Sunday, October 30, 2005

Reflections of a Somewhat Random Nature

It has been a year since I bought my digital camera. Often, when looking through old photos, I wish I could go back in time and take digital pics. I love my camera! I absolutely cannot wait to have it on an international trip this Christmas. Paris with a digital camera! Oh, the fun I will have. AND, since my mom will be with me, I might actually have some pictures of ME on my trip! What a treat.


I have had some odd dreams lately but refrained from blogging about them. UNTIL NOW, you lucky bastards! Ha!

1) Last week or thereabouts I realized I'd forgotten about AmeriCorps, in the sense that I could still be a team leader. And that the age gap is quickly closing, so I'd have to do it soon. So I dreamed that I had a new team, but they all hated me. Harrumph.

The AmeriCorps thing...I really wanted to do that again. But I wonder if I just want to relive my old glory? I'm scared and sad to have to close a chapter in my life where it could still be possible to drop my life as I know it and dedicate my time to once again helping others, hands-on.

If I finished out this year and successfully got my master's, in theory I could then be a team leader starting in the fall. I would turn 27, which is still a long way from the 18-year-olds, but does still seem reasonable. What if I did a third year here in NYC? I could be a team leader at 28. After that, being a full ten years or more than some team members would just be too much.

But that would interrupt things so much...maybe I'll have to see how I feel this summer.

The teaching thing is something that I feel myself getting into. I don't necessarily want to break my streak. Professionally, it makes zero sense. Financially, it makes even less sense. But wow, I miss the freedom and the structure of NCCC. I really miss the people.

I miss my teammates. I don't hear from many of them very often. The three-year anniversary of our graduation is less than a month away.

2)I had a dream that I had another job from teaching. Something involving an office, or selling, or something traditional like that. In fact, there may have been miniature trains involved. And this day of the dream, I came in and my boss (who was my real life Mr Principal) told me that I would have to be fired (as in laid off, so it wasn't an insult or something). And I honestly didn't care, because I realized that I had teaching, and I considered that my "real" job that mattered.

Which was scary to contemplate upon waking. Does that mean that now I'm going to be a lifelong teacher? Will I stay in New York much longer than previously anticipated? Do I really love to teach? I know that I have no idea what else I could do. No other job has such a power rush every day, plus the way that one gets to decide how to spend their day. (Continuing with my pattern this year, I'm ignoring the bureaucratic minutiae.) After that, an office job (rightfully) sounds pretty lame.


Three years ago, I had one hell of an October. I spent the first half of it in Mississippi, living in a hotel, driving a rental car back and forth along the coast highway, doing damage assessment and service center work. The second half, I lived in what felt like a huge house with my entire team again, building and constructing things (and also doing stupid shit like sorting nails). We made a sidewalk! Of course, I threw my back out lifting the eighty-pound bags of concrete mix, but still, how cool. We erected and took down scaffolding, and carted it around. We installed cabinets and painted siding.

Then we had to clean the house, ten months' worth of dirt from AmeriCorps teams. It took a long time and a lot of energy that none of us really had.

But then it was my birthday. I rose in a cheerful mood, buoyed and touched by the cards and gifts from my teammates, and drove the initial leg of our trip back to Maryland. That night, my team and I went to dinner and it was the happiest birthday of my life. I felt surrounded by real friends who had become family, and we kicked ass helping communities to boot! Can't get any better than that.


This year is such a trip. I've lived at the same address for more than a year. That hasn't happened since...well, I'm not sure, actually. Before college, possibly? A long freaking time.

This afternoon I've been re-reading last fall's blog posts. Last October, I was in a perpetual state of worry, anxiety, and anger at myself and my students. I felt like I was failing them and myself. I did have to fail many of them, because they made no effort. And I thought that was my fault.

But this year? NONE of my students is failing. ONE is getting a 65. I have SCORES of 90s and 95s in my report cards. So that must mean that is my fault too, right? These kids really deserve it. Almost all of them make a wonderful effort and do their work and are just good kids.

When Mr Principal popped in with a bigwig last week, I mentioned that my kids this year are so much better than last year. Mr Principal jumped in and said that no, it was me, with my routines and expectations and stuff.

And since I'm still so new at all this, I'm really not sure which I believe. I suppose a little of both. The kids are more motivated, but I also kick some serious ass at helping to push the kids in the right direction. I *think.* Certainly all my work last year, and my desire to improve, have meant that I put in a lot of work this year to make sure I DID improve. It seems to be working. I swear to god, it is like a miracle to me.

This could be construed as arrogance, which means that I will knocked ON my ass soon, by those kids I think are so great. Someone should make a book or reality show about teachers called "The Hubris Chronicles."

One quarter has already passed this year. Wow! It was a long one, but it went so quickly. And I have such a different mindset this year.


Sadly, this week that mindset seemed to run out. I just cannot bring myself to do work at home.

Since my disastrous C grade this spring (the second one of my entire life, so it still bothers me), I have tried to push myself to be a better student. This summer I did a good job at it. This fall, until now, I have done a good job.

But there was an assignment due on Wednesday that I had thought wasn't due for another week or two, and never cared enough to look at the syllabus to check. And there was another assignment due yesterday that I honestly didn't care about enough to even start.

So now both of them are officially late. And I don't give a shit.

There's a midterm this Wednesday, and another next Wednesday. I had better start making an effort again; I don't want my good-work-til-recently to go to waste.

Happily, I found in myself the strength to realize that I just was not going to get the short stories graded right now, let alone in one weekend. So, since I've kept up very well on inputting homework and test grades, I was able to complete two classes' report cards last night. I have one more set of homework to grade, and then I can quickly complete the last set of report cards.

So at least I have something to celebrate. I should be able to get the report cards in a day early.

Which means I can start celebrating my birthday! Tuesday is the big day!

1 comment:

Fred said...

After I read that you're going to Paris over the holiday break, I could barely read the rest. You'll have a great time. I'm very jealous.

And, since I don't blog during the week anymore, I'm glad you told us you're birthday is coming up.

Happy Birthday! (In advance...)