Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 30 2011

Year ends.

It took an email subscription from GOOD for me to really process that despite having half of a work-year left, this is the end of a real year. Soon comes January, soon comes the end of 2011, soon comes resolutions and new things. Or something?

It’s interesting: time, and how we track it. The three dominating annuals beginning with a) the start of school, b) January 1, c) birthdays.

I’ve been sitting in this Michigan Panera since it was light out and raining. I walked my dog this morning, and talked to myself in the car on the way here. Sometimes I’m awake for five or six hours before I realize I haven’t spoken a word all day, and begin talking to myself to make up for it.

My brain is going to be in a big gooey mess for the next month minimum, guaranteed. Yesterday I had a call scheduled with Oak Park Prep principal and, voila, after a month or two in this process, I have an offer to be a founding 7th grade social studies/ELA teacher at a tiny charter in Sacramento. New grade, new content, and 50% pay raise. If I accept it working at Institute and going to Isreal (if accepted to either) are out. Sacramento training starts in mid-July.

Being in Michigan for a week has done a lot of strange things to my overall perspective of the world. I love my students but have a hard time placing them in my head, aside from abstract names or tests sitting in my work bag. I miss my Dumas TFA friends, but finally feel “normal” enough to level with and feel close to my home friends again. A year not talking hasn’t changed much when our friendship has existed for a decade.

I am slightly coherent when thinking about various geographic regions: Connecticut, Brooklyn, Sacramento, New Orleans. Where do I want to be? What do I want to be doing? Do I want to be calm and pleasant in the wet, flat Delta? Alone, or herding a tribe of first-years in the district I’ve called home for two years? Do I want to be foraging an entirely new content area with a principal that believes in me, but that I already had to put in extra hours of work to even get an offer from? Do I want to be working in corporate New York America? Talking about fonts, hex codes, and clients? What will keep me happy? What will keep me fulfilled? What will drown me?

The more I think about it, the more I pull to get away from winter. To live in a perpetual base temperature (coughcaliforniacough). Something sounds soothing about the west coast, much more soothing than the delta or east coast craze. Part of me thinks that if I go there pieces of me will start to heal that I didn’t know were broken. But I also have a weight in my gut poking a finger, calling me an escapist.

Part of me says, “More people will actually come to visit in California, odd as that seems considering milage!” Part of me says, “Social life has a chance to exist!” Part of me says, “What is– what are you building here? What are you working for? What’s the point?”

Today I finished my application for Achievement First, finished as much as I can until they decide they do or don’t like me at MATCH, and graded one class of reading tests, which I volunteered to do so Ms. Reading Teacher can have baby time over break. Now I’m going to Ferndale to play video games and stop shaking from this coffee.

6 Responses

  1. Jessie

    Where do you find the time to write in all of this?? Anyways, keep at it!

    • Ohhh girl, it’s not a matter of finding time. If I don’t do it my brain combusts without warning. Writing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. :)

  2. Wess

    I love that I get to be along for the ride on this decision.
    I also love that you talk to yourself for the same reason I do! Sometimes I’m afraid my voice will be gone if I don’t. Like the Little Mermaid.
    This is why I should never live alone.

    You’ve also got me thinking about the soothing feeling of the West Coast. I’m trying to discern whether it really is a West Coast thing, or whether it’s just a feeling I get from proximity to the Pacific Northwest in general.

    I encourage you write your guts out about this. And make a weighted pros and cons list, if that kind of thing helps. :)

    • Well good God, move to Sacramento and we can just talk to each other. :D

  3. Shoshana McIntosh

    If you go to California… I might as well just go back to Taiwan..

    Whatever choice you make, you’ll still be you and you’ll grow and you’ll become.

    And I’ll still love you WHEREVER you are!

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