Monday, November 28, 2005

Reflecting on the Summer Blogs

Looking back over my blogs from the red-hot days of our Oxford summer, I am struck by how much faith I invested in the need for consistency. If there was a catch phrase from my summer blogs, it would be, “An ounce of consistency saves a pound of cure.” Several months later, I continue to believe that statement, and feel that I have tried to be true to it, with varied results.

Perhaps I need an addendum to my summer catchphrase: “Consistency is important, but sometimes change is necessary.” A teacher is a great improviser, and nowhere is this more true than the Mississippi Delta. At Simmons we have had countless surprise pep rallies, assemblies, and unannounced meetings. These have challenged my ability to remain consistent. Another challenge is the fact that I am a first year teacher, and I am often finding new ways to change and (hopefully) improve my class. At times, I have forsaken consistency and the status quo for the chance to reap greater benefits in a new consequence ladder or seating arrangement.

The other main thing I noticed about my summer blogs was how theoretical everything was. We spend so much time planning and looking at models for different things, such as classroom management plans, and while these DO help prepare us for teaching, as a teacher I am often in need of a Plan B.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Back from the North

It's good to be home. That's what I felt when my plane finally landed in the Greenville airport, two hours later than its scheduled arrival time. Though it would be an exaggeration to say I missed work (after all, I was home with my friends and family), I was not dreading a return to the Delta as my girlfriend was last Thanksgiving during her first year with Teach For America. I know now that she wasn't alone: many first year teachers dread coming back to the Delta after a respite back home. I, for one, choose to see the silver lining.

Quick aside: The Delta may not have Starbucks and Barnes and Nobles, but what it lacks in high societal charm, it more than makes up for in good ol' relaxed country living. The weather getting off the plane was gorgeous, a balmy November evening, and I will take 60 degrees over 25 degrees any day of the week.

I have been told that as difficult as it is to return home after Thanksgiving break, it is much harder to return after Christmas. That is probably true, since the next vacation is 2.5 months away. But coming back with a positive attitude can make your life a whole lot better. Optimists live longer for a reason, and they are a whole lot more fun to be around. Our profession, our Corps, has a lot going for it right now, and we as individuals should be happy to be a part of something so positive. You don't become a teacher for the vacations, but there are a lot of them, and if you make it through the first semester, you can make it through the first year. And after that.....that's just gravy, baby.