Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 18 2010

Since you brought it up.

One of the teachers recently asked me if I’m homesick. But she asked it as a statement, “Oh, you must be so homesick.” And I answered yes without a lot of explanation. I am homesick, but for things that don’t exist anymore– so I guess it’s more nostalia than anything else. I am homesick for a house where my mother, father, sister and brother all live together. I am homesick for ignorance of this kind of pressure. I’m homesickĀ for waking up in the morning and worrying about myself, not myself leading 120 little brains.

As I grade my TLI exams I think of things I want that don’t exist in the Delta (or are 1.5+ hours away) and thus that I am Kalamazoo-sick for. First being: coffee shops. Closest we have is McCafe. Next is any sort of breakfast place, diner, coffee, bagel, anything? Not here. Bookstores after that, or any sort of retail that is not a resale shop reeking of smoke in which everything is poorly maintained and piledĀ in the front yard (I love these places, I do, but not always). I miss walking to friends’ houses. Which I can do here, but it consists of one other house. Everyone else is at minimum 25 minutes, but mostly over 2 hours away.

The trade off is what I have that I never expected. It is breath-taking sunrises and sunsets every single day. It is the easiest runs of my life, because Arkansas is so so flat. It is 120 kids that are enraptured when I talk about Taiwan, because they’ve never even heard the word “Taiwan” before. It is learning learning learning, constant learning. Constant. About myself, about society, about education, about children, about electronics, about loneliness, about happiness, about loss. I love learning. It is just so much learning in such a concentrated time.

At least when I talk to friends we’re all in the same boat. Everyone is looking for success. Everyone is looking for love. Everyone is looking for a way to feel like s/he is doing something meaningful and prodcutive to society. We mostly want the same things. We are having a hard time finding them. All of us. It’s not just a Caroline thing.

I’ve had a headache for the past hour. Tomorrow I will attempt to use my Smartboard for more than just a powerpoint presentation for the first time. I am nervous something will go crazy and backfire, but we’ll see. Maybe not.

I need to be more specific, more productive, more planned. I need smaller bite-size goals that I can accomplish and feel good about. I need to write a parent letter I totally forgot about until just this second.

3 Responses

  1. Kristin

    I totally agree. Thank you for speaking so eloquently for all of us.

  2. Cindy

    Hey, my favorite TFA teacher, just want you to know that a bunch of TFA teachers in Houston are benefiting because of you! I recently ended our store/company Educator Appreciation Week, and as ever, I have boxes of stuff left over. Of course I have a goodie bag for you, and that got me thinking so I called the Houston office, and they are coming to pick up 7 boxes of stuff – teaching guides for upcoming books, ideas, work sheets, much like the things I sent you. You are inspiration, Caroline – you inspire me, your 120 little brains, and now, tons of other TFA teachers! Go Ms. Lampien, go!!!

    • That’s wonderful!! What a great idea! :) This made my night.

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