Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 18 2014

Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Coast

It’s Good Friday, and Friday is Good.
I am here at the cafe, KP waiting for me to go on a run at her apartment. About to pack up my things, to do list for tomorrow made, coffee drained.
It’s beautiful outside, 70s forecast for the week. Sandals on, toes painted, hair back, sun shining.
This is not the light at the end of a tunnel, this is a dance through a field between long and rugged paths.
I have work to do. I have four and a half more weeks of lessons to plan, training to design, partnerships to build, calls to make, assignments to spit out and post up on Blackboard. I’m not finished with anything except one of three current grad classes (four or five more on the horizon for the summer), but I have so much relief.
My heart is bloated with calm, with a peaceful kind of carbonation. My chin…

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Apr 08 2014

THE DAY OF TESTING

The tests have arrived. In perfectly aligned little rows, five rows of five, they test. They test and test and test. Not one, but four reading passages: eight multiple choice, one open response. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Why the choice is made to put ALL FOUR reading tests on one day and ALL FOUR math tests…

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Mar 30 2014

Books and Break

I spent this week in a haze of spring-break-alone-in-Little-Rock-root-canal-mush. Starting with a moderately psychotic spurt of “going out” in the traditional way us 20-somethings do, trotting through our favorite haunts of Little Rock, meeting musicians and democrats and people with overlapping professional circles. I was screaming out liberty, no longer tied to anything, free from…

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Mar 16 2014

Starting Spring

I’m having a hard time doing most things. Instead of facing all the work I have for ATC, or planning for the mere two weeks I have before our state test arrives, or running the nine miles I had slated for today, or anything else that I know I should and could be doing… I…

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Mar 10 2014

Disbelief

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are. Sitting in the immaculate Jacksonville Lighthouse cafeteria, I flipped through the tiny notebook I had brought with me for notes, the cover…

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Mar 01 2014

Terrified/Totalled/Trumped

March came! January and February took their days; January cold and dark, six o’clock bringing deep, quiet naps under three comforters; February days braced against the cold, chin to the sun, even a day or two above 60 degrees. I’m not sure I had any weekends off between Christmas break and the middle of February,…

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Jan 28 2014

Stopped.

For the first time in Caroline history, I solved a problem by not running. There are two personal constants I’ve had since seventh grade that I swear by: running and writing. I know in my deep little flickering soul that these two things are the core of my stability, my well-being, my clarification and my…

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Jan 16 2014

Arkansas Winter

I have a lot of work to do. This morning my homeroom class was incredibly stubborn, their eyes squinted, glaring, or piercing the linoleum. My voice was stern, little warmth, clear directions, fit for seven-year-olds, not pre-teens. Step by step we went. “First, your head. Hold it up without any help. Hands and fists down,…

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Jan 03 2014

Home

Before the holiday break, my students wrote to a TLI (test prep program used across Arkansas) prompt. It was their summative expository writing essay test: There are many places we might feel “at home.” Your teacher has asked you to describe the place where you feel most at home. Before you begin to write, think…

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Dec 19 2013

Romans 8:25

This is a different kind of tired. This is the kind of tired that may have permanently lost potentially the single most valuable tangible item I own. This is the kind of tired that drowns me, that puts a film over the earth, that beckons instantaneous tears and slow movements. The kind of tired that…

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