Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 07 2012

Beginning or end.

You know, I have two full weeks left with my kids, not even. Wednesday I have release time in the morning to plan for next year (seriously! Thank you, Dumas!) Friday my sister is coming to visit.

Please understand: Friday my sister is coming to visit.

Not sure if I ever posted about the crying fest I had during block when she told me she wasn’t coming to see my room, my friends, my town, what my life has been for two years without her, without my mother, without any immediate family– but it happened one day, during school, then I wrote everyone off for not caring about my life here. Well. She proved she cared, did it of her own accord, told the Dumas folk she was coming and had intentions to surprise me but auntie might have accidentally spoiled it. Either way, I am dying. An hour after she told me she’s coming I accidentally started sobbing in the first bathroom stall of a pizza place. Came out to hug Leaf and tell her how surprised I was at my emotional response. Proceeded to have a messy Thursday night in Little Rock.

Not to be repeated.

But after that Thursday night, with that news, was the Friday of our sixth grade talent show.

And oh what a talent show it was. I didn’t post last week because our dress rehearsal Wednesday was a huge negative afternoon in which I did too much scolding and not enough praise. Where we worked hard and all walked away disappointed and unsure of what would happen Friday.

But the show itself– it was insane. I had boys step-challenging each other for five full minutes. I had girls singing their souls into microphones, a second grader boldly belting out Hannah Montana to half the school, my favorite sub Mr. W singing Amazing Grace because we forced him to. I got pied in the face not the expected two times but six, and could have cried because of how proud I was of Team Talent, the eight girls that started and ended the entire thing by my side. I can’t believe it happened.

Then after school, after  shower where I washed my hair three times in an attempt to get all the whipped cream out, we drove to Memphis. Memphis for CMA (Corps Member Adviser) training. Where I met my school team in which I will help train and guide and witness the glory that is the 2012 corps. I cannot believe I accepted this job, but I am filled with an explosive gratitude for it. Immediately bonded with my school team. Within the first hour we told our “personal stories” in which I prefaced mine with “I have two versions of this story. One that I brush off, say quickly and without real emotion. And one that comes out after three hours at a restaurant, when we’re in love. I’m giving you the latter because you deserve it and I know we will be in love.” Then proceeded to explain the year my mom died, the way she pressed education in such an off-handed expectation kind of way, how I want that for my students, how I wish she was coming with my sister this Friday. When my voice broke but no tears fell I instead found them pouring out of the eyes of my school team, the people I will thankfully be surrounded with for six weeks of summer.

Needless to say, the weekend was phenomenal. It was everything I needed.

Somewhere in there, I was accepted to be a Learning Team Leader for ELA next year– a position I vocally struggled with even applying to for weeks. Not sure if I believe in the mission of Professional Saturdays in the Delta. Not sure if I feel qualified or cut out for a TFA commitment in my third year. But it’s right.

Now I have two more weeks, ten school days then promotion to live in these moments with my gorgeous sixth graders. To instill in them everything I can before they keep growing, changing, moving to the junior high where they will excel and succeed and fail and make decisions that will continue to determine their life trajectories.

I can’t believe my friends are mine. I can’t believe my family is mine. I can’t believe I have this job, this town, this life, this drive, these opportunities. There is no where else I need to be; there is no where else I want to be; everything feels right.

2 Responses

  1. Kristiena

    You are amazing.

  2. els

    About the whipped cream: I got pied in the face too, and I’m pretty sure it took me three or four showers to get the sticky feeling out of my hair. I feel sticky again just LOOKING at the pictures from that day.
    Also, you’re awesome.

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