Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 16 2014

Starting Spring

I’m having a hard time doing most things. Instead of facing all the work I have for ATC, or planning for the mere two weeks I have before our state test arrives, or running the nine miles I had slated for today, or anything else that I know I should and could be doing… I read. I read and I clean my room.

My head and heart are caught. Caught between preparing for the too-soon future of a potential new job (which isn’t even posted yet, which I haven’t applied to, which I don’t have), new city, new life and focusing on enjoying the present. I don’t want to either.

I don’t want to prepare for talent show auditions tomorrow. I don’t want to get ahead in my grad school work (or caught up, depending on how you look at it). I don’t want to move forward in the work for ATC. I don’t want to plan my unit. I don’t want to connect with old or new or current friends. I don’t want to do anything.

I’ve been caught and hating thinking about why this is. Why am I completely adverse to moving forward? Why am I shuddering at the thought of facing the now with determination and the future with hope? Why did I come home from school and immediately crawl into three hour naps two days this week? Why did my nine mile run turn into two mile elliptical, two mile jog

I’m depressed but not.

My heart is ripped in half for the losses I don’t want to claim, for the knowledge of how petty they are compared to all the stories I know. I ache daily for the growing number of former students who have, euphemistically, “gotten into trouble” since I’ve taught them three years ago. For the old, worn in house I’ve lived in for four years (and haven’t moved from yet, Caroline!!) For the energetic mom who will not be here for yet another major transition in my life. For the Delta-moved-big-city boy who is an inconsistent constant returning to the background yet again. For the Round Two Dumas Family who will disperse and fade, just as the first family did. For all the students I wake up to every Monday morning, for the fact that they will grow and learn and change and become humans that I will not know, that I have no right knowing after May of this year.

My little heart is rocking back and forth daily, a gentle spring sway with the sounds and smells of a new season. Outside, breathing deep and developing the skeleton of projects I won’t finish or start. Inside, humbled by the journals I skim through from 2012, 2010, 2008, holding all my tiny thoughts and tiny changes and tiny relationships I’ve had.

Spring break is in five teaching days, after which will be the last long stretch of Dumas teaching that I will face for what I expect to be a while. Every day I look at all the tiny faces open, eager, bursting as they peer at me, expecting. I look at them and want to slump for lack of planning, lack of drive, lack of commitment in my own flesh. I look at them and want to rise like bread dough in an oven, filling up my classroom, pressing soft against them all, holding them close. I want to be their parent, their sister, their aunt, their friend. It’s only with the end in sight that the road looks so short behind. It’s only walking away that the true, deep disappointment can have a real excuse to show up.

The end is coming. What do I have to show? So many things. So much love. So many people. But with the end of this school year I feel like I can take little trinkets out of my chest: this item a dense figure of fear, this warm vibrant messy love, this dry crumbling piece of stubbornness, these fragile pages of memories, and this wide rolling blanket of a Delta life.

2 Responses

  1. Starting Spring | Genius Pioneer linked to this post.
  2. Wess

    “It’s only with the end in sight that the road looks so short behind. It’s only walking away that the true, deep disappointment can have a real excuse to show up.”

    This is how leaving felt for me. Like suddenly all of these things that had seemed so huge and important now didn’t deserve to be so weighty, because I walked away. I can’t really call them “my” kids anymore, and I can’t really feel comfortable talking about teaching as if I’m a teacher anymore. I feel like I gave those those things up when I gave up teaching.

    Let me know if you figure out how to make meaning survive leaving; I think it should!

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