29 June 2006 

Baltimore teacher learning the art in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia I'm learning about resiliency - in myself. I walked into here reminding myself over and over again that my past experiences aren't any more valuable or worse than others'. I still work hard to bite my tongue and absorb instead of dictate what I know to have worked, because it might not work here. Then there's the whole idea that I can pick up and move towards a goal and not be suppressed by my past experiences. Peacefulness is fulfilling.

Results? Confidence. I feel like I'm becoming a disciplined person more-so than ever. The schedule isn't as tiring as everyone made it out to be, and some people disagree with this sentiment. I don't mind getting up at 5, walking and arriving to breakfast by 6:00, walking to transportation by 6:45, teaching and taking courses from 7-4:30, having about an hour to workout-eat-shower-Starbuck's(-blog), being in class from 6:00-9, doing homework until 11ish. Not having personal time isn't getting to me like I was worried about. It must be that whole passion thing again, because teaching becomes me.

Then there's the character building part of this experience, where I work with people who test my patience. I work with people (not my Baltimore colleagues) who won't compromise on any other perspectives but their own, and I realize that was/is sometimes me. Anyway, I addressed it directly and with our supervisor when the behavior didn't change after talking between the two of us.

In the end, I love the people I'm meeting from Baltimore. Enduring relationships are beginning.

22 June 2006 


I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't forced change? Definitely feel refreshed although exhausted.

In a few hours I sign my hiring form.

It's hard to know what to say, besides that I'm alive and will be limited in my time for blogging in the next 5 weeks.

18 June 2006 


I'm here! Twenty hours later.

This is what I wanted. Tomorrow I fulfill my passions, even though leaving was hard (as noted above).

16 June 2006 

I begin again

Cue the extended looks I give my father and grandfather. Their eyes are red, and I'm still here. My mother looks on with worry, because this is something she never ever expected. Thank god my family doesn't translate their own visions of life into expectations for mine.

The pangs in my gut are kicking in, and the excitement seems far away and loss so close.

What needs to happen is closure tonight at dinner. Well wishes. Reality checks.

Tomorrow I let go and explore and temporarily forget about ties and commitment to things that will be far away physically.

Yeah, it's a drab and boring entry, and this subject has plagued my blog. Soon, once my hands are shaped as my steering wheel, a new adventure begins.

Doesn't it seem like new changes must have hurt or discomfort to qualify?

15 June 2006 


On Saturday I hit the road for Baltimore. It's a little more than 1,000 miles. While people have offered to caravan ourselves there, I want to go it alone.

Me, map, music, and mind. Alone.

In the end, I love being alone. I like the space and breathing it provides.

There's balance in this act since my days are filled with people and laughter and analyzing solutions to problems just too big for one person.

The alone thing poses a new problem: living on a college campus for the next six weeks.

Soon I'll post my new ink.

11 June 2006 

Take a stand

I've been contemplating the concept of forgiveness the last few days. It fascinates me.

I want to know how people fit or don't fit forgiveness into their own lives. Is it a principal they live by, is it a spiritual concept, logic based, or simply not an important element?

More than anything else, I want to know what things in life are forever, and straight-up, unforgivable. Or if no situation applies to that idea, why always forgive?

08 June 2006 

Preparing for the best...

I just read this post from a blogger on Live Journal. And I'm trying to figure out how to respond to it. Here are the things that caught my attention:

She constantly writes about T*FA members who dropped out throughout the two years. To me, that's a huge problem with the program. Either they're not recruiting well or not training well.

I don't - no - can't be arrogant when I drive my little Vibe into the Baltimore city limits. I know the absolute WORST of teaching. And I guess I just feel that I would've left teaching by this point if I didn't find my students inspiring and the work meaningful in many different ways. And to me, this sounds horrible, but the types of stress the staff and corps members talk about seems so trivial and overrated. In the same breath I don't want to belittle anyone's experience. I think my mentality on that first day needs to be classified as laid back and go with the flow. And I'll stand behind that. I won't buy into their campaign of teacher bootcamp. That seems so ridiculous.

We (all the new corps members) are leaving things behind. Really hard things to leave behind. Nobody takes this leap without loss, so if we are willing to let go of things that matter why should we do so at the cost of our sanity? I'm not going to do it.

Not being stressed out and overwhelmed doesn't translate into not being dedicated. It translates into ultimate efficiency, because you can simply think.

