In case you were wondering, no. This is not a post about how I've been turned into a superhero who can stretch like elastic. So you can all put that rumor to rest. Finally.
This is a post about how I feel stretched like a rubber band, physically, emotionally, and . . . teacher-ly?
We'll start with the physical stretching. My arm feels like it's about to fall off (extreme hyperbole) after carrying a bucket of water from our house to the garbage dump (a.k.a. the burning pile). Why was I carrying said bucket of water from the house to the garbage dump, you may ask. Good question. Said bucket that I carried from said house to said dump had two rats in it. From our house. And they were rotting. Lovely. A perfect Monday evening activity.
I'm also feeling stretched in my emotions. Trying to keep up any form of relationship from half-way around the world is challenging. And even though I'm glad I'm here, my thoughts are frequently stretching across the ocean between us to my family and friends who are there. And that's tough.
The third way that I'm feeling stretched (but certainly not the last) is in my teaching. It is difficult to be a teacher. Especially when you are trying to do awesome, fun activities and all your students do is complain. Take, for example, my fifth graders. We have been reading a unit on catastrophes. We've been learning about earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, etc. This unit has stretched across subjects into reading, social studies, and English. As a wrap-up, instead of a test, I decided to create a fun assessment. The students could write a script for a news cast and be a team of reporters reporting on a catastrophe that they make up. We'll use my FlipVideo and some extra time out of class to record it and then show the finished product.
The first thing my students do? You guessed it. They whine. "Awww, Mr. Warren! I don't like my group! They picked the catastrophe that we called dibs on! He pushed me! My head hurts!" Awesome. Nothing like a bunch of whining to take your (in my opinion) great idea and make you want to run kicking and screaming from ever doing anything like it again. But we're persisting, and there are now rules against complaining. My patience has been stretched enough.
The nice thing about being stretched, however, is that it's really tough to going back to the way you were before. You always come out of it having grown in new ways. For example, tomorrow, my left arm is going to be way huger than my right because of the stretching of the muscle.*
Thankfully, too, we have a God who is able to keep us in His hands. I know that all of this stretching is for a reason (well, except maybe my arm), and that He has a great plan in all of it. So even though I'm feeling like a rubber band, I'll let Him keep stretching me.
*This may or may not be true.