THREE DAY WEEKEND! The Fourth of July never looked so good. Actually, it’s looked better. I don’t know how Atlanta’s fireworks will stack up to the Jersey Shore experience of watching them over the Atlantic from the beach… but nonetheless I am excited to be in the big city for this celebration.
The past week has been a difficult one. My emotions for the past few weeks, actually, since the start of this experience, have been on such a weird rollercoaster. Physically, as well, I can notice hits thrown to not only my energy level but to my immune system as well. And mentally, I’m still trying to wrap my head around things. It’s over, for the most part. No more lesson plans to be submitted. Only one more class day, and that will be spent reviewing for the test. Then I’ll have a couple days in school but not teaching. And then it’s Friday. And then it’s Closing Ceremonies. And then we move out. Weird? Weird. Relieving though, for sure.
I hear a lot of people declaring victory or writhing in defeat as to whether or not they were effective and/or did a good job. I’m still deciding on that as well. I know there are a few kids I changed for the better and whose changes have been enormous. I also know there are a few kids who, in this brief and tense four weeks, I just couldn’t reach. I’m not sure how to evaluate the entire experience. That will come later.
But I think I stood my ground and did the best I could. “If I knew then what I knew now” is so cliche but it’s so true- if I had some of the knowledge I got along the way but a little too late, perhaps I could have been better. But I did the best I could with what I had. Teaching reading to kids who are grade levels below or learning English after only being here for a year is probably the most difficult task to take on. I took it on. I wasn’t perfect and I did fail many times, but I can see some really resilient success in there, too. I will miss these kids and part of me will wish I had more time with them and more time to improve, but I feel a sense of awareness and reassurance as I go into my Regional Placement this Fall.
I’m looking forward to it being over, though. The schedule itself is grueling. And, to be selfish for a moment, I miss having a life. Finance is also an issue and the reality of this situation is that the last time I had income was May 21st, 2011. It is now July 2nd, 2011. I will not receive my first paycheck until August 31st, 2011. The transitional funding package I received was insulting to my situation and I am frankly frantic as I look forward. But I’ll make it work. I have no other choice.
We’ve been looking at some amazing condos in Atlanta and I’m getting really fired up about that. I can’t wait to make my home. Life is good on these free weekends… I’m in love with trying new spots to eat and drink, driving down new avenues with the windows down and the music loud, and having time to hear myself think-even if it’s a thought about something totally random. I laid by the pool for a few hours today. I ate macaroni and cheese and a freeze pop. I bought some peroxide to gargle in my mouth in hopes that I can combat gingivitis on my own instead of going to a professional with no insurance (that won’t kick in until September- awesome). We’re trying a taqueria down the street tonight and I’m excited- margaritas are much needed and well-deserved. And that’s really what it’s been recently, weeks of nonstop work and weekends of random leisure, speckled with bits of beauty and bits of grotesque. Beauty like a bottle of cold Sauvignon Blanc. Grotesque like the meaty red of infected gums and the ache in my right side throat. It’s bizarre.
But it’s mostly beauty.
One week left…
Happy Fourth. Proud to be an American.
Proud to Teach For America.