Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ich spreche Deutsch und bin stolz darauf!

I am taking the German Productive Language Skills test on Saturday. I missed the cut off score by 4 points when I took it last spring, and I need to pass it to get my permanent MN license. Oh goody.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Protecting Innocence

"Ms. J, that girl is hurt!"

Walking into the YMCA yesterday for swimming, one of my students stopped at the newspaper machine and looked at the front page of the newspaper. Tuesday was the day after the tragedy at Virginia Tech. The front page of the paper had a huge picture of an injured student being carried away.

How do you explain something like that to a child, and should we? Unfortunately it was everywhere yesterday, even swimming lessons. I responded by explaining that there was an accident at a college and that the girl had been hurt in the accident, and to her that seemed to be an okay answer.

The reality of life is that it is painful and messy sometimes, and it is so hard in today's world to keep the pain and the messyness away from children. I consider myself to be blessed, because I think my parents were very successful at keeping my siblings and I protected from the pain until we were old enough.

The Virginia Tech shootings have hit close to home, and I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I just graduated from college, and I think how that could have happened anywhere, even at my school. It could be because one of my colleagues cousins attends VT and is experiencing the pain first hand. Or maybe it is because things like this remind me that I am a profession that unfortunately has experienced things like this before, and I can only pray that it does not continue to happen.

My heart hurts for them.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Colorado Vacation

I've been a bit crabby this week because I have been recovering from a fun Easter trip to Colorado with my family and good friend Anna.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fair Trade

I am beginning to "campaign" for fair trade. It is interesting, and I think that as Christians, it is something little that we can do to intentionally impact the world around us in a good way.
The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields." Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.

Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound of $1.26, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.

Taken from: