31 August 2006 

What else?

I forgot to realize where I am. I'm a self-sufficient career woman. This has been my reality for a while.

Shouldn't there be a moment had?

I have no dependence on anyone else anymore, none. How freeing. Sure, I have financial obligations like freakin' student loans and a car loan and other normal bills, but I can pay them. Freeing. I can move across the country for a professional opportunity and make new friends and grow a sanctuary on my street that houses diverse ages of neighborhood boys rotating between playing football in the street and sitting on the hood of my car spectating the others. While I cringe inside from over protectiveness of my vehicle, this is still freeing. Standing in front of my students, watching the fruition of painstaking planning is freeing.

What other moments have I missed?

28 August 2006 

The Kick

I'm walking around my room, figuring out what needs to be done to make every transition flow in my classroom. It's a few minutes before my prep hour. Students are moving to their next class. My doorknob turns with the extra force it requires, and two young men curve their necks around the doorway. They are sneaking a look at me, the new teacher. I invite them in, ask them their names, and I can't stop smiling. They are big, lanky, awkward teenage boys with little grins because they're curiosity has been quenched. They leave.

adrenaline kicks me. I have to catch my breath. I'm literally, at this point, so excited to start teaching the next hour that my hands are slightly shaking.

I'm not nervous. Not at all. My theory is, that if you have passion - which I think I do, you'll be fine. Passion pushes one to be excellent and work harder, to figure it out if it's broken.

Today was amazing. My students are excellent. Each class has its own little personality. My first class is youthful enough to be sucked into my curriculum with pure enthusiasm. My juniors needed to check out my street cred before they jumped on the bandwagon. My seniors, they're still wary of me, but that's natural. I'm their third teacher in a program where a single teacher is supposed to follow them for three years. They just wanted to know that I was purposeful, that everything in my class was put their for a reason and that my credentials checked out.

Okay, so I am a little nervous, but just nervous that I'm going to fail my students or not do enough for them. I'm not nervous about classroom management, investment, or knowledge of the subject.

I'm sure it's clear, but I have a miniature personal life at this moment. I will solve this with wine or Guinness on Friday night. Maybe find myself a man.

27 August 2006 

School starts tomorrow.

I have no idea what to expect besides that I have to wear a T-shirt to represent unity for the students.

20 August 2006 

Background money swapping

I've never experienced real tragedy until I hit adulthood. Sure there were moments of crisis while growing up. Family wars, bitter childhood and teen fights, death of people I love - but always logical death, taunting and jealousy both ways, etc. So much of what is hard about tragedy, my play on semantics, is that there's no present justification. As an adult, I can learn to deal with that and do. After tragedy, now I see crisis as a challenge, and I don't know what a crisis is anymore besides plain chaos.

Drinking a couple of beers, hanging out with friends in a low-key Baltimore neighborhood, and my roommate calls me. There are men outside the gate of our backyard, twelve of them. They've been there since she left at 9 for the bars and returned at midnight. Her deviance degree gives her a sense of logic and non-fear that I appreciate, since my teacihng this past year has also given me these senses informally. She can hack living on our street. But she knows better than to let our dog out to pee when these guys are out there. One, the dog is going to freak out, and she's new so we don't know everything about her behavior. Two, someone in that crowd may be scared of dogs. Three, she's home alone and is an attactive young woman. Four, their method of gambling is another way for gangs to trade/sell guns. Five, she calls me. Six, I go home gladly, because she shouldn't be dealing with chaos alone on a street where people don't know what to do with us.

By the time I got home she had already called the non-emergency number to inquire. They told her to take the dog to a park and not go in our backyard. We left with Jordan (dog), the cops came when we were gone, so they were gone. All of it anonymous. All of it without incident.

I think the reason that my roommate and I don't have any fear about where our house is located, and the exciting things that happen in our neighborhood, is because we are willing to learn about why Baltimore has transformed into the city it has becomed. We are interested in people and (hopefully) not generalizations. Nobody has crossed us and vice versa. We both have a little knowledge about juvenile deviance, but we know enough to know that there are more young people working their butts off to succeed than not.

14 August 2006 

My little undergrad state university expected more from me

I finished 90% of my grad work for a summer class yesterday. 90% of it. One day.

I've decided that my grad program must be the equivalent of a diet pill.

13 August 2006 

Preparing for a new school

Many Baltimore schools have a bad rep, mine isn't any different. After speaking with a reputable teacher from my future school, it sounds like a lot has improved. Apparently it was one of the most violent schools in the city.

The community, in all senses, totally abandoned it.

Now the violence component is gone, but the majority of classrooms are not managed.

The community is coming back, slowly, painfully slowly, but it's progress.

Academics are still beyond dismal. Only 20% of our students passed their English graduation test.

Yet the program I'm entering is one of prestige and triumph. It's a sanctuary of intellectual expansion for my future students, who fight to learn in their other classes.

What excites me most about working at this school isn't merely the challenges and input I'll eventually have (after I sit back and see how the school works = year 2), but the students I work with care about their school, community, future. I get to work with the people who are going to directly impact change. They know what they deserve, and we can make sure it's voiced.

To tie it all together for you, teaching journalism inherently implies an interest in your community. If my students don't right now, I can guarantee that'll change. There's a fit for everyone.

Soon. I can't wait to be teaching. I miss buzzing hallways.


You know you've arrived when you start to recognize strangers.

Pockets of comfort are revealed and habitual, without the loss of curiosity of other places unexplored.

06 August 2006 

Hop Scotch is a silly game; it is calculated to wear out the shoes and is played by the lowest kind of children.

01 August 2006 

New House

List continued...

Since moving into my new house in Baltimore, here are some of the controversial happenings:

1. 4th of July shooting (boys shooting guns for fun in the alley ALL NIGHT LONG)
2. Drug deal -
3. Homicide on my street corner (at 5:21 am - right after my alarm mistakenly went off - 12 shots fired - one person left on the concrete)
4. Watching cops clean up crime scene of said murder
5. Inmates cleaning my street

Is it wrong that I still adore my neighborhood and new neighbors? I have no fear, rather a heightened sense of awareness.

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