Message From TGS Class of 2020

The class of 2020 reached out to us, asking if they could send a message of encouragement to the younger students, and this was the result:

We love our seniors!

Surprised by Grace

A week or so ago, we emailed some of our wonderful teachers and asked them to reflect on the past few weeks of massive change. We asked them for some thoughts or an example of how God has sustained them by his grace for the path laid before them.

Please continue to pray for our teachers as they, along with all of us, weather this storm.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).


Emily Fraser (Lower School Art)

“How can I elevate joy and decrease the fear that may be in some of my little students’ hearts during this time of uncertainty?” This was the question I prayed when we as teachers began to prep for virtual teaching.

For children, joy often comes in the form of laughter. Laughter and silliness are both crucial and beneficial for children (and grown-ups too!), but especially in times of uncertainty; laughter can calm a child’s heart and make them feel safe.

Knowing joy and thus laughter was the medicine needed, I considered ways in which I could, as a teacher, bring laughter into the hearts and homes of my students. Cue “Lady Blue,” the spectacle-wearing, large, blue crayon with a silly high-pitched voice in an unidentifiable accent who just might bring a few smiles, giggles, and laughter through virtual art lessons. Little did I know, being silly and light-hearted would have an impact on my own heart and bring joy to my own family as well. It has filled me up to see pictures of your children enjoying art at home, and their smiles have been a gift to my soul! I pray joy triumphs over fear in your hearts, and that your home is filled with laughter!


Scott Forrester (Upper School English and Rhetoric)

In English class, the seniors read a sermon given by CS Lewis in which he discusses the value of “Learning in Wartime,” the importance of continuing in one’s education in the midst of “unfavorable” conditions. He suggests that World War II, in the midst of which he is speaking, “creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it.” What my students and I are discovering is that he was absolutely right, that, surprising as it sounds, our current circumstances are not really new; it is just that we are more aware than before of what has always been the case. That is, that we are fallen, broken people, living in a fallen, broken world, and God’s sovereignty is both terrifying and comforting (Ecclesiastes 3:14), as indeed it should be if appropriately viewed. Being more than ever responsible for our own education, having to get along with our irritating family members, having to face our own impatience and tendency to grumble—these are lessons that have always needed to be learned. Now we know it. Now we must be about the business of enacting the virtues of temperance and prudence and faith and love that learning in “wartime” requires.


Alicia VanDerhoof (6th Grade)

This transition has not been easy because it has revealed some idols in my life—idols of security in a schedule, daily reassurance in face-to-face conversations, and successfully appearing to “have it all together.” Overnight, those securities were taken away from me, and I was forced to continue each day without them. Although still working on permanently removing these idols, I am overwhelmed by the way God has shown me that he is all I need. He has shown me that it’s his grace that allows me to finish each day, not my to-do lists. It’s by his strength, not mine, that I plan tomorrow’s lesson and keep up with emails. In learning these truths, God has whispered for me to watch him work in these uncertainties. With open eyes, I see 15 smiling faces greet me each morning to share prayer requests and start our class with devotions; I see pictures of new hobbies and books that have been picked up by each of them; and I still see each of my students’ faces when giving and receiving our usual blessing at the end of class: “The Lord be with you … and also with you.” Every day is filled with new mercies and overflowing grace that makes it such a joy to teach at The Geneva School.


Jill Lewis (First Grade)

The past few weeks have been hard … uncharted territory for all of us as we work together to do remote teaching and learning. The first week of remote learning brought late nights of creating lesson plans for my classroom parents, making instructional videos, learning new technology, and making time to daily check in personally with each of my first graders. I thought the long hours and loss of sleep would be the most difficult, but seeing the faces and hearing the voices of each of my students as I FaceTimed them was emotionally overwhelming. I miss them terribly.

