As I write, I am in a tank top and skort (!) sitting in the Delta State University student union with my collab (read: collaborative partner; person who is teaching the same group of kids I am during all of institute), melting. It is 101 degrees outside and will likely remain so for the next six weeks. I love Mississippi.
I’m serious though, I love Mississippi. This week we headed to our schools, where we’ll be working and teaching for the rest of institute. On Friday we got our rooms: ours is 115, an apparent music room that has a piano and xylophones against the wall. Our room is BIG, but had no desks at first. This means that of the mere hour we had to set up all our posters, put names on seats, write objectives on the board, goals on the wall, rules… we spent half of just getting desks into the room. I say this not to complain, because most people made all those posters over the weekend anyway, but to show that you can’t expect anything, just have to respond to what you’re given.
There have been so many things that I wrote in my notes or on my hand or in my agenda for updating this blog, telling family things I’ve learned and people I’ve met, goals I’ve made. I think the most important thing is something I told Papa Lamp on the phone while wishing him a happy father’s day: This is the most engaged I’ve been in my work in years. For the past two or three years, school for me was a means to an end. I knew I needed a degree, and had to pick something, so I did it. I loved school, don’t get me wrong, but my professors will gladly attest to my lack of commitment to my program. Here, I feel absolutely committed, invested, engaged, and EXCITED straight down to my core. I am desperate to learn, I am frantic to succeed. I think a huge difference is the fact that I am not the person on the line here, my students are.
I’m starting off teaching math. I’ll be teaching math most of the time, then reading for I think the last week of institute. I met two of my students during the reading testing and have bonded with my collab during sessions this past week. We’re continuously learning management, how to plan objectives, how to teach and enforce behavioral expectations, how to deal with each other, how to incorporate literacy, what literacy is, etc etc etc.
Best part of today (and now that I think about it there were a lot of great parts already but this tops) was talking to mah freend Meggie Hank, who I met at the Philly Institute in 2009. We’ve now graduated from OCs to CMs, but she’s in Detroit and I’m in the Delta. It was so good to, as said on the phone, talk to someone who is in the circle, but out of the circle. She has the same TFA experience I do, but her corps is totally different, her training is different, her background is different. And I love her with all my heart.
My birthday was Wednesday– my school site, collab, and breakfast comrades (aka the entire cafeteria) all sang to me. I wore a “it’s my birthday!” button all day then lesson planned until the wee hours of the next morning. Friday sister’s gift arrived: a Mississippi Mud cake! Couldn’t have been a better way to end the week… except there was: Catfish fry on the quad with free beer! I’m not a huge drinker, but a Friday happy hour was definitely a great way to end the week.
Tomorrow is the first day in the classroom! I’m just administering a test (the ISAT), but it’s totally nerve-wracking all the same. I also am so excited I feel my body may burst out of my skin. My teacher career can officially begin!