Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 29 2011

Separation of School and Life.

This has been an amazing thing: my life, at large. (Escaped.)

I don’t mean to sound cryptic, I just think over Thanksgiving break I might have found something. (Stated while perpetually knocking on wood, please let this not have been a fake-discovery.) See, previously my life was these two factions: Caroline the Michiganian, the semi-artist, the girl that wears Nike high tops and doesn’t wash her hair for three days, who sleeps three hours a night, who goes goes goes; then Caroline the teacher, the hoity-toity Teach-For-America corps member, yeah that organization, yeah I was one of those few accepted, except -oh!- I fail all the time, except I have no confidence or solid Delta relationships, except this is like working a really insane masochistic after-school volunteer job that isolates you from anything and everything that has ever grounded you except for you own brain and OH YEAH your brain does not ground you.

If you followed that, good work.

Now. The present is some miraculous and obviously plainly expected merging of the two. Suddenly, teaching is not a tortuous pastime, but an… occupation? This is my life? This is my career? Somewhere along the line Teach For America gave me, at the least, a direction to go in, something I didn’t have in college. Instead of selfishly wondering what the hell I’m going to do, ever, I have 120 little faces holding me accountable. Who cares what I want, these kids need to learn something. Lord knows if I’m providing something to learn, but at least I’m trying.

Too tangential.

My point is that over this break my worlds collided, and I feel like teacher-me is not just some surgically applied appendage that I can’t function. Teacher-me is, in fact, me. The extremes are less. I talk about school at home. I talk about home at school. I am finding middle ground.

Kinda depressing that I only have (potentially) six months to enjoy it, before my life (potentially) gets flipped on its head again.

Speaking of, Sacramento principal is observing me for two hours tomorrow, and I can’t decide if I’m largely apathetic or terrified out of my mind. I’ve lost three pounds in three weeks and leave to observe Achievement First on Thursday morning. As put together as I remind myself I am, my life continues to be a (excuse the alarmingly awful analogy) whirlwind.


14 Responses

  1. ms. p

    I. love. this. Thanks. I feel that many of us feel this weird dichotomy when entering the corp.

    • Yayyyy… glad I’m not further isolated! ;) I feel like I must be a little late to the boat, considering I’ve been teaching a year and a half now, but hey. I guess two years is what it takes to START adjusting to something. Sigh…

  2. tyler middleton

    You just described my life.

    • TYLER!!!!!! Maybe our lives can cross paths again… soon…!?

      • tyler middleton

        Perhaps, perhaps. James Bacon is our director down here in the Louisiana Delta and he invited us up for the Christmas party yall have and such, so we’ll see. I’d like to come visit other parts of the Delta this spring, although I will probably be busy driving to Dallas planning my wedding (!). But I really want to visit.

  3. Wess

    Wow! What caused the merge? Or … the realization of the merge?

    • Hmmm… I have a cousin who’s the director of alumni affairs for TFA Detroit. I spent my Thanksgiving talking with her and a 2010 Detroit corps member entirely about education. Branching teaching with Michigan life was a huge thing. I also have been completely inundated with 3rd year prospects and the idea of being a TEACHER and not just a TFA CM for (at least a few more years) is becoming increasingly realistic. Thus… merging…

  4. els

    Yeah seriously! I’m jealous! I want that :).

  5. So interesting. I actually began trying to separate my personal and professional life over break because they’ve been indistinguishable for the past two and a half months. To each his (her) own, I guess?

    • Do you work in a charter? I feel like that’s when that’s most likely to happen. I feel pretty isolated from my staff, unfortunately, because I haven’t been focusing on those relationships much. I TALK about school a lot, but I don’t feel like it has infiltrated my personal life at all. I guess mostly because I think few people can relate to it in a way where I’d feel they were actually combined. I think for me it was more that I didn’t even have a personal life to begin with, and now I am finding balance enough to be a human outside of school, and lovin’ it!

  6. Ms. Math

    someone wrote a whole dissertation about how I started to view myself as a teacher after months in the classroom. At first, my personal identity was separate from my teacher identity. And then eventually the two merged-if your post had been up before he published, I’m sure he would have used it as data!

    • WOW! That is so great! That is a huge reason why I love this (and any/all) blogging websites so much. I love how technology and web-based communication is ‘research’. At the NCTE conference I just went to in Chicago I went to a few panels that used facebook chat discussions, emails, and texts as data. So interesting.

      That was a huge sidenote, but yes. YES. Merging is so awesome. Being this far in I totally understand and appreciate the fusion. I’m not expecting it to stay in this lovely golden place, but this first realization has been straight up glorious!

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