Learning on the River

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 31 2011

Thanks January.

January has not disappointed me in the last 5 years.  In college, January always used to be my favorite time of year.  True, I could not lie out on the beach even in Wilmington, but I would come back from break and be reunited with all my friends.  Classes would start back up and, for whatever reason, I always liked spring semester better. And on top of all that was Ambassadors.  Our recruitment would end and we would get our new members at the end of the month.

Despite my absence in Wilmington, this January has not let me down.  All the new Ambassadors were notified today, and I creepily added them on Facebook.  It’s nice to be reminded of something that took up so much of my time and effort and that meant so much to me.  Without surprise, many of the old members quickly noticed I was adding the new members and I have caught up with a few friends I have not talked to in a while.

All of this college nostalgia made me miss my old life in Wilmington—blowing off the occasional class with the press of the snooze button, smelling salt air with every breath and feeling sand with every step in my worn Rainbows, giving tours of our beautiful campus, grabbing lunch with a different friend every day, and the general lacking of significant responsibility.  Those seemed like the days.

Now my life is filled to the brim with responsibility.  I am held accountable by my principals, my parents, my instructional coaches, my department, and all of my students to be on my best teacher game at all times.  I plan lessons.  I teach children. I grade tests.  I track data.  I repeat.  I’m on E-V-E-R-Y committee under the sun at school.  And I’m still making all my lessons from scratch since I have a different prep this semester.

My to-do list is never complete and I am even contemplating buying a planner (something I avoided all through high school and college).  I have all kinds of insurance and a Blackberry now, all of which are so adult.

Truth-be-told:  you couldn’t give me a million dollars to leave this place.  I love the Delta.  I love my coworkers.  I love my roommates.  I love teaching and I love my students.  My favorite babies (all teachers have favorites) have quickly realized I am quite the pushover when it comes to them.  It’s now commonplace to hear things like, “Are you staying for all our games in the basketball tournament, Mr. Henley?  We really like when you come and cheer for us.”  My Saturday consisted of an almost 8 hour 9th grade basketball tournament.

But, my kiddos played great ball.  Our boy’s team won the whole thing and one of my kiddos won MVP.  In college, I would have either been in bed or at my ridiculously easy bartending job at that time of day on a Saturday.  However, I’m glad I wasn’t.  I was privileged enough to be able to sit on hard, wooden bleachers until I couldn’t feel my butt and cheer for my kids.

Fittingly enough, it was during my favorite month that I realized I was blessed to have such an amazing college experience—which allowed me to have such an amazing experience now.  I miss college like woah, but I cannot imagine being any other place or imagine doing any other job right now.

College William would be disappointed in my lack of tenacity of a Sunday night (which was still considered the weekend), but I’m too old to be on the World Wide Web after 11 PM.  I have to find my Metamucil and head to bed.

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    Details of a Delta English Teacher

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    High School

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