This SOUL trip, so far, has been so much fun, and it’s only the third day, second with the students! For me, it has been fun to see all of the students and the number of them who remember me because I was here last year. I remember the majority of them, their faces but not necessarily their names. I have come to realize that I am worse at remembering names than I thought. Which that isn’t good, considering I plan on being a teacher in the future! I guess that means I have more time to practice! Within the past two days, I have had to ask the sixth grade girls their names about five times within a minute–I am getting better though!

Today’s day started with a spelling bee with the whole school. There was a boy and a girl from each grade. I was really impressed in how well they all did. Especially as someone mentioned, English is most of the students’ second language. Just as yesterday, I helped fix up the school yard in the morning. It has started to look so much better even though we have done a few little things. The thing I wish I could help change is the field. It isn’t even a real field, it is a giant patch of dirt. The students don’t really seem to mind though because they all enjoy playing soccer so much. While fixing up the school yard, we cleaned out the garden shed. There were three bags of cement mix, each weighing 80 pounds that we were taking out. Originally we were going to put them by the dumpster for people to take, but Mr. Ralph, a cute older man who helps at the school, said he would take them. We got a dolly to move them because there was no way we were going to carry them to the car! After they were on the dolly I started to pull it and it didn’t move. The tire instantly became flat because of all the weight. Laughing, we made it to the car and opened the trunk to load them in.

Being with the students always puts a smile on my face. It’s super cheesy, but it’s so true. I have connected with the sixth grade girls the most so far. They call me over, and we just talk about random things. The conversations themselves have little meaning but being able to make connections with them is everything. It’s the little things in life that count. Recently, I have had to remind myself that I need to find the joy in the little things in life. This trip so far is helping me realize that even more. Just seeing the students laugh and being able to joke around with me makes me so happy. That is one of the main reasons I wanted to come back to Tulsa so badly this year. The students are just so great. I like to think that I am helping make a difference in their lives, but honestly it is them who are making a difference in my life. They are helping me realize to be thankful for the relationships I have.

After dinner tonight we watched the movie Wonder. It was my first time seeing it, and I have wanted to see it. I also need to read the book! The entire movie would constantly make me think and realize so many things. Like I said before, it is the little things in life. It makes me wonder about the things in life I have taken for granted or just moved past and not thought about. It also made me think about what you say, how you treat people and make them feel can affect them in so many ways. Everybody is going through something in life, and it is important to take notice of that. As Auggie says in the movie, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle and if you really want to see who people are, all you have to do is look.”


– Emma Mockler