I can't deny the volumes of negative ramblings I find on blogger about TF*A. It all only makes me thankful walking into their program with the background I have. I already know I love this. I know that. I can't believe I know it. But I do. It's possible I won't like Baltimore, but I can live anywhere for two years. But in the end, I love teaching. And starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions.

One thing that scared me was this quote: "Caitlin told me she'd be making 41,000 a year working in Baltimore public schools. Immediately my interests were piqued. That's not a bad paycheck for someone straight out of college" I respect her honesty. How was she to know that in the end, the paycheck isn't enough of a reinforcement for this type of work? Our society tells us that in our jobs, in a perfect situation (minus race and inequality), we will be justly rewarded for our work based on the amount of muscle and brain tissue contributed to the end product. At least that was my message growing up. The entire paragraph is all about what she'd be getting if she went into teaching, not really what she'd be giving. Although, often teachers enter for the wrong reasons and end up teaching for the right reasons (I know the ambiguous nature of right and wrong reasons). I respect her honesty in her initial decision-making process, because this jargon is taboo in ed world.

"I sat in a classroom learning to be a teacher for most of my day, and teaching kids for an hour of that day. I spent hours every night planning for one hour of teaching. I had about three trained and experienced teachers constantly on call to help me whenever I needed it. I worked in a group of four members, all of whom beat out thousands of people for a chance to make it into this program. We were ready. We were dedicated. We were going to rock the 25 children who set foot onto Clay middle school for five hours a day." -Okay. Honestly, that's going to bore the shit out of me. I just finished teaching for two years in a sometimes war zone, and I'm only going to have to teach one class!? Cake.

But then I can't act like that now can I? Could be wrong...

I have to be humble. Arrogance aside, I really didn't love the setup of my own student teaching situation at the time. My cooperating teacher said he had nothing to offer me, my supervisor never showed up and when she did show she told me about her personal problems, and I didn't learn anything in almost every single ed dept. class. But for an entire year, I taught and tested the waters on my own, relentlessly. I had my cooperating teacher in the room next door, and I had coworkers I adored. While I didn't always feel supported in my struggles, I had a "safe" (what a joke in the long run) zone to use. What a slap across the face, 1 hour, for the new corps members!?

As evilwonderbra writes her honest account, I write mine. And I don't want to bash anything she has to say, because I suspect it speaks to many people's experiences in TF*A. I also don't have an interest in serving my two years and then working for the program itself. I'm interested in the program's potential to develop my professionalism and skills.

Wow. I read that post and just felt like I hard to write something, anything to sort out my reactions and work through anxiety. It's all good. I'm doing the thing I love. Oh yeah - I'm alive dude.


Can you say biatch?

I flipped my cell phone open last night to see a certain old friend called, only she thinks we're still good friends (not you Andrea, Kamran, or Dan - oh wait - you two are boys - ahem - not you Andrea). On one of my other few blogs I think I wrote about the situation with a little vagueness, because blogs aren't for hanging up dirty laundry.

Yet here I am, a year later since this person trash talked me behind my back. I wondered then what we would be like now as friends, because in my mind I wanted a clean break from our friendship.

I got what I wanted. She has called a few times and left passive-aggressive voice mails about how I haven't talked to her in a long time but ooooh she'd like to get together soon and catch up! So I'd call her back and leave a message saying I got her call and call me back. We did that all year.

Now she heard I left, and I'm in her wedding pictures. She called again last week. I deleted her voice mail. She called yesterday, and I deleted it right when she said "hello."

No matter what approach I take with this narcissist (even though I'm the one with the blog), it'll turn into drama. Yuck. The friendship is tapped dry. So I leave quietly without regret.

04 June 2006 

Still in Shock

All of my things - no - junk are/is sitting in my parents' basement. Tomorrow I sort through the objects that are too much, study curriculum, write out applications, call friends, and drink at the whore house called Starbuck's.

I don't even know what has happened to me within the last week, to be exact. The strength - no - energy to write about it is emerging.
I cried hard much of the way to the Twin Cities yesterday. Mostly because I miss two boys. Two boys who I love. The two people in the whole fucking world I actually trust with every part of my identity. And they won't be in that ratty city next year, so that helps. But it's still a long time coming before I spend time with them. There is no corny way to package them in words expressing my affinity.

01 June 2006 


If you want to join call my cell.

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