Monday, April 30, 2012

i'm not a momma, but i sure love my kids

This post is mainly a reminder to myself—I think everyone is more than ready for school to get out for the summer, and I've sensed it in myself more this year than ever before. At times, I hear my tone of voice when speaking to a student and inwardly cringe. So this look back at the kids I love will hopefully help me remember again why I do what I do!

I know I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again: The reason I continue to work at NC, year after year, is because I've fallen in love ... with a bunch of Asian kids. I distinctly remember the first time I realized just how much I cared about these kids who came from across the globe to learn English. It was in the spring of my second year working full time at NC. I was walking across the lawn from my office in the boys' dorm to the administration building. I don't know what exactly was on my mind, but suddenly the realization that I loved "my" internationals hit me like a ton of bricks. I even teared up, which is unusual for me. In all the years since that day, as students come and go, there's always a special place in my heart for our international students.

Here are a few of this year's special students:

Part of my Reading II class with The Light Across the River, our first book of the year. It's the sequel to Across the Wide River, which I reviewed for Kregel last summer. I have so much fun with this class! Left to right: Hannah, Mia, Rae, Natalie, Kyle. Poor Kyle was the only boy in the class for the first semester!

One of the advantages of being assistant speech coach this year (as opposed to head coach, which I was for the previous seven years) was that I had more time to work with the international students on the team. This was a good thing, as we had 30 kids on the team, and 10 of them were internationals! I can't help but admire the students who will go out for speech—daunting for any student—when they'll be speaking in a language they're just learning! One of my favorite moments of the speech season was when Yena (front row, center, red dress and black shoes) won serious prose at our conference meet. I was so proud! Above are the junior and senior speech team members at Honor, the spring formal.

Some of my favorite times of the year are when the kids need to find homestays (American families to stay with over breaks). I love opening my home to one or two girls. This Easter, I had two girls stay with me: Mina and Lindsey. We had so much fun together, and we talked about some serious stuff, too. Here we are at the Advance Dessert the week after Easter: Mina, me, Lindsey.

These aren't the only students special to me. I could talk about Janet, a girl I'd been praying for ever since I met her, who called me one Saturday morning with exciting news: "Miss Becky, you'll never believe it, but I am a Christian now!" Or Joey, the boy who fell in love with speech and qualified for state each of his three years on the team. Or Elaine, the girl who learned she really could get good grades and who went from F's to B's in my class in less than a semester. Or Wai, or Jay, or Ency, or any of the other 35 international students we have this year. 

They have my heart.

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