Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

Fall Break: Family & EduCorps

My fall break turned out to be a great balance between welfare and ambition.

Part 1. Welfare
I spent a lot of time hanging out with my family.
Mom, dad and brother each have a warm, cozy home.
It was such a pleasure being immersed in their normal space,
where they carved out time from their busy lives
to stand around the kitchen and just….
talk, listen, update, question, laugh, remember, dream…

I finally met my newest, most beautiful niece and spent afternoons at the park with my nephew, following him around as he practiced over and over again:

up the stepJack!
down the step
up the step
down the step

What does a cow say?
What does a monkey say?
All the while wanting to teach him,
what does the fox say?

I got to ask my siblings a million questions each about their latest projects.  For my sisters, it was college essays, homecoming, homework and growing up… For my brother, it was parenthood, engineering machinery, and pumpkin carving.  I feel so lucky to have three awesome siblings, who include me in their lives and I hope they feel included in mine.

Alex at work

Meg's Room

Part 2. Ambition

I spent a lot of brain power on EduCorps. In weeks leading up the break, I read about teacher coaching models, measures of effective teaching and effective coaching, and ultimately ALMOST succeeded at turning a five page EduCorps Program Description into a one page program overview chart. Almost!  I spent my first Sunday in a 7 hour meeting of the minds, when Marcia, Kabahita and I finally got to have deep, intense discussion about our mission, vision and strategic plan for year one.

EduCorps Research Meeting

On Tuesday then, we had a totally surreal meeting in what appeared to be a basement recreation room at Johns Hopkins- hashing out a plan with our research team, who will do a lot of the ground work for year 1.  Our two lead graduate student researchers, Sean and Diana, are absolute superstars.  Sitting around a table, scribbling in notebooks, drinking coffee and dodging stray ping pong balls- I think it safe to say that we all felt this strange magic of…



are starting

AuctionIn addition to program and research design, we had money to raise.  I was totally humbled to see the massive amounts of preparation work done by my family and a crew of mostly my high school friends. The end result was a classy, fun and financially successful Silent Auction Benefit.  Because of the hard work of the auction planning team and the generosity of the invitees, EduCorps raised over $10,000.

And then I hopped on a plane back to Brussels.

photo 1

Back to 7th grade social studies, to the thoughtful, thorough and creative study guides my little historians churned out over the holiday to prepare themselves for our Renaissance test.

My desk at school.

My desk at school.

Back to designing a process for curriculum alignment review, to my fellow curriculum colleagues who openly debated, created, deleted, and refined the process- to create something respectful of teacher time and teacher perspective, that all three of us are eager to test out!

Back to Anga, to running at the hippodrome, to falling asleep reading on the couch, to having dinner with friends…

Nothing beats running with the sunset.

Nothing beats running with the sunset.

Life is good.

Life is good.


3 comments on “Fall Break: Family & EduCorps

  1. Lonnie Rich (dad)
    November 11, 2013

    Really nice, Sara. It was great for all of us to be able to spend time with you in person.

  2. Mom
    November 11, 2013

    Great having you around Sara! Looking forward to visiting you soon.

  3. Harlene Clayton
    November 18, 2013

    Always enjoy reading your newsletter and seeing the good work you continue to do, Sara!
    God bless you and keep you safe!
    Harlene Clayton

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This entry was posted on November 11, 2013 by in teaching, travel.
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