They never seem to start out too well, do they? We had an overnight guest whose ride was supposed to come at 8:20 this morning, but we all woke up to a phone call saying the driver had come early and was already waiting downstairs. Cue scuffling, grumbling, scrambling...

Then there was the fact that I didn't do laundry this weekend, which meant I didn't have time to drink coffee because I had to dig for something clean, matching, and school-/weather-appropriate. Thankfully, yet another change of plans left my roommate free to drive me to school so I wouldn't be late. Are you getting an idea of life in Romania? Full of surprises!

To the person who had our coffee machine installed, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There were of course the usual school frustrations that I've almost gotten used to -- teachers not coming back for their kids on time, kids not listening, activities not quite working out the way they're described in the textbook... And then, as usual, the frustrations were outweighed by reminders of why I love my job so much.

Grupa Mica (3's)...
Teacher: This is a ball. Do you have a ball in your classroom?
Boy 1: Yes! It's on the shelf!
Teacher: Good! But we only have one ball, and you are ten children. How can we all play with only one ball? We have to share.
Boy 2: But Teacher, we don't have to share because we don't have just one ball. We have two. There's another one on the shelf.
Girl: Teacher, you should know that I have another ball at home, too, but it's been messed up for a long time and I don't play with it anymore. But I do have one.

Grupa Mare (5's)...
[While trying to learn new vocabulary]
Teacher: D., please try to hold your mouth so I can explain what we're doing.
D (a boy): But I can't!
Teacher: D., I don't think you heard what we just learned because you haven't stopped talking.
Teacher: M., please stop poking D. He's trying to listen.
Teacher: D., why don't you want to play this game with us? You get to clap and make noise!
Teacher: Ok, I'm sorry but I can't give you all a sticker today because you didn't listen very well. We'll try again tomorrow.
D.: Teacher, please don't leave to go to America! Please don't go!!!
Teacher: Why not? Do you like the way we learn English with me?
D.: Yes! And I don't want to learn English with anybody else! Don't leave!
Teacher: Are you trying to say that you like me? That you love me a lot?
D.: [nods]
Teacher: Well I'm still going to be here a long time. If you really love me, the best way you can tell me that is by listening to me and doing what I ask you to do. That's what lets me know you love me.

...Because in the back of my mind there is always another Teacher, One who understands children who don't like to listen. One who has experience with children who aren't crazy about sharing what they have. One whose children really do love Him, but sometimes don't know how that looks in this world.

I guess that's what makes all the Mondays worth it. It's more than trying to mold contributing members of society, getting them ready for "real school," giving them a good foundation in English, or even just trying to keep them under control for a half hour. It's the hope that eventually, when the time is right, they'll see past me to the ultimate Teacher -- the one who had to gently remind his followers that sometimes love looks a lot like submission.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." -John 14:15

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