Archive for June, 2009

Making a Difference

June 21, 2009

(Yep. Late again. But hey, my weekend was full of stuff.)

As part of one of my college assignments, I had to watch this short movie and type a reflection of it. Basically, I had to type about the underlying message of the video and then type at how it can help me as a future teacher.

I watched the movie a second time just before doing the assignment to make sure I understood it clearly. However, the second time I watched it, it really touched my heart. (The first time, it didn’t, mainly because I was too busy writing in my notebook information about the movie’s story and everything to really dive deep into it.)

I suddenly remembered one of the reasons why I became a teacher. I wanted to give students the support I never had when I was a student, myself. I wanted to make a difference in each students’ lives. I wanted to tell those who were felt that they cannot succeed with school “yes you can, and I will help you get there.” Simply put, I wanted to be the big brother I never had. And now, as a teacher, I can do just that.

There was one more thing I learned while typing the reflection. Having the mind of a teacher is not enough. You need the heart of a teacher, as well. That includes having a passion for teaching and the willingness to go the extra mile to assist a struggling student in whichever way possible.

According to Romans 12:6-8, teaching is also one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

I believe that I possess the gift of teaching. I also believe to possess other gifts, but that is a blog for another time. I am not the only person who bears witness to the first statement. My pastor and principal, the ones who hired me, recognized this gift as well, even before I did.

I want to continue to impact students’ lives. I want to exercise the Gifts of the Spirit as much as my Lord wills.

Done Before It Began

June 13, 2009

This ends my first week back at college. It definitely feels good to return to college, not only for learning, but also to make use of what I learned academically and spiritually in the past year and a half. Because of the classes I am taking, the semester ends after three weeks. Also, the classes are scheduled in a way that I am teaching summer school in the morning and going to classes right after. I expected to get worn out, but I am surprised at how well that turned out. I’m guessing it relates to Isaiah 40:31.

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So, I had a project that was due last Thursday. I had to interview two different teachers. (The same project was assigned in both of my education classes, but both had different questions.) At first glance, the first thing that came out of my mouth as I was driving home later was “This assignment was done before it even began.” Mostly, I was reflecting on my own experience as a teacher, but I wasn’t planning on interviewing myself. That would be silly. So, I wanted to go to two separate schools to do the interview. The problem was, I had no time to do that. By the time I got to my free time, school would already be out. And besides, it is summer. Not many schools I know of have a summer school program. I couldn’t get a day off from work, either, because I was too late in informing my principal.  As I was going to college, Tuesday, I was thinking about what I said about the assignment getting done before it started. I felt that I used my mouth before my head, because I could not think of how my statement could’ve been true. I prayed silently, “My Lord, I know that if I acknowledge You in all my ways, You will make my paths straight. So, I ask that you show me the way that I am not seeing.” So, I asked my college teacher if I could have an extended due date. She declined, but she did tell me that I could interview teachers from my own school, even if they do teach the same class. I was so excited at the end of the day. The next morning, I got the interviews. However, that afternoon, my laptop computer died. The laptop that I have been using for 5 and a half years finally died. Though I was no longer in the mood to do anything, my dad and I went to buy a new computer. This time, I wanted a desktop computer, and I wanted to buy it with my own money. So, my dad helped me out with buying a computer, and I bought it with my own money. I must say, $700 isn’t that bad. I’m thankful that my Lord supplied me with the money in advance for this computer. Anyway, back to the project.

That night, I got the computer up and running, but it took me until some time after 1 AM to finish typing up my projects. I was saying, “My Lord, I’m going to definitely need your help here. I’m going to have about 5 hours of sleep, and I’m going to work and college, tomorrow. I trust that you will keep me awake tomorrow.”

That day, I went to work, but not before getting some coffee. I was amazed at how well I was able to work that day. I was still able to work at school, and I got through both classes without falling asleep, not to mention that I went through some long drives between work and college.

Now that I think about it, my assignment was truly done before it began, not because of what I said, but because of Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Final Fantasy 4: The After Years (WiiWare)

June 6, 2009

Sorry for my lateness. I have been incredibly lazy, recently. Some of it came from playing Final Fantasy 7 for hours at a time just to try to get to the next part of the game. That, and I’ve been playing some Spyro the Dragon. Anyway, I will talk about a game that came out recently, because I think some people are curious of whether or not this game is on par with the original.

Ok, first thing I want to push out of the way is how the story is broken up. The portion of the game with Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa, comes with downloading the game. Additional portions of the storyline that revolve around other characters cost 300 Wii points each, with the exception of the final downloadable story, which might be the grand finale. That portion is worth 800 points, the same amount as the game, itself. Currently, only one other story is available: Rydia.

As for how the game flows, I’d say it feels much like the original Final Fantasy 4. One thing I noticed, though, is that Ceodore levelled up quite quickly, and by the time I was done with his segment, he was in his mid-30s. I guess it slows down as the story progresses, though, but I’m not certain. Many, if not all, monsters return in this game. You may notice that the difficulty rises a bit faster in this game. This can be even more noticeable in Rydia’s portion of the game. Also, you will gain a sizable party pretty quickly, so before long, you’ll have four characters to use. Some of those characters, however, play a minor role in the game.

The graphics borrow from the Game Boy Advance version of the game. This time, non-battle character sprites are now 16 x 32 pixels, as opposed to 16 x 16 pixels. In other words, you’ll notice that the characters are twice as tall. However, during flashbacks, the characters will use their original 16 x 16 size. Personally, I say that the game looks beautiful, despite the size change.

As far as the storyline goes, my personal opinion is that a game’s story is good when the player is eager to unravel a mystery within the game. In Ceodore’s case, there is the mystery of the hooded man. That character kept me wondering who he is, and I played a lot of the game in one sitting for that reason. Of course, there are other mysteries, but I won’t reveal them here. So basically, I found the story very entertaining.

Next, I want to talk about gameplay features exclusive to this game. First off is the moon feature. Certain actions are doubled in power or halved depending on the moon’s phase. And, on at least one occasion, a moon-phase-specific event is available, and I don’t mean those relating to the storyline. So, unless the game says otherwise, you may want to choose when you want to enter a dungeon. Like, if you want to pack on attack power, wait until the moon is in its waning phase. Another new feature is the Band command. When you select this feature, you can pair up with one or more characters to use a powerful joint attack. Right now, I’m not sure if the chance of discovering a new Band is 100% successful, so I’ll need to play a bit more to find out.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who has played the original Final Fantasy 4 for SNES, GBA, or DS. The game is split up into portions, making the price reasonable. It has a lot of nostalgic moments, but the feel is fresh.