What did I just agree to?

Evidently, teaching English. 

As of the would-be first day of school, I could have counted the total enrollment at both DRLM Lutheran schools on my hands. Much prayerful deliberation led to the decision to postpone the start of the academic year. The intervening months won't be a total loss, though; with the Dominican government paying a portion of the teachers' salaries, they'll spend a modified workday doing professional development. A draft calendar featuring four tracks is in the works:

1. Strategic planning
2. A Lutheran teacher colloquy program
3. Technology training (Zoom, Word, and PowerPoint)
4. English classes

I'm not quite on Geek Squad level, but relatively speaking, I'm an expert, so I'm on the hook for (3) along with my partner in crime, Courtney. While we work on sourcing laptops for our prospective students, (4) is looming large. 

Teachers that can teach English in the classroom would be an enormous value add as parents weigh the value of a tuition-based Lutheran education against public school. Consequently, I somehow left a Tuesday lunch meeting with the schools' director and both chaplains having agreed to co-teach English for 4 hours/week, starting a week from Monday. 

Needless to say, life since then has been a little stressful. I'm not a teacher, nor do I play one on TV. I've never taught English before. I've never taught anything before. The more Courtney & I realize that this is something our region is willing to invest in, though, the less overwhelmed we get. LAC's in-house language institute and so many wonderful teacher friends in both our lives have been tremendously supportive and encouraging. We've all but decided on a curriculum and an initial assessment tool. I keep telling myself - and Courtney - it's going to be great, and if I take a deep breath, I'm actually excited. 

It's important to note that we're not intended to be permanent solutions. Maybe more like full-body casts than Band-Aids, but as the Volunteer Coordinators, our involvement is a path to, well, coordinating volunteers that could plug into English and other school-related efforts in any number of ways. Opportunities coming to a servenow database near you soon. 

Given all of that, ESL training/certification research is another of my irons in the fire right now. English is a bridge into the church in so many LAC fields already, and others are ripe for new English outreaches to begin. As someone who regularly recruits, trains, and hosts volunteers who support said outreaches - and now, occasionally dives into them headfirst - it only makes sense. 

The building in which my office is located reopened in the last week or so; scheduled office hours have helped Courtney & I put our heads together, hash out some plans, and above all, reassure one another. 

I've also been working from my newly created home office. Freddy approves, even though it's missing the piece de resistance, a world map that I want to paint on the wall that would be my Zoom background. 

The schools were one of three ministry areas (along with the seminary and Iglesia Luterana Pan de Vida) highlighted at this morning's DRLM virtual FORO partnership meeting. Over thirty new and familiar faces gathered on-screen for time in the Word, time spent listening to those at the helm of each area, and time spent asking probing questions about how best to support and advocate for what God is doing in the Dominican

The next week is going to be a circus, but I thrive on having something to do at all times, so bring it on. My plan is to document "a week in the life" for you and share it via an Instagram story, a blog post...which will become a Facebook post, and a video for one of my Together in Mission congregations. 

Until next time, blessings!