We are all aware that most living things on our planet need food, water, light, the right temperature, and air to survive. Moreover, they require extensive time and ample space to develop entirely.
One of my former students once passionately shared his dream of becoming a farmer during our morning meeting routine. He even emphasized that he wanted to own the land he would farm. Whenever asked what he wanted to become in the future, he consistently responded: that he wanted to own land he could farm. I was glad to learn that, despite his age, he is highly confident of the dream he wants to achieve in the future and shared with the class the reasons why. It was heart-warming to hear from a student who once struggled to control his emotions in class before, now has made a positive transition with the help of the significant people in his life.
Their home economics and livelihood education class covered gardening during the last quarter of the academic year 2021-2022. As the teacher planned the activity with the students, they expressed considerable interest and showed their eagerness to participate. After weeks of in-depth discussion on the fundamentals of gardening and identifying the necessary tools, it was time to put the lessons learned into practice. The class decided to grow eggplants and agreed that if it produced some fruits several months later, we would have to find a recipe that needed eggplant as its main ingredient.
After ten days of care for each of their pot, the seeds began to sprout. It was a success!
What stood out to me the most as we talked about the lessons they had learned from the gardening activity was that one shared a realization that learning can be enjoyably done both inside and outside the four walls of the classroom.
After six months, my students excitedly shared that the plants were already bearing fruits. They said they had taken good care of their plants during the summer.
For this school year 2022-2023, two of my former students are still my current students, and the other has moved to high school. That means he was already in a different class. Nonetheless, we invited him to participate in the agreed cooking activity, and he gladly accepted.
So, on September 28, 2022, after obtaining permission to hold the activity at the shelter, we decided to cook "Crispy Eggplant Fries" and "Eggplant Burger Steak."
One of the activity's best moments was observing how they accomplished the task, how well they worked together, and how committed they were to their education. I could tell they were delighted to have the eggplants cooked and tasted. The class loved it and expressed interest in giving the recipe to their house parents and designated cook so they could prepare it at home and serve it to the other children. This is an incredibly significant experience for them as kids, and it's great to know that they learn the concept of planting so they may grow their food in the future, whether it's for their consumption or business purposes.
As living things, plants require ample space and time to grow, in addition to sunlight, the right temperature, moisture, air, and nutrients. The same is true with our kids, who face challenges and overwhelming emotions. They deserve not only our love, support, and guidance but also ample time and space for themselves to maximize their full potential and develop the abilities that God has given them.
"When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." – Mark 10:14
Every child is special in the eyes of God. It is amazing to think that God spends so much time making each of us so unique. It's been a month since classes have started. The children were ecstatic to be returning to school. One great thing about CCHS is the ability to adapt to the new normal in teaching the kids. Another great thing about CCHS is that it practices inclusive education, where students with special needs are in the same classroom as mainstream students and they all receive equal learning opportunities.
Two students in partciular have greatly benefited from this inclusive education. This school year, they have joined the other four grade-two learners. We decided to move them up and join an appropriate group based on their age and a group that could greatly help them in achieving their goals and unlocking their God-given potential. Their first day in August 2022 was full of enthusiasm upon coming to school. They were delighted to see the school and were fascinated with the facilities since it was their first time to be back at school after two years of schooling at the shelter (CSC) due to the pandemic.
These two precious kids have shown their talents and skills in different areas. Student A loves to do math activities. He does well in answering some math problems, like joining two groups and counting them all independently. At times, he answers math problems with the help of his classmates and by using some math tools like counters, cubes, and number paths. On the other hand, student B loves to read books. He is able to read decodable books independently and loves to sing upbeat songs.
It is wonderful to see that despite their challenges, they were able to cope up gradually with the assistance of their concerned classmates. At times, it's a big challenge for them to stay focused on their tasks, but I am thankful to God for making those supportive shadow angels (their peers) as an instrument for their success. Their willingness to reach out to their classmates' needs is absolutely amazing. Their success is also possible because of your undying support for our school. Thank you so much for your contributions to this ministry.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (English Standard Version)
Praise the Lord for the first week of school. It is an exciting week for the CCHS family. Teachers and students were waiting for this day to come. We believe God ordained this day to mark a fresh beginning. Here we are opening our new school year while transitioning to our new normal. Upon entering the school we have to wear our face masks, step on our new foot bath, have our temperatures taken then sanitize our hands. Students enter and exit their classroom following the arrows.
We have a new clinic at CCHS! Over the summer we set up our clinic. We are thankful for the efforts done by the team who made this clinic possible. From facilities who built this room initially during lockdown for quarantined employees to our medical staff and the office staff that helped us placed medical equipment and supplies. As mandated by the Department of Education, students, teaching and other personnel are strictly prohibited from eating together while facing one another. Eating shall be done in a manner where all individuals face in one direction and do not talk while their masks are off. CCHS made changes on the setting up the snack room this school year to follow that instruction.
Here are some of the students' comments on being back at CCHS:
Maribel – CCHS is great! I like to borrow books in the library, eat with my classmates in the snack room, and to be with my teachers.
Mias – I am happy to be back at CCHS. I want to learn new things from all the subjects. I like to be with my teacher in the classroom because our classroom is Awesome!
Ryan – I am happy to learn new things and meet teacher Merce. I am excited to be in the library too.
John Mark – I am happy to be at CCHS. I enjoy learning new things. I am excited to be with teacher Alfie, play during Physical Education and play musical instrument.
Ford – I am happy at CCHS because I can write my name, draw a horse, answer in our workbook, eat snack, and drink water. Our classroom has toys and tools and I like it.
