A Journey to the Unexpected

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 07 2012

Fri-Days is Serious-Days.

The last year and a half have had a fairly profound impact on my life, even though I’m still figuring out exactly what that means. I look forward to sitting down with other alums someday and talking to them about what their two years did to them, and what they did with their two years, not in a TFA way, the “how did this influence your view on educational equity” way or “your diversity mindset” way, but in a “that was… where do I begin?” way.
Recently, some of it has been coming together for me. It has brought me to a place that I wake up and ask myself, “Is what I’m going to do today worth potentially dying for? Worth literally giving my life for?” It sounds over-dramatic, but really, I’ve come to ask that question out of something like a feeling of necessity. It’s not because I’m a super-hero, it’s because I’m The Average Joe. The unexpected happens. If I hear the fly buzz as I die, will I be disappointed or smugly contented with myself? Will I spend my energy now trying to avoid the potentially inevitable, or will I just ask myself, “If what I’m doing kills me, will it have been worth it?”
It almost killed me, Kelly Clarkson, but I do believe I just may actually be stronger.
Oh I know, I yelled at my kids yesterday. They get it enough, they didn’t need it from me. The last thirty minutes of class this beautiful Friday afternoon were a lost cause. I still cringe at the thought of last year. You can call me a failure; it won’t be the first time I’ve heard it. Mr. Rubenstein, you can tell me that we’re all victims of a big joke and don’t belong here. You can say this is all a waste, and you might be right. You can say I’m being ridiculous, and I won’t deny it. But recently I read an article wherein a community member said that we were the type who were “willing to take on hell with a water pistol if we thought it would help our kids.” I’m not sure they meant it as a compliment, but I’ll take it. I don’t mind being known as someone who “died trying,” and my kids will confirm any rumors that I’m certifiably insane.
Now, the big question is “next year.” The answer is, “I don’t have a clue.” Life being easier seems like a great start, whether that’s as a third year teacher or as a who-knows-what, and getting more sleep is essential… but mostly, it’s gotta be something worth doing… or dying trying to, at least. I’m not after adrenaline or heroism, I just don’t want to die saying, “That was dumb.”
How are you deciding what to do next year?

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