Monday, May 31, 2004

I have sat down at the desk. It's filled with files, folders, file pockets, and these little spiral notebