Kate Motaung

A Car, a Truck, and a Lesson in Truth

The Scenario The truth? I feel a little sheepish and petty tonight. It all started when I realized that tomorrow we’ll have our last assembly of the school year. Which means that I had forgotten to print out the certificates for reading goals. I generated the certificates and left them to print while I checked our cupboards for supplies. Each student that earns a certificate gets invited to our house for a banana split after lunch. And the one black…

Read More

I’m a Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers

A Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers Before I married, I used to think I wanted to marry a man with the last name of Baker and have 13 children. Instead, I married a man named Ojeda and we decided early on that as teachers, we could only afford two children. These days my refrigerator holds certificates and graduation announcements from my kids from other mothers. After teaching for close to 30 years, I have a lot of children. Sure, Pedro…

Read More

The Darker Side of Should: When to Eliminate it

The Friendly ‘Should’ I used to use the word ‘should’ all the time. It felt benign and friendly. “You should put your toys away before supper time,” always sounded kinder than, “Put away your toys before supper.” Telling someone what they ‘should’ do sounded so much nicer than telling them what to do. It allowed me to hide my bossy nature from the world (or maybe just deny that I HAVE a bossy side). And then our daughter entered the…

Read More

The Rest of the Story: More Adventures Await

More Trouble and Destination Disappointment There’s more to last week’s story about my misguided adventure with a busload of students. After negotiating through an additional seven miles of bumpy dirt road, we came to a water crossing within sight of a paved road. This time, I stopped the bus and the boys hopped off and built up the banks of the road with more rocks BEFORE I attempted to drive over. When we finally turned onto a paved road, the…

Read More

The Simple Antidote to Not Enough: Praise

Feeling Like I’m Not Enough I wander along the road in the desert, feeling off-kilter and slightly out-of-sorts. Maybe my feelings of discontent come from wondering if I have enough. Will I have enough time to fit everything into the day, enough money to pay my taxes, and enough patience with my spring-fever-filled students? I long for assurance that I will make it through this quarter, that I will have enough to meet my needs, that the hummingbirds will actually return,…

Read More

How Do YOU Define Christian?

Doing Research in the Age of Information Leading high school students through the arduous process of writing a research paper leaves me feeling exhausted. Since the advent of the Internet, Google, Wikipedia, and social media, kids define cutting and pasting content from other sources as ‘research.’ I beg to differ. And so we do things the old-fashioned-sort-of-technologically-advanced way in my classes. The students make photocopies of everything they plan on using that comes from a book. They print out web…

Read More

When Someone Grieves, Offer an Embrace

The Passing of a Family Friend I wanted to reach through the phone line and embrace my daughter. Instead, I texted her back and tried to concentrate on reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my freshman class. I kept losing my place and glancing at my phone. Not professional behavior, I know. But when your daughter texts you that her beloved German Shepherd has bladder cancer and the vet sees no hope, you do what needs to…

Read More

When it’s OK to Call Your Kids a Friend

Why DID We Have Kids? “Mom, why did you and Dad have kids?” Sarah asked a few years ago. “Because we knew that when you guys became adults we’d have two awesome friends.” I quipped. “But didn’t you tell us that we couldn’t be friends?” Sarah reminded me. “No. We said we couldn’t be friends until you’re 18 and out of high school.” “Oh, yeah,” she said. “Kids need boundaries and mentoring. They don’t need the burden of having an…

Read More

Being Half Vegetarian in a World of Abandonment

Half Vegetarian For some reason, Pedro is discussing meat eating and vegetarianism with students while he patrols the playground after lunch. As I walk by on my way to my next class, I overhear a youngster declare, “I’m the only vegetarian in my family!” “Really?” Pedro asks. “Everyone else eats meat?” “Everyone but me!” the second grader declares. “Guess what, Mr. Ojeda?” a third grader asks. “I’m half vegetarian!” “Really!” Pedro exclaims. The bell rings and I hurry to unlock…

Read More

If You’ve Lost Your Purpose, I Know Where to Find it!

Morning Discontent When I woke up this morning, I felt bleh. I made sure to spend an extra amount of time in my gratitude journal, praising God for everything. “Thank you for the tulips that push their way through the hard soil in February. Thank you for the rain. I praise you for the sunset last night.” And then I confessed to God that I felt bleh. Frustrated because I still struggle to know my purpose in life. Yeah, I…

Read More
%d bloggers like this: