Wednesday, August 10, 2005

the penultimate day, take two

Tomorrow we begin. Yesterday I went to Douglass just to see for sure that I was still working there (this is not me being dramatic. Yesterday it was announced in the news that $48 million was mis-interpreted as being in the budget and it wasn't there and that there'd be something like 400 additional cuts and I'm hearing from people on my teaching fellows e-chat page that several do not have jobs yet.) Anyway, I walked in and went into the secretary's office and said, Hi Ms. Platenburg. Am I still working here? And she said yes.
I've been feeling terrible anxiety the last few weeks. Half of the anxiety has been that I wouldn't be working at Douglass anymore and the other half is that I would be. That's just the honest truth. I've been remembering last year and its trials and the way last year stung my heart in so many ways. And I was thinking about how innocent I was this time last year. But then yesterday, at Douglass, after hearing that my job was once again mine, I ran into two students from last year, and they were both glad to see me and hugged me and all the beauty of last year came flooding in and I am now happy like I want to be. One of the two was the girl who told me last year that I was the first white person she'd ever known. I also saw the assistant principal, the one who wanted me to put up a bulletin board, and he smiled genuinely when he saw me and we hugged too. It feels like home to me there now.
Interestingly, I also ran into a kid I didn't know and he treated me coldly, like a stranger, and I realized that that will still be an aspect of this year, but I also realize that it won't last long.
On the way to school yesterday I stopped at Flora's to get some cigarettes and there was a woman in there who overheard me talking with a friend about being a teacher and she insisted on explaining to me some great new program called eyeq, and that I should try it. I said lady, we can't even get them in the rooms. It reminded me of how little the world really knows about what's going on in the schools. And as I write here I'm thinking that little encounter with that woman at Flora's might be just the way to start the book, because it's people like her (not disparaging her, she just doesn't know) who need to realize what's really happening.
I'm back and I'm thrilled to say so. But the best thing is to say, I'm still innocent.


This is going to be the year.


Blogger Nancy McKeand said...

I like the idea of using the lady at Flora's to open the book. You could tie her lack of understanding to some of your own from this time last year. Might be a great beginning to the introduction.

I am glad you are going to be back at Douglass. I was worried when I heard about the new cuts they were having to make.

I look forward to reading another year of your blog!

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

I woke up this morning and thought of you -- thought of you last night too on "The Eve of Douglass Take Two"!

Congrats to you and even more congrats to your kids!! Douglass made the right decision because the kids need you. Congrats to you on working at a school that attempts to address its students' needs.

You are AWESOME!!! I wish I were back in high school and in your classroom again. At least you don't let your teaching stop at the classroom and I'm grateful for you still teaching me things in my life.

I'm sending you PURPLE hugs today and you are in my thoughts.

~ Cassandra

8:38 AM  
Blogger HH said...

Hi Melanie -

Heather from PA again. Reading your blog really makes me realize that I am not alone in these thoughts and ideas I have about working with my city kids. I was just reflecting on how,since I'm moving to a new school, that I am going to have to build up that trust again with my students. I am so happy you're going to write a book about your experiences. I think we have it bad up here in my district, but my god. At any rate, my old school was in driveby, drugs kinda neighboorhood but it also pulled from a more middle class section of town; now, my new school is in a good neighborhood but largely pulls from center city, where all of the 14 murders have happened this year. These kids have so much more to deal with than their homework. It is so our job to make it relevant. Your blog is so affirming and strengthening. Keep your light shining, Melanie!

8:57 AM  

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