Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brain Work

Lately, I've been doing four suduko puzzles a day and at least two crossword puzzles a week. It's probably an addiction...I don't feel right unless I do them. Like, if I don't work out at the gym, I miss it.

Does it make a difference? I'm not sure yet. Working on puzzles is supposed to keep dementia or senility at bay, and keep our minds sharp. When I work out physically, the scale shows the result. But how do I measure if I am getting smarter?

Teaching English is a sort of puzzle, especially when I am having a conversation with a beginner. Today, I visited a student from my ESL class and we talked for almost three hours. Most of the time, she was having a hard time finding the right word, or if she had the right word, her pronunciation might be off. Or she didn't understand what I meant. We drew pictures, wrote out sentences, pantomimed until we got it right. It took work and required a lot of patience, but we did it. I actually had fun trying to guess what she was saying or finding a way to help her understand me.

Dennis and I lead a Bible study for ESL students, and Dennis' job is to teach and my job is to mainly listen. I listen to Den to make sure that he's saying things correctly and I listen to the students to understand their questions and help Dennis answer them. In many ways, teaching the Bible to students from five or six different countries with various exposure to the Gospel (between none to a lot)and various levels of speaking English is like a puzzle. It takes an extra set of ears and eyes to observe without having the distraction of teaching to assess the situation and discern how to assist. Sometimes, God gives me cross references to help explain or give clarity. The more I observe, it seems, the more I learn.

And learning is work.

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