Welcome to 2010.
Yes, it's July, but I figure a welcome is still in order seeing as this is the first time I've blogged since... oh, that's right. November.
I can't possibly give a recount of the past seven months.
I can only tell you I've changed entirely- as a teacher and as a person. I've had to come to terms with the darker fragments of my identity. I've gotten to know the me who is quick to anger. The me who accepts blatant injustices and abuses of power. The me who, after a long day, might choose a lazy drink with some friends over preparing myself the best I can for class the next day. I've encountered the me who sincerely wishes that I didn't have to deal with the issues that arrise in class because I'm white and all of my students are black. And I'm devastatingly familiar with the me who chooses to ignore those issues for the sake of teaching the next day's objective.
But I am more confident in my ability to contribute than I've been all my life. I'm fiercely loyal. I'm quick to learn. I can exercise "tough love" if I must. No more soft-spoken indirectness - an eleven-year-old's tears WILL NOT stop me from communicating that I think she's brilliant, that I expect better, and that she deserves better. I am blessed with the ability to see and bask in the positive qualities of my environment. I've formed relationships with people who are better people than me, better teachers than me, better caregivers than me, and who, for no better reason than love for the students, are willing to help me become better, too.
I feel incredibly similar to the way I did at this time last year. Stressed: because it's a month before school starts and I'm already behind. Thrilled: to control EVERY hour of EVERY day with my students. Terrified: to be responsible for EVERY hour of EVERY day with my students.
There's just one difference: I've already done it.