Well hey folks!
Long time, no blog!
Since my last post I left my job of 2.5 years, took a week off and enjoyed some much needed R and R, and this past week I started my semester-long student teaching gig. Awesome! Well, I thought it was going to be awesome, but unfortunately things did not unfold all sunshine and smiles. On my first day, I got lost trying to find the classroom right off the bat. Thankfully I was early so I showed up at 7:15 as planned... unfortunately, my host teacher was nowhere to be found. I wandered around and made my way to the staff meeting we had planned on attending and finally found my teacher when she arrived somewhere around 7:30. Thus began the pattern of being lost and not knowing where to go or what to do that week.
By the end of the first day I was completely exhausted. The next morning I woke up with a massive cold and felt like I had been hit my a truck. I am not supposed to miss ANY days, so I hauled myself out of bed, popped some ibuprofen and made my way to North Minneapolis. I survived until lunch. My skin ached, my head felt like it had been kicked, and the spins were setting in. As I visualized the route to the staff bathroom (a floor and two hallways down, where you have to use one of four unmarked identical keys to gain access) in my head, I realized toughing out my wooziness was probably not something I should be attempting at this point. So I gave up and went home. The whole time all I could think was that my teacher didn't believe me. She probably thought I was just weak. A quitter. Pathetic.
I spent the next two days in a cold-medicine induced fog. Still feeling lost, alone and very out of place. Still not sure what my host teacher expected of me and not really feeling like I was gaining any insight on the whole student teaching experience. Thankfully, after school on Friday, we finally had a chance to sit down and talk about what I would be doing. I think I finally am adjusting to her communication style, which is pretty different from my own. Not bad - just different. I would call her "go with the flow" while I tend to be more "go with the detailed, diagrammed, outlined, and pre-scheduled flow." Could have been the cold-medicine fog that I was under too though...
I have a feeling that going with the flow is probably helpful for someone teaching at a school like this. The population is about half Hmong, half African American, with a few white kids sprinkled in here and there. I was at one point worried I might be mistaken for a student, but as soon as I walked in, everyone automatically took me for staff. A white woman not wearing a hoodie, skinny jeans or Uggs is obviously staff member. It was a strange realization that my skin color gave me automatic authority and credibility. The students are incredibly good kids and many of them come from incredibly difficult situations. They are for the most part respectful, nice, positive and friendly. This is amazing when you consider that in the first week I was made aware of several homeless students, students who had lost family members to violence, students who are "married" and pregnant, students with no transportation, and students with some very troubling family situations. I overheard kids talking about not sleeping because of gunshots fired overnight, getting drunk on a cousins "homemade" booze, and fist fights over boyfriends and girlfriends. Did I mention these kids are freshman? Yeah fifteen and sixteen years-old and I only have about a hundred of them. All of that in this small group of about 100 students. When I was fifteen I was still collecting Hello Kitty stuff and putting mascara on in the locker room when I got to school so my Mom wouldn't know. Needless to say, the motivations, teaching strategies and dialog is completely different.
So that was my week guys. Oh yeah, then my truck died last night and the hood wouldn't open. Dad came to my rescue and we spent a very frigid few hours late last night towing my truck around a strange neighborhood in the dark trying to drop it in gear and get it to start. No go. We both had to skip the races we were supposed to coach today and spent the day with my brother towing the truck across Burnsville, thawing it out, recharging the battery, realizing I needed a new battery, getting a new battery, and then laughing over Davanni's hoagies and being grateful that the situation didn't end up being worse. I am so lucky to have them. They have come to my rescue more times than I can count. I don't know what I would do without them.
So I say so long to this past week, and I look forward to a fresh start tomorrow, with considerably less congested sinuses and a strong new battery to beat these freezing cold MN temps.
Bring it on!