As a school, we are looking forward to meaningful and fruitful days ahead. We would like to encourage you to journey with us for school year 2022-2023.
I am an instructional assistant, in which my primary job is to assist the preschool teacher
in handling his class. Here at CCHS, I organize the learning materials, preparing supplies for the lesson plan and straightening up the classroom, helping the preschool teacher in managing the class and supporting him in planning and presenting lessons. To be one is such a great privilege. With those devoirs, I am also given a wonderful and special task – handling 7 adorable and endearing toddlers (ages 2-3). I've been teaching these little ones since November 2021 up until now.
I've wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember. For 4 years, I was a teacher to more or less 25 pupils (ages 9-10) in a 4 th grade class at my previous workplace. So, this is my first time to teach toddlers. I love my job and learn more each day. I've read many books about handling toddlers and how to teach these young ones I am passionate about what I do and my day would not be complete if I would miss seeing them and not able to spend time with them even just for a couple of minutes. Their smiles are precious and I love the fact that having them is as sweet as a honeycomb.
Whenever I teach toddlers, I just feel the moment and enjoy every second with them. I love to teach when I am enjoying. I do my best just to make them feel comfortable while they are learning. We all know that these babies love to play and explore a lot of things, even though they cannot communicate well using words. As a teacher, I consider every single minute with them like having a family time which must be filled with genuine laughter and lots of exciting and fun-filled activities.
To be a teacher to these kids is not easy. It is not just simply a responsibility by profession. It is a dream of anyone who is seeking for a joy through shaping young minds and hearts. Yes, toddlers sometimes are not easy to handle with. To be more specific, whenever one of them gets into tantrum, it is not easy to handle him/her especially during class discussions. Good thing, in CSC, we have childcare workers to assist and help deal with these situations. For the child to not disturb the class, they can pull him/her out, of course, with proper and gentle assistance to make sure the kid is still under monitored and well-taken care of. When the child gets better, he/she can join the class again.
There is beauty in teaching. I may face different phases of difficulty about it, but God's strength is enough. His wisdom enables me to do my responsibilities and His love teaches me to see the real beauty in it. And if God has given me the greatest gift a person could ever have, "Salvation through Christ," I can say that He has a purpose for me with this job that I have right now. He had impressed my heart with a desire to love kids and to shape the lives of these adorable young ones. I praise the Lord for giving me this wonderful favor of being a teacher – serving for His glory, His kingdom and for Him alone.
The fourth quarter of the school year was about to start and we decided to move up some students who were academically progressing to a new grade level. I was delighted, excited, and yet a little bit nervous thinking that I would have a new student who is intelligent, gifted, and of course, well-loved by everyone both in school and in the shelter.
The first few weeks were filled with many things to adapt to, and I prayed that the new student would not be too overwhelmed by the change. Slowly, with the help of the responsive classroom approach we implemented, it supports the student to have an easy transition to a new environment.
In our school, we usually do our morning routines such as greetings, group sharing activities, reading of the morning message, and praying before we start our classes. One of the best memories of my journey with this boy was when he first greeted me with my name as his "new teacher" and hugged me. He even asked me about my morning. He was so excited!
The first day with him was not as smooth as I hoped for. There were a few bumps. This was the reason why we observed him in the classroom and modifications were made to suit the student's needs. He would always choose to be the first person in the line, but I explained that we have our rules on "taking turns," and he already had his chance. When I checked on him outside the classroom the next day, he sat on his spot and patiently waited for others to come. I realized that firmness and consistency are two powerful tools to achieve successful classroom management.
Another classroom scene that made my day was when we had our group sharing. Knowing that younger students are visual learners, I added fun pictures to make our sharing more interactive and to get their attention. As I flashed some images on the screen, I heard him laugh as if he was being tickled. It went on for a long time, and it certainly gave his classmates a stomachache laughing with him which caused a little bit of chaos in the class. So, I gave him 30 seconds, and he did stop. It was effective, then we began with our sharing. Since that moment, we've been working on calling the name of the next sharer. He was very observant and quick to realize that he needed to do the same to his classmates. To our surprise, he was able to call the next sharer without his classmate's help and use the phrase "Popcorn, student's name." Everyone in the class was shocked and happy, telling me, "Teacher Lyrah, have you heard him saying popcorn? He learns so fast!" Truly, success happens not just because of one person working as "the teacher," but it includes the students and peers who help one another and have a common goal to lift each other up.
Moreover, I have noticed that he is gifted and very clever. I had set aside things each morning and prepared different materials that he would need to stay focused in our class. These things will be given after each class activity. It was essential to remind him that he needed to finish his tasks then he could use what is prepared for him. Well, being firm with expectations and setting classroom boundaries are challenging at times; however, at CCHS we always do it with love and care.
He appeared to be adjusting into our classroom setting over the next few days. He also loves to participate when being asked. Though, he needed some reminders from time to time for him to stay on track. There was one instance in the middle of our discussion he stood up and asked for his dinosaur books. We stopped, and most of his classmates reminded him to ask permission every time he stands or wants to have something. He did go back to his seat and asked permission. But it was not time for him to read a book yet. So, he participated in our reading first and answered all the activities. Then he got the book for him to enjoy. Another strategy that was very effective to him was giving him a time frame before he could get his desired reading materials. These things didn't come easy, it requires hard work, patience, determination, cooperation, and above all, love. We made a lot of classroom modifications to cater for his needs and the rest of the class.
To be successful in the classroom, as teachers, we need to set clear classroom boundaries for our students.
As Colossians 3:23-24 says: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."