Monday, February 4, 2008

From the Teacher's Desk

Regarding my counseling class . . . for starters, I have 24 students. The therapist part of me resists this large class size. I pushed all the tables together instead of having them surrounding the outskirts of the room with the students sitting behind them. Even with this change, there were just too many students to be able to track what was happening with each one and to be able to connect with each one. This made me want to send half the class away and to offer two classes covering the same material so the class size would be twelve. It will be difficult for me, over the course of the semester, to put out information without knowing how it is being received and processed by EACH student. Another challenge is the cultural break-down of my class. I have 7-Palauans, 13-Chuukese, 3-Filipinos, 1-Bangladeshi, and 1-Yapese. Each student brings a unique way of viewing the world, a set of cultural rules and expectations, and a different native language. Just learning their beautiful but unique (from an American perspective) names will be a challenge! Here are the names of some of my students: Smilen, Elilai, Mohammad, Happiness, Mayumi, and Inca.

Trying to get through the syllabus took 1-1/2 hours!! I'm not sure if it was so difficult for the students because of a language barrier or if it's just because we come from such different worlds that to understand my expectations took quite a bit of explaining. Regardless, after half an hour of introductions, an hour and a half of explaining the syllabus, I was left with half an hour for lecture. The lecture seemed to be successful. I spoke about how, when God created the world, it was perfect--no sin, no dysfunction. I went through and talked about some of the specific issues of pain that we now deal with as a result of sin. The students seemed to be especially attentive when I discussed the pain of fatherlessness. There is a high incidence of this on the Islands just like in the States. Unlike the States, however, outside of the church, there really is no place for the students to go to receive support/counseling. I hope that my class will give these precious children of God at least one opportunity to have someone stand with them and validate for them the hurt they feel as a result of living in a sinful and thus dysfunctional world.

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