Saturday, January 31, 2009

She's Aliiiiive! ... and thriving (finally)!

Wow, how time flies. I just finished reading my last blog entry and couldn't help but snicker. I sounded so prepared for my next adventure. Ha! Little did I know that the next year and half would be a complete whirlwind of:
- moving in with random TFA roommates into the Phoenix ghetto (we are talking junkie-hookers-digging-through-trash-outside-my-bedroom-window kind of ghetto) after knowing them for a full hour so that I could be close to the neighborhood where I teach
-1 full year of complete teaching-hell with the gray hairs to prove it (each one lovingly named after the students who put them there: Rakim, Xaviar, Dejonique, Giovany, Humberto, Tanya, Martin, Juan, the list goes on...)
- being a full time (15 units) ASU Masters student, while working more than over time to try and survive my first year as a teacher (just so you fully understand the whine involved in this check on the list, that means: 7:30 AM until 10:00PM of work and then classes)
- a full year of Teach For America bullshit trainings and seminars eating up my nearly non-existent free time.
- getting engaged in December 2007 to my amazing Danny (more on this later...)
- planning a wedding (yeah, this line only takes up three words worth of space, but it could take up an entire blog - thanks to my incredible mother, I retained my sanity throughout this process)
- re-planning a wedding because the old venue shut its doors
- wondering if I can even teach a second year and still call myself sane?
- ending the school year and breathing a huge sigh of relief
- knowing the only reason I am going to teach a second year is because I made a commitment to teach two years with Teach for America, and I am to Type-A to break it, even for my own health.
- traveling to Canada and New York to visit kindred spirits. These trips were quite frankly the only social life I had in the 2007-2008 school year. I love you girls!
- studying for the GRE
- preparing myself mentally and organizationally for the upcoming school year
- remodeling Danny's condo completely from kitchen to bath to bedrooms to living room (this was a four month proce$$), but what better way for Danny and I to test our marriage capability right before the wedding - right?
- wedding details, details, details!
- not taking the GRE, because there is no way I could possibly be prepared for it with everything else going on
- starting a new school year, teaching a new class, and falling in love with them and with the profession of teaching.
- starting year 2 of my Masters classes and wondering when they will end...
- moving out of the ghetto and into the freshly completed condo (and not a minute too soon)
- marrying my soul mate and having, quite frankly, a wedding experience I will treasure for a lifetime; full of family, true friends, warm emotion, and love.
- continuing all of the Teach for America bullshit, but with a different attitude (it's like jumping through hoops at this point. Just jump through the next hoop and you are one step closer to being done with it.
- falling in love all over again, only this time with my husband. Being married is truly a blessing.
- being surprised with a birthday trip to Disneyland! Amazing surprise Danny!
- Becoming an auntie for the second time :)
- Honeymooning in Spain and Morocco. Incredible!
- Starting the second semester of my second year (is it really 2009?) of teaching and deciding that not only can I do this teaching thing, but that I like it, and maybe I am even good at it. Yesterday I even returned a letter of intent to my Principal stating that I will be teaching for a third year at my crazy school.

Looking back on it all now, it is amazing that all of this took place in 18 months. Honestly my first year of teaching was the most difficult thing I have experienced professionally, and I would NOT repeat it if I had the choice. However, I am on the other side of that first year, and I have learned so much from it, and I know I am a better teacher and more confident leader because of it (and in the future will be a much more prepared parent because of it). I guess, the one real regret I have is not recording it all down, and writing about life's little moments. In the past I have been diligent in my private journal writing, but this last year, I simply did not have the energy to muster critical reflection of my day. Not even once. I wish I would have taken the time to write about the incredibly ridiculous classroom moments that made me want to pull my hair out (there were so many that were horrendous to live through, but hilarious to talk about later), to the emotions I felt during our engagement and wedding, and the daily lessons I learned along the way, but - you can't go back. What I can do is write down the details of my life now, and when I find extra time (perhaps this summer) write a novel about all the ridiculous things that happened in that first year as a teacher.
Until that next entry (which should be much sooner than the last!)…
Kwa Heri (Swahili for Best Wishes),