God, Help Me Calm Elsa Down! (Oh, and Help Her to Want to Learn Her Letters, too!)

God helped me find the key to help my Chinese students.

If want to hear pure prayers of desperation, then be a fly on the wall when teachers cry out to God. I know, because I am a teacher. Believe me, God and I have had a lot of chat.

I have the cutest little four year old, Elsa, with whom I am attempting to teach English as a second language. I work with VIPkids, so teaching English is my wonderful focus. There are many things that students learn, but they really aren’t seeable. Teaching English certainly is because one day you start having small conversations with the child who knew no English when you started teaching them a month ago.

Elsa is a four year old sweetheart. She is very smart, but it is difficult to know because she is usually flitting off screen (teaching online is part of the brilliance of VIPkid”s method). Many times I get her back to the screen with my brilliant kazoo melodies (especially Disney’s “Let it Go”, the song from the story where she chose her English name). Once a tambourine did the trick (my apologies to my daughter Jessica who was trying to sleep one floor below me).

Then there was the introduction to English letter names. When it came down to it, Elsa just didn’t see the point. This started up my pure prayers of desperation (God, help! How do I get her to care about her letters?). I have been walking around for a few days praying over and over and thinking through options.

God gave me the two answers I needed:

  • Show her that my name and her name have 3 our of 4 letters in common (L, S, A).
  • Distract her loss of focus with something quiet and beautiful.

Brilliance. Just pure brilliance. And it worked perfectly! As soon as she quieted down and looked on in amazement at the intersection of our names, I had her. Now letters were important and changed her whole mindset. THANK YOU, GOD!!!!

When I turned my mic on one day I could tell that she was excited and already jumping all over her poor mom. I grabbed my Gazebo music box with a man and woman dancing and put it up to my mic. I just gave her the sound until she quieted and came up to the screen wondering what she was going to see. I turned the camera on and had the man and woman right up close. This moved her close to the screen as well. We talked about how beautiful the music box was and she was in. On to the lesson. (To be honest, this was the lesson I eventually pulled the tambourine out on (I really am sorry, Jesc)). But this was the first lesson with a lot of quiet moments of learning and wonderment, my goal.

Elsa is making me a better teacher and God is providing answers to questions I have no idea how to answer. So as I teach Elsa, I grow in my own wonderment at how wonderful God is.  Who says there isn’t prayer in school…?

 

Coffee Break; Cream, no Sugar

It has come to my attention that I have not been blogging very much as of late, so I thought I would catch you up on the Life and Times of Lisa Meister. So grab your favorite mug and let me pour you a fresh and hot cup of coffee. I will take mine with cream, no sugar.

Well, technically I have cream and sugar because I have the French vanilla kind that is crazy good with a crazy amount of sugar. But I feel better just saying no sugar. I figure that I am a hypocoffeedriac, meaning that if I believe that there isn’t sugar in the cream, there won’t be.

I have already blogged about my wonderful new job in
A Fun New Job and This Time I Get Paid. What is amazing is that I live in Indiana, USA but teach in China. I am teaching Chinese children, ages 4 – 12 English. There are so many wonderful children out there that are a lot of fun to work with. I really thought that China was mostly a third world country, but these children look to be from homes very much like ours.

But I digress. That rabbit trail started with my job, so I will get back to it. I am slowly building my student base and am starting to figure out what I am doing. My kids are very smart and by the end of a 25 minute lesson, I can already notice a jump in what they can understand. I work from 5 – 9 am each morning, with prep the night before. I have puppets, cheerleading pom-poms, birthday hats and blow toys, crazy hats, and a tamborine. Aargh, I digress again.

Okay, on to a new area. I am still homeschooling my youngest. It works great because we don’t start homeschooling until 10am. She does almost everything on her own now (a trait the homeschooling community highly prizes), with me there to discuss ideas, help with math, or to try to help with science.

I am also a blogger, a great love in my life. But as you can see, I don’t have a lot of time for it right now. As teaching gets easier I will have more time again.

My oldest daughter is graduating from College next week! That’s a “Yeah!” and a “Yikes!”. My 5 pound bundle of joy is now 23. Yes, the years vanished in a smoky “poof”, but I know I gleaned all the time with her I could because I educated her at home.

I have also started writing a new book, and am trying to find big chunks of time (well, not really, more like small chunks of time) to write. I have my topic, my research, my voice and am well on my way into chapter one.

Christmas is upon us, so I am taking time to think through all that Jesus has done for me and marvel at his loving decision to come to earth as a man. This year I have been thinking through all the prophecies in the Old Testament about his coming. I’ll have to blog some about that at a later date.

There is always church, God time, teen drama, husband, and health issues that I deal with on a daily basis; heavy on the teen drama. I think that is about it.

So that about catches you up on me. I would love it if you would leave a quick reply as to how you are doing. I have missed all of my blogging friends.

A Fun New Job and This Time I Get Paid

I earned my bachelor’s of education degree back in 1991 and worked for a couple years before our first child was born. I taught and I was paid. That is a crazy weird concept to me now after spending the last 23 years birthing, raising and educating our four amazing children for absolutely no money; and certainly that is how it should be.

Many of you know that I have one child left in my homeschool, and she really doesn’t need me much for her classes. I work with her for a couple of hours a day and greatly enjoy her education and her well thought through ideas on many topics.

Homeschooling parents make huge monetary and physical sacrifices to educate their children. The moms are not only the homemaker and teacher, but also the dollar stretcher. It is amazing how hard the moms work to do a lot for very little. They are also on the go 24/7; with a few hours of unconsciousness here and there.

This has definitely been where our household has been. I have looked for at home work that didn’t involve trying to sell products to my already cash strapped homeschooling friends. Somehow nothing ever seemed to work.

In the last three weeks God completely dropped an amazing job in my lap. I now teach young children in China (ages five to ten) English as a second language. It is through VIPKID who has cutting edge educational technology that allows us to teach through the VIPKID website. So very early this morning I was able to meet students in China right before their bedtime and make learning English fun and exciting. Best of all, I LOVE it. (Oh, and I get paid!). If you have a 4 year college degree and have spent at least one year teaching children and are interested in making some money, just let me know.

This morning I met Kevin from Shanghai and had fun conversations about China, America, meadows, lions and badminton. He also taught our pomeranian, Ivanna, how to say “hello” in Chinese. It turns out she is a quick study. I hope Kevin comes back so we can discuss what the stars on his flag represent…

I know that my blog, “God is Good”, covers many different topics, so now I am adding one more. Life is like that you know. One minute you are teaching algebra to your 14 year old, then teaching “savannah” to a ten year old in Shanghai, then writing poetry about abuse and life, throwing dishes into the dishwasher quickly, and then running to the post office to drop off Amazon book rentals for your college child who just realized today is the last day to return the book and they will be at school and work all day…  And in the midst of all of this wonderful chaos, I know that God is good through it all.