I walked back to my apartment and I passed by the familiar durian stand with the strong pungent smell, the seedy motel with “interesting” late at night guests, and the comforting signs of 7-11 on the corner. After a long thanksgiving weekend in Malaysia, I was glad to be back. Sure it was nice staying at the fancy Shangri-la hotel, but the minute I got to my apartment, I felt relieved to be back home.
Living abroad, it’s easy to get confused about where your “home” truly is. My permanent address is my parent’s home back in New York. Yet, I don’t really have my own room there anymore. A bunch of my winter clothes and books are stored in the basement in boxes. Every year as I go back to visit, it feels a little less like my home and a bit more foreign.
After 4 years in Korea, it felt like my home. Now that I moved, I miss Korea terribly at times. After 4 months of being here in Singapore, this foreign place is slowly starting to feel a bit like home. Even though they say home is where the heart is, what do you do when pieces of your heart are scattered all over?
Where is home for you?
The Slice of Life Challenge happens every Tuesday and is hosted by the Two Writing Teachers.
I’m a bit late posting this, but here are some of the heart maps & heart poems my students created. I had the students cut out hearts using the painted paper they made. One one side they put a heart map, where they map out all the things in their “heart”. Then, I had them choose one thing from their heart map to write a poem about. The poem went on the other side. After, I laminated their hearts and punched a hole at the top. I hung the hearts up in my classroom.
Also, I made chocolate for my students and put them in little plastic baggies with other bought chocolate. It’s super easy to make the chocolate. You buy the chocolate morsels for melting and then put them in the plastic molds. After, you put the plastic molds in the fridge and it hardens in a few hours.
I learned how to make painted paper from my a great co-teacher last year! So I had the kids paint red & pink painted paper and this is what we can came up with.
First, get blank paper, paint & a thick brush
Next, paint horizontal streaks across the paper.
For fun, you can have students paint dots or designs on top!
Now with all this paper, we cut out hearts where students made heart maps and put their poems on. We will be hanging them up in our room. I will try to posts some photos on Monday! Then, we also used the painted paper to make Valentine’s day cards and crafts.
This quote reminds me of my first year as a teacher. I thought I wouldn’t make it for year two. I remember I was so surprised when my principal asked me to come back for another year. However, I did manage to survive my first year while teaching in an urban public middle school in Manhattan.
I remember when my mentor teacher came into my class to try to model good teaching and afterwards she was like, you have a really hard class. I remember breaking up a fight between two 6th grade girls in the highway and finding chunks of hair on the floor(not mine). I remember trying really hard to not break down in front of my students.
There were good memories too! I had some really sweet students that year as well. They also taught me the milkshake song, which I quickly realized was not about drinking milkshakes.
I can definitely say though that those rough first few years of my teaching career definitely did strengthen, challenge and toughen me. I’m so thankful for going through all that because it did make me become a better teacher.