Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 23 2013

Tired Girl & a Spiderman App

When I came home from my run tonight I was poised at the kitchen counter, spreading peanut butter and jelly on a tiny tortilla for dinner, when I dropped my phone. This is a pretty usual occurrence, at minimum four times a day. When I did this I almost giggled– the Spiderman App is available from both sides of my phone already, has been for a while. I only got glass stuck in my thumb once.

Anyway, I reached down to get it, slid to the floor, stayed there. Deflected irritating comments on facebook chat. Hoped a bug wouldn’t crawl on me.

I was tired.

I am tired.

Katie, the TFA art teacher who works at three of the five schools in our district, told me that she introduced herself to her class not with her old signature Charlie Brown dance move but with “The Miss L knee jiggle” and all her seventh graders busted up- “That’s what she does! That’s exactly what she does!”

Yesterday I accidentally called one of my students by his brother’s name. Twice. It was the third time that I noticed and corrected myself.

Many of my answers to questions start with, “Last year…” or “What I first got here…” or “Well now what I do is…” or any other host of phrases that indicate time spent here, in this building, with these kids, doing this work.

It’s no longer a when did this happen but now an overwhelming this is happening in the best kind of anxiety-riddled way. No longer do I have the aching twisted pit of eternity hiding in my gut (one that a summer fellow mentioned via facebook status today that I relate to phenomenally well)… instead I have a responsibility to do not the best for my kids (though that’s an obvious priority), but what’s best for my school and what’s best for my district. Talk about a run on sentence.

We have two new teachers on my team. I understand what’s it’s like to want to stand on your island, reign in isolation, maintain control. For the first time ever I find myself saying I would like to teach in a self-contained classroom. Aside from not knowing ANYTHING about math or science, having that much control over the environment and messaging to students would be incredible. The switch from five classes to two is, at the moment, glorious. I am obsessed with my fifty students. I am in love with the way the sit in their seats. I am impressed with their three minute 45 second bathroom break record. I am in awe that all but two students have submitted every piece of paperwork, and that the majority of them did our first night of homework on the second day of school.

I’m exhausted. I stayed on the kitchen floor until roommate found me, unsurprised. He opened the fridge door, I told him I couldn’t move, he went back to his room.

I have a wall calendar. I’ve been tracking the number of hours I sleep, the number of miles I run, and the number of hours I work. From Sunday until now those numbers are 28, 14, and 49. Tomorrow I drive the four hours to Fayetteville so Sunday I can interview for my third job… which is really just the second part of my second job.

Feels good to get my hands dirty, to talk to parents every night, to be tired. Tomorrow is Friday, school has begun.

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