But God. God knows about all of this and all the challenges each one of us is facing. I have experienced his grace and help in so many ways in the past several weeks. His grace has been sufficient. I am beyond grateful to be part of the Geneva community. Faculty have pitched in to help me navigate technology, our leaders have answered every text and email we’ve sent, they send a daily devotional just for the teachers to encourage them, parents have shared words of encouragement, and first graders have learned to Zoom! I initially planned for our remote learning Zoom lessons to last no more than 20 minutes. Guess what?!!! First graders can sit and attend and actively participate for an hour via Zoom! (The mute option has been a great assistance to keep the flow going for our lessons too.)

God has given us the creativity and stamina to do this. I’ve had this quote written in the front of my Bible since 1990. “Grace is the overflowing favor of God.” —Oswald Chambers. Our heavenly Father’s grace is sufficient for our need.


Elizabeth Smith (5th Grade)

Having to change and giving up control are two of the hardest things for people to do. Yet here we are in a world interrupted by change and totally out of our control. The ideas of change and control, although somewhat juxtapositions of one another, are so intertwined that when one is out of balance we see an effect in each. Almost no one likes a forced change, and we all, in our human nature, fall into the belief that we have control … until we realize that we don’t.

The truth that God is in control is easy when times are good. As a Christian, when things are going well, it is easy for me to say that God is in control. However, the times in my life that have been hard, I have also had to lean on this. It is not easy to stop the wheels of anxiety and worry from spinning. In these moments of troubles and undesired or unwanted change, I try to control. However, when I stop and remember that God is who he says that he is and that he is in control, it is so much sweeter to relinquish my hold on control and give it to God.

One of my favorite verses is from Matthew 6: 26–27, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” I have no more control over the things of this world than the birds of the air. God is in control.


Leonore Chamberlain (2nd Grade)

Ready, Get Set, ZOOOOOOM!!!!!!!

Just a few weeks ago, I did not know what this whole remote learning experience would be like, but today, I must admit, it is not as hard as I expected! I truly do miss teaching my students in the classroom and giving and getting real-life hugs, but this remote experience has a few wonderful perks. I love meeting with my students in our Zoom classes, and I also value our one-on-one Facetime sessions so very much. I do not just get to help my students individually but I also get to have so many meaningful life conversations that a regular school day might not allow for on a one-on-one level. The students and I tell jokes to each other, we share how our day was, and we show our pets or other things we have at home to each other. What a fun way to connect and build deeper relationships!

I am beyond grateful for my families, as well. Their kind and encouraging words and their unconditional love and grace towards me throughout this whole process are truly appreciated. God is so faithful to our Geneva community! He truly made this transition from teaching in the classroom to teaching remotely from home so much easier than I feared.

What a blessing to be able to see all of my students, teach them, and have fun with them, partnering with my students’ families daily, and at the same time being able to spend more time with my family at home and being able to help teach our daughter, too.

5 Tips to Stay Balanced during Quarantine

We are all out of our normal routines!  Some of us have more to do than usual and are feeling stressed due to steep learning curves to prepare for online learning, helping children with their learning at home, among other things.  Some of us are out of work and may be concerned about the lack of income.  We are all probably feeling a little disconnected and out of balance.  I’m sharing my top 5 tips to stay in balance during this unusual season:

 

Get Outside!
Whether you are crazy busy or not busy enough, you need to get yourself outside EVERY DAY!  A little fresh air and sunshine outside your 4 walls will keep you from feeling so cooped up and will help:
  • boost your immune system
  • improve your mood
  • keep your circadian rhythm on track to allow for better sleep
Aim for at least 15-30 minutes outdoors to exercise. Do yard work, walk the dog, play with your kids, or just deep breathe and soak up some Florida sunshine.  If you have children at home, they need to be outdoors too!

 

Move!
Whether you have extra time for exercise OR feel like there are not enough hours to do all that is asked of you right now, we ALL need a little movement to:
  • boost the immune system
  • improve mood
  • relieve stress
  • improve sleep
There are a lot of resources available to help you with “in home” workouts. YouTube and other internet sites (both free and subscription) provide an endless source of guidance.  This week my family has enjoyed the extra time at home to walk, run, bike, paddle board, explore a new nature trail, and do yoga together.  If you have children at home, they need you to set an example and have you engage with them to get them moving too!

