Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 18 2012

Running, Observations, ProSat

I promised myself I’d be in bed eight minutes ago, but I still have to finish this and read a chapter of my book.

My skin is dry. Today was cold: in the 70s. Arkansas meets fall 2012. After school I was exhausted, utterly, but went to the Arkansas Post with the girls and ran four miles “race pace” — 9 min miles for me. The weather, time of day, feeling, universe, existence: all were glory.

Come November myself and two other ELA teachers are running a half marathon in northern Arkansas. Running has been a huge priority for the month– over planning, over calling home, over “having fun” on weekends. I wake up at 7 or earlier on Saturdays and Sundays and I enjoy it. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this dedicated to a training schedule before, but it makes me feel purposeful, connected, and healthy.

In school the director of literacy for the TFA Delta observed fourth period. She said with a unique pair: one of the highest students in the grade & a resource student. I’m so curious to hear what she thinks beyond the note she left on my desk. I realized when she walked in that I was straight up nervous, something I didn’t expect because we’re already good friends.

ProSat was this past Saturday. I facilitated significantly less large group (thankfully! I was terrified after last month’s survey results) and significantly more small group. My course, which is about research and creative writing (two things I’ve done extremely little of in my own classroom) has five people in it. With a whole lot of honesty, a shared read, and a room that would fit 80 more than we had, it was a beautiful 90 minutes. We are all writing teachers, they are all 2nd year corps members, and we all light up when talking about writing. I was so impressed and relieved at the flow of the group. Finally, finally, I felt like a facilitator and not a teacher. Like I could comfortably put all the thinking on their shoulders and bear witness and redirect every so often. Or call time.

I feel so much more soothed this year.

It’s hard to find a voice in which to blog, because I’m not sure what perspective I’m writing from anymore. The TFA vet? The generic third year teacher? The ELA girl who’s been unfairly given a “writing expert” title by first and second year teachers? An empowered member of the Delta community?

The words come, but organization does not.

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