, fun, and trusting of adults, but not rude and hormonal like teenagers. I’ve spoken about my fourth grade classes at both of my schools before, and I know it’s usually nothing but horror stories, but this time it’s different.

As November wears on, I’m noticing a change in both classes. My co-teachers and I tried a variety of classroom management tactics (assigning jobs and roles, diversified class assignments, etc.) to get our kids to behave well. Rather than turn our kids into silent, docile creatures (like we hoped), we have given our students so many things to focus on about class that their brains have fewer distractions. What is left behind after the distractions are gone are students’ natural willingness to learn.

And dang, these kids are smart! On Wednesday, we breezed through the 40 minute lesson and ended on time. Everyone knew all the answers, kids were answering quickly, they were excited to ask questions. Even the girl in the back of the room who never speaks was silently doing the specialized classwork I had assigned her, AND SHE WAS GETTING THE ANSWERS RIGHT. :O

I’ve spent the last four months ready to give up on these two fourth grade classes at the end of every week. I’m glad I didn’t because it is amazing how much they have learned/been learning this whole time. When class wrapped up on Wednesday, I was left with a strange feeling. Pride? Joy? Hope? Accomplishment? None of the above. For the first time in months I felt the absence of stress. I don’t even know what to think other than I’m going to run with this for as long as I can.

Some photos of my fourth graders at Ximen Elementary School being adorable:

Teamwork

Using the power of teamwork to help the shortest kid in class score a point.

Swoosh

Swoosh

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