 

Ask “What CAN I Do?”
During this time of uncertainty, we need to work extra hard to keep a positive mindset.  Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, like anxiety, fear, and depression.  While there is a lot that we CAN NOT do right now, there are lots of unique opportunities and things we CAN do that we often lack time for in our busy schedules.  Let’s reframe our words and mindset and not miss these special opportunities to make good use of this unusual enforced time at home.  May I suggest a few:
  • Spend time reading something you enjoy alone, or aloud with others
  • A little yard work each day…just 15 minutes of weeding or trimming each day will create a sense of accomplishment, and will get you outside
  • Declutter closets, tackle “honey do” lists, and check off home repairs
  • Exercise and get outside every day
  • Look for ways to serve others (a family member, a neighbor…) to keep you focused outward and not inward
  • Break out the board games, card games, and puzzles
  • Meditate on Scriptures that remind you that God is sovereign
  • Each evening think of 5 things to be grateful for from the day
If you have children in the house, they will feed off of your mood and attitude, so staying positive yourself will have ripple effects.  Get them involved in the list above.

 

Eat Fresh Food!
Thankfully the grocery stores have stayed open, and thankfully fresh food has stayed readily available, unlike toilet paper!  Use this time of confinement to cook real food at home, and be thankful we weren’t limited to weeks of canned food.  Cooking at home will have many benefits:
  • A nourished body and soul
  • Budget friendly
  • Opportunities to be connected as a family around the table
You may want to stick to family favorite recipes for comfort, or you may want to use this time to try some new recipes and be a little adventurous.  Some of my favorite healthy and easy Tasty Friday recipes are archived on the health & weillness page of our school website.  If you have children at home, this is a great opportunity to get them involved in the kitchen learning to chop, prepare a dish, or prepare a whole meal for the family.

 

Connect!
While “social distance,” “lockdown,” and “shelter in place” are the battle cries of the day, we are really just trying to keep a physical distance from others to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  We need to work harder at staying socially connected to each other during this quarantine.
  • Stay connected to your family, friends, and colleagues via text, video chats, or an old-fashioned phone call.  Be especially mindful of your older family and friends that may be feeling isolated
  • Take the opportunity to write an old-fashioned letter
  • Phone neighbors to check on them
  • When you are out on necessary errands be intentional to be encouraging and show gratitude to those working hard to serve you
  • Meet a friend outside in a park or trail to walk and talk
I have loved seeing the faces of upper school colleagues on Zoom for Morning Devotions we are sharing together each day. If you have children at home, you can encourage them to be creative in connecting with their friends and relatives,  too.

 

This challenging time will pass and become a page in the history books.  Until then, a little time outside, movement, a positive mindset, fresh food, and connection with others each day can help keep your balance and even enjoy this change of pace.

by Lou Jones,
Geneva School Nurse, RN, Health & Wellness Coach

The Geneva School
The Geneva School
July 10, 2020
  • Basketball Camp

    Date: July 10, 2020 - July 10, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
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July 13, 2020
  • Fitness & Fun with Coach C

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
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  • Creative Campers

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
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  • Lil' Knight Cheer Camp

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
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July 14, 2020
  • Fitness & Fun with Coach C

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • Creative Campers

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • Lil' Knight Cheer Camp

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

July 10, 2020
  • Basketball Camp

    Date: July 10, 2020 - July 10, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

July 13, 2020
  • Fitness & Fun with Coach C

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • Creative Campers

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • Lil' Knight Cheer Camp

    Date: July 13, 2020 - July 13, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

July 14, 2020
  • Fitness & Fun with Coach C

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 9:00 am- 12:00 pm
    See more details

  • Creative Campers

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • Lil' Knight Cheer Camp

    Date: July 14, 2020 - July 14, 2020
    Time: 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
    See more details

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