February - pretty consistently for the last 16 years this month has been the hardest month of school for me. It's the time of year where Christmas holidays are gone and spring break looks forever in the distance. It is also the time when many of our directors and school administrators head back to the home office to recruit which leaves many doing double duty to cover their responsibilities. Added to these other events are plans for WWW - Week Without Walls - our school wide ministry project. In typical February fashion, this last week or two of school has been particularly challenging. Just as I had begun noticing that this time of year was rolling around again, I received an email from our academic development coordinator at the home office. In her email, she talked about the Third Quarter Phenomenon. Over her 35 year career in education she too had noticed that the hardest time of the school always occured during third quarter - January, February, March. According to her insight she saw that this is the time of year that brings ...
- the lowest grades
- the most discipline problems
- an increase in interpersonal conflict
- a rise in parent concerns
- the greatest stress for teachers/staff
Many of the reasons she found for this phenomenon were because this is when...
the most new material (curriculum) is presented
families are run ragged after school and on
weekends with extra-curricular activities
friendships among students often shift, causing
hurt feelings (particularly noted grades 5-8)
parents tire of conflicts their students experience
we wonder if the cost or salary is worth it
students spend less time out-of-doors
it’s cold(- now this reason is not really an issue for us in the tropics :)
As I read through that email, I realized I wasn't the only one that felt this was the most challenging time of the year. In a sense it is good to know I was just not making things up in my head. Another good thing is now I can begin preparing for and anticipating these difficulties. That way I am not shocked when problems happen, and I can be better prepared to deal with them in a positive manner. Most of all I can elicit some much needed prayer support on my behalf and on behalf of the school. That is where you all can come in. As you think about it, I would covet any of your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of my school.
My prayer requests for the next two months can be summarized into a few items...
- Pray for our students, parents, and staff that as we go through the struggles of the Third Quarter Phenomenon. Pray that we can look at our struggles as ways for God to grow and strengthen us.
- Pray that I have wisdom as a leader to encourage and guide my staff through this time of year.
- Pray for our WWW ministry in March that Satan does not distract us and divide us but instead we can use this time to share the love of Christ with those that are around us.
- Pray for joy in the midst of difficulty.
- Finally, pray that God will provide the 7 new teachers that we need to hire for next year.
Now with all seasons of difficulty not everything is all bad. In fact there are many things I am thankful for right now.
My praises that I have for these past two month are...
- Our Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) went well this year. I had fun being back with the kids.
- Teachers for the most part have been healthy. We haven't had any major illnesses like we had at the start of the year.
- Details were finalize for our construction project. Building has now begun on a new swimming pool and locker room facilities, a soccer field, better perimeter fencing, and a new floor for outdoor basketball court.
- Enrollment continues to be at an all time high for our school.
- Parent and community support is very strong.
- I am enjoying spending time with family and friends here in Indo.
All in all there life in Bandung continues to be an adventure in faith.
Fun photo highlights from Nov and Dec:
|SEW Worship on the Sports Court|
|5 a.m. Christmas present exchange|
|Christmas Morning Service at 1st Baptist|
|A visitor from the U.S., volcanoes, and rainy season.|
|New Year's Eve game night ....|
|...and crazy sparklers at midnight.|