Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Yes, the school year is over!  We made it!  We are tired, happy and thankful.

Last week I did end of the year interviews with our teachers.  The past year had been fairly difficult for all of us.  We made some methodological changes at the onset of the school year and then had to spend a lot of extra time explaining and defending the teaching methods we use and the professional decisions we make.  There was a lot of complaining and negative talk going on about how we do things.  But we also received unbiased outside confirmation that we do good work (our children tests results were very good and an inspection from the Czech Ministry of Education gave us highest marks). 

Ariel, one of our third grade teachers, had an especially difficult class.  At one point during the year there was someone observing her class almost every week.  You can imagine how distracting that is. And it makes teaching stressful too.  I asked Ariel to reflect on the year and how it affected her.  She said that she felt the difficulties helped her become a stronger person and a better teacher.  How so?  The constant commotion forced her to focus on a few voices that really matter to her and to treat the rest of them as white noise.  One of the voices that matter to Ariel is the voice of Jesus.  (why do I always have to bring Jesus into everything?  Because He fills everything in every way!  There.)  What a great way to deal with distractions and keep from being beat down and discouraged.

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July.  We put up the flag and listened to Stars and Stripes forever and From Sea to Shining Sea and other patriotic songs, which the children considered funny.  We ate enchiladas and drank apple cider and laughed and made fun of things and then at night we read chapter 5 from Hattie Big Sky (a great book about a 16 year old girl trying to prove up on her claim of land in Northern Montana in 1918 - reading things like this puts our lives into perspective).

This week we are wrapping up a few things at school and preparing for an English camp we'll be leading next week here at Zelivka.  The week after that we'll be in Taize, France.  And right after that we are looking to put some serious distance (including an ocean full of water) between us and school and work in general.  We are planning a trip to the US - Maryland and Illinois.  Everyone is looking forward to this needed time off.  We can't wait to see family and old friends again.

1 comment:

  1. Marek and Elaine, this is Michael Grayson. When I woke up this morning, the Holy Spirit spoke your names to me. I immediately began to search the web for you. I'm so glad I found you (or your blog :-)!! I see that you're supposed to be in the states in July. If you're still here, Natalie and I would love to see you and for you to meet our 3 boys! My cellphone #: 614-940-9553 and email: I hope to hear from you soon!