My blogging history is sketchy, at best. I kept a (massively embarrassing) livejournal in high school, I kept a travel blog when I was in Barcelona for a month and a half in 2010, and I was required to keep a blog for a Spanish class I took last semester on picaresque literature from the seventeenth century. It was the Spanish blog that made me realize that blogs are actually pretty useful as a place for self-reflection, and even if I don’t have an audience, necessarily, it can be useful to write about things.
I’m a new corps member and I have no idea what’s going on in TFAland right now. I’ve been placed in northeast Ohio, which is a new region that didn’t show up on the drop-down menu when I made this blog so I registered for “other countries” instead. Cleveland, I think, counts as another country because of the wildly erratic weather patterns.
I’m about to graduate from a small, liberal arts college – the day before Induction, actually – and I’m staying here because I have an incredible support network here, both personal and educational. I’ve taught elementary Spanish here for four years, and I’m either going to be teaching early elementary education or secondary Spanish for my placement. I have an incredible amount of respect for people who are willing to uproot their lives and go spend two years in somewhere they’ve never been before, and I know that I am not the kind of person who could ever, ever do that.
It’s because I’m terrified of TFA.
I’ve been teaching little kids since I was sixteen, first as a ski instructor and then as a Spanish teacher. I’ve always wanted to teach and I’m thrilled to be able to throw myself into it full-time. I have a pretty good handle on classroom management, I can learn kids’ names pretty quickly, I have an established teacher voice, and I know that none of my experience is going to mean anything when I’m in charge of my own classroom. I told my interviewer that I was planning on coming home and sobbing and going to bed at 8pm during at least my first month in the corps.
It’s also not helping that I have no idea what to prepare for. As of right now, I’m either going to be teaching secondary Spanish or early elementary education. The only age group I know I won’t end up teaching is fourth and fifth graders. I just want to KNOW, and I want to be at Institute or Induction or something.
And the pre-work is driving me crazy – the first article in the packet literally argues that all white people are racist and people of color can have racial privilege. I agreed with the article, actually, until it twisted around its language to make that argument. (Before that, the main argument was that racism is societal and systemic and white people, regardless of socioeconomic background, all benefit from it – which is true, but then the author defined racism to mean “benefiting from systemic racism,” which I have all kinds of problems with.)
And does anyone else not feel comfortable sharing their painful, formative moments with a whole group of people in a 5-7 minute speech? I get that it’s kind of the point that it’s uncomfortable, but I just really don’t want to do it.
This is getting long and I’ll end it here because the alternative is sharing with the anonymous internet public exactly how neurotic and scared I am, which I guess I’ve already done.
I leave you with this: yesterday I tried to carry a heavy bag of groceries up the stairs to my apartment. I was wearing flip flops and I ended up doing a faceplant on a set of metal stairs. Now my knee is phenomenally bruised and I can’t believe that anyone is actually trusting me to be in charge of other people’s children. And yet, I’m more excited for this than I’ve been for almost anything else in my life.