I have so much to say and so little time. I just got back from Michigan, which was a truly tranformational experience and I’m about to head to Israel which I’m sure will be nothing less than amazing. Because I can’t really explain everything right now as I have graduate work due, and laundry and packing I’m going to copy and paste some information I’ve been meaning to share from some emails I’ve had with my Israel trip coordinator. A lot of it is just about me and I how I see myself as a person. It definitely could have been shared at the beginning of this blog but I’m not entirely sure I knew all of this then. Also, I edited out some personal information for obvious reasons.
First email: June 30th
I teach preschool to 3-5 year olds and just finished for the summer on Friday! Here are some things about me:
1. I am currently reading Alex Kotlowitz’s “The Other Side of The River” before I head to Michigan for a TFA Leadership Pilot retreat to Benton Harbor next week. I also read “There Are No Children Here” after I heard him speak at my Chicago Induction last year.
2. I have a dog named Leo, who is my baby. My blind, deaf, grumpy, 9-year old baby.
4. I live with my girlfriend, who is a bartender. We’ve had a number of issues since moving to Chicago about disclosing our relationship to people at our jobs because she identifies as gay and I don’t. I have no problem talking about our relationship, but it’s a constant worry for me that if the parents of my students find out they might be upset and remove their child from my class which would break my heart. It sounds cliche but I’ve done a lot of thinking this year about my identity as a person, as a girlfriend, and as a teacher and how they all relate to each other.
5. I’m an open book. Literally, ask me anything, I like chatting.
6. On the survey sent out by REALITY, when asked who I’d have dinner with dead, or alive, I said Kim Jong Il. I think that man was the most eccentric person on the planet and I think dinner conversation with him would be so amusing. Also, I heard he invented the cheeseburger and had lobster flown in every day for meals. Also at one time, he was the largest private buyer of Hennessy. Don’t try to tell me that dinner wouldn’t be great.
7. I love to travel. Israel will be my 14th country stamped in my passport.
8. I majored in Psychology and minored in Art History. So far the psychology degree is proving to be a good choice but the art hiz isn’t really pulling it’s weight, but I do have a strong appreciation for Rothko and Manet.
9. I gave all my graduating students “Where The Wild Things Are” because we read it so much this year I have it memorized. My favorite line is “The Wild Things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go! We’ll eat you up we love you so!’” and I repeated the line to them at the end of the year at graduation.
and added by my girlfriend, for me, 10. I just received a SodaStream and it is life-changing, to say the least. ROOT BEER AND COLA IN ONE MACHINE?! Dreams do come true.
Second email: Today, July 14th
I just got back from a retreat to Benton Harbor, Michigan with the Values Based Leadership Pilot program I am a part of. As corny as it sounds, I found the entire thing very transformational. It would take way too much time to explain how I transformed via email, so just ask me in person if you’re interested. I learned this year that I am very good at reflecting but a lot of it needs to be in person, because I do a lot better verbally than responding to written questions. I love chatting and getting to know people, but I feel like the world is becoming so technology based, and with that, getting to know people isn’t as authentic as it used to be. That being said, I’m the first person to jump on my email on my phone/tablet/computer and shoot off 8-10 emails in 20 minutes, but its definitely not something I’m proud of.
Let’s see if I can say anything that hasnt already been said:
-I grew up in bubble of a county outside of Washington, DC and didn’t know how good I had it until maybe 2 years ago. I’m still rediscovering my privilege on a regular basis (like while I was in Michigan), and while I love where I came from, in some ways I feel like it hindered my teaching this first year.
-I code switch a lot in talking to my students, my friends from school, my mentors/advisors/TFA staff, and my family, but sometimes you can hear me use lingo from a different context of my life which makes people laugh.
-I came into TFA with a definite handle on my identity and who I was, where I came from, and what my challenges were, and that got blown up within 1 week of institute. Now I’m constantly grappling to try and figure out where all my experiences, past and present and future, fit into my now life as a teacher, a sister, a girlfriend, a daughter, a “jew”. With that, I try not to go into anything with any expectations because it’s almost guaranteed it’s all going to change in minutes.
-I am not at all musically inclined, but I love listening to music and I guess the song that I’ve been stuck on for the past week has been Blood Bank by Bon Iver, it goes hand in hand with my life transformation, at least for now, and that’s what I feel would be appropriate representing me. But I might change it later. Reader Note: This is in response to asking what song I would say represents me right now