If you have been following along, you know that in the beginning of September I started my French Education Program at SFU. This was a new venture of mine, moving on from my degree towards an uncertain career that is teaching. I never would have guessed that three months later I can say that I made the right choice. I spent a year leading up to this past September, humming, and hawing over my choices. Was this the right school? Do I want to be a teacher? Elementary or High School? Yes, I made the right choice and here’s why.
I have been fully immersed in a program that has strengthened my French, my leadership abilities, my confidence, my compassion towards others and extensively my faith. I have spent many hours debating hot education topics and figuring out the kind of teacher I want to be. I have created the coolest of connections with my middle school class, have picked some brilliant minds and have learned a butt-ton of patience, a necessity in this career. I have built new friendships; we sure do need each other in this program. We laugh, rant and cry together weekly. We even spent a night together in Stanley Park, an experience that turned out much better than I expected it to be. It’s comforting to have people going through the same intense ups and downs as you in your schooling, it unites us.
Considerably the most memorable moment so far was when I openly shared my faith with my class one morning, the first time in my school career. This sparked when we began discussing the mistreatment of Aboriginals, specifically in the form of residential camps. As many of you know, Christians can be painted in a very harsh light. There have been negative, historical and actual events that have tainted peoples’ views of the Christian faith. Since the new BC curriculum has shed new light on Aboriginal awareness, we’ve spent a lot of time these past few months talking about how Christians mistreated the Canadian First Peoples. There are years of scars on the hands of many Christians and Catholics. I have no excuses for the actions that took place years ago, nor for the hate that boils over today like we have seen in the southern United States. I am just as disgusted as you are when I hear of innocent people being hurt by their neighbors. Through our many conversations in PDP, I was heartbroken when I would hear things like “I could never love a God who could allow the rape of a sweet child”. I would sit there with tears rolling down my cheeks, silently screaming “but do you know my God?! He is a loving, perfect God!”. As a dedicated Christian, I do not stand for any form of hate, nor do I love a God that stands for this. I simply don’t have an explanation for the hurt that Christians have caused but I can confidently state that I do have reign over my own actions and how I present myself as a Christian. It finally came to a breaking point, my heart was so filled with turmoil. Something needed to be said. I needed to stick up for myself. I shamelessly shared my faith with my PDP class one Thursday morning. Talk about longest car ride to school ever that day. I spilled my heart, how not all Christians stand for hatred. I explained how there is a perfect God, but imperfect people. I shared the guilt I felt for the harm that has been caused, for the bridges that have been burned. I ultimately shared that I am a Christian who loves people. Period. I am not above anyone because my skin is white, I am not different in the eyes of the Lord because of my gender. I only want to see people the way God sees me, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14). I was deeply encouraged by my peers, stating things like “that was important to share with us” and “thank you for your thoughtful response, you were really brave”. I have always been told that my faith is nothing to hide, this year was the first where I really took that to heart.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
Even though I feel like I am striving and thriving in this new environment, I can’t say it’s not exhausting. I live and breathe in SFU’s Discovery 2 building, I spend more time with my classmates than my family and my thoughts have been consumed with my practicum students. I moved on quickly from a time where I could experiment with new innovative dinner ideas, a time where I could spend my mornings’ gymming and drinking coffee with good friends, a season of thrifting and arts and crafts with mum. I just simply don’t have that many hours in a day. I have to let go and accept that I won’t see my friends weekly, that 3-hour chit-chat meetings with my fave boss aren’t realistic for me right now. I have had to learn to be okay with a boxed mac and cheese meal here and there and accept that, yes, a pound or two will probably be gained this semester. I won’t always have a tidy living room, nor will I get as much sleep as I like. Hour-long hiking dates with my husband have been traded in for lesson planning dates, spitballing ideas back and forth over some hot chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, healthy meals and seeing my family are important to me, but I cannot allow myself to become stressed because I simply can’t live up to my own expectations. There has to be some give and take for the sake of my sanity. I can’t do it all. For those of you who I have not made enough time for, I am sorry. I want to hear about your life, I want to see you, my intentions are real. Know that this is a season of crazy for me, and has nothing to do with how I feel about my loved ones. If you think of it, shoot me a text, let me know what’s new in your life, I want to know, trust me.
I have been loving this month-long Christmas break where I can do my most favorite things again. I have spent the first two days of this break hanging out with my people, crafting up freezer meals and lesson planning for my long practicum. I am squeezing in the neglected dentist appointments and oil changes and finally, I am writing down all these crazy memories on this blog. I cherish this down time and I am slowly but surely getting hyped to teach some wild children! I am getting pumped for those stronger connections with my students this new year. I am giddy over my lesson plans and can’t wait to see where God has got me going in PDP 2018.