Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 18 2012

Institute Take 3, Day 1.

Oh, the glory.

I went to bed half past two, and woke up at five. Forty-five minutes later Mo, Mary-C and I were driving to Belzoni, shrieking with delirious sleep-deprived laughter about nothing.

Arrived just before seven to locked gates. On the first day of school.

I feigned the ability to exist as I shuffled around my CMA room. Remembered that I never printed nor finished my action plan for the week. Was herded to my duty post in the first through fourth grade, where I was told to check that students were on the roster then herd them to their classes. My roster was missing a page and didn’t have room assignments for students. Rosters on the door arrived ten minutes later. Students absent from the roster were herded, like cats, to the library.

One boy, desperate to stay in summer school but not in fact registered for it, tried multiple times to escape the library, pleading with his entire body to be in a classroom.

The next hour and a half were spent labeling kids, asking how they got to school, discovering if they were registered or not, acquiring final number of classes to see if we could squeeze one or fifteen more into the classes. Almost every elementary class is now filled to capacity.

Then I could begin my first observation.

I chugged coffee and craved hugs, laughed hysterically when, at the end of the day, Sam desperately tried to pull the melted silly putty from his pants, an hour after spilling lemonade all over them.

On the ride home I hummed to top 40 radio, slipped my bare feet out of my heels. Reveled in the memory of a tenth grader asking, “Miss?” “Yes?” “Who are you? You the principal?” “Do I look like the principal?” “Well, yes.”

Quite the upgrade from my sixth graders mistaking me for a peer every day in Dumas.

Then I told Mary-C sorry, sorry the group of credit recovery students that don’t even go to our school harassed her publicly, inappropriately, and absolutely maliciously at the end of our volunteered lunch duty. Lunch at our school genuinely does not feel safe, but we’re supposed to have a security guard there tomorrow.

At DSU I had an observation debrief (my first!) during which I spent too much time watching my salad. Then a lesson planning clinic that I left at ten-thirty. Now eleven, I’m abandoning any worry of anything and going to bed for maybe six hours, if I’m lucky.

Theory is so much prettier than practice.
(But I still absolutely love my job.)

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