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    Coaching Volleyball

    This post is a bit overdue since our last game was in October.… But one of my favorite times of the school year is volleyball season. This year’s team was made up of boys from seventh to twelfth grade. This was my second season as an assistant coach. I enjoy coaching because it gives me a chance to connect with some of the secondary students I do not have in class.


    Cheerleading sign

    Leah’s cheerleaders made this sign. They hung it up in the school on game days.


    Jumping up for a block


    We had a strong season and won all of our matches but two. We had a solid starting six that worked well together and were good leaders on and off the court. We came in second place in one tournament and had two players named to the all-tournament team. This was an exciting time for our guys and they played great.


    Team huddle


    This year I felt more comfortable in my role and was able to contribute more during practices. I have enjoyed learning more about volleyball. Before coming to Turkey, I liked to play pick-up games. Coaching has made me more interested and excited about competitive team volleyball. There were several practices where I stepped in and played with the guys as we ran drills. I often found myself working to better my own skills and become more educated in order to be a better coach.






    Volleyball was an exciting and rewarding beginning to the school year. Although I was very busy, I enjoyed forming relationships with the students and other coaches.


    Volleyball team



    Running Club’s 10K to Panora

    During the last two months, I trained with the running club. The running club met once a week since last fall. It is a group of sixth grade students led by two friends of mine. After running in the ActiveWater 5k, the running club set a goal to run 10 kilometers from our neighborhood to Panora Mall.

    The two boys that ran with me are both in my sixth grade class. I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with them outside of the formal classroom setting. As we ran, we worked together to find a reasonable, but challenging pace.


    Running Club's 10k race


    Panora Mall


    Because we live in Ankara, the first 6 or 7 kilometers were pretty much uphill, with over 600 feet in altitude gain. We were fortunate to have a good downhill finish.


    Nike Run Info


    Running towards Panora


    When we reached the finish, there were friends waiting for us with water and congratulations.


    Approaching the finish line


    I am proud of all of my running partners. They demonstrated hard work and perseverance throughout the race. I’ve had a lot of fun and am thankful for the conversations we’ve had on the trail.


    The Running Club


    Volleyball and Fall Carnival

    For the past several weeks, I have been helping two of my co-workers and friends coach the boys volleyball team. I’ve learned a lot and have enjoyed getting to know some of the older kids. (I contact with all of the elementary students at least once a week, but I rarely see the secondary students.)

    I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the coaches, Bo and Greg. Both are extremely dedicated to their work with the kids at Oasis. It was fun to see them work together and I was encouraged by their willingness to help me learn. It is obvious they are influential role models at the school.


    Oasis Volleyball

    One of our volleyball games earlier this season.


    This week was the big tournament to wrap up the season. We had two games on Wednesday, one game on Thursday, and one game on Saturday. We went into Saturday’s game confident, having won all of our previous games. The opposing team was also undefeated and they ended up winning the championship. The first set Oasis played had a close score the entire game and ended 24–26. The boys played hard the rest of the match, but could not squeeze out a win. I was very proud how the team demonstrated sportsmanship and character, even in a loss.

    To add to the craziness of a week filled with the volleyball tournament, teacher observations, PSATs, and a college fair (there were five schools from Michigan!) our school hosted the annual Fall Carnival on Friday. Fall Carnival is a time of fun and food put on by the students, teachers, and parents of Oasis. Each class is responsible for designing a game for the carnival. Parents and students sign up for shifts. There’s an international cafe and plenty of candy to go around.

    My sixth graders designed a game for our classroom called “Secret Agent Man.” The students were very excited and each donated three lira towards extra “mega” prizes. It turned out our game was slightly complicated, and I hung around the classroom most of the night to make sure it ran smoothly. It was a lot of work, but the students had so much fun. It was also nice spending time with the parents. They are all very nice and care so much about their kids.


    Fall Carnival Prizes


    Fall Carnival Game


    One of the highlights of my night was liking sushi for the first time! The International Cafe is comprised of food prepared by parents. Each dish represents a different culture. It was fun to try the different foods, but the sushi really stuck out to me. I’ve tried some fo-sushi in the States and never liked it. However, the rice and the fish were perfectly put together and it was delicious.


    International Cafe at Fall Carnival


    To wrap up the busy week, Leah and I walked to a local restaurant on Saturday for dinner. It was nice to slow down and enjoy each other.

    When we got back, we took some time to call home. My grandpa just celebrated his 88th birthday. It was great to catch up with him and Grandma. He is one of my most influential role models and has sacrificed so much to bring our family where we are today.

    We only have school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week because of the Byram holiday. On Thursday, we are traveling to Izmir and Ephesus for a few days!



    1. Health for us, the other teachers, and students: As it must be at every other school, there is (always) something going around. We’ve been fighting sore throats and other aches and pains for the past couple of weeks. Please pray we will not get sick so we can teach and serve the kids!
    2. Our ESL Kids: We have several students that are English as a Second Language. They have made impressive progress since the beginning of the year. Please pray they will continue to learn quickly.
    3. Safe travel: As I mentioned, we are going to Izmir and Ephesus later this week. We’re traveling with two other teachers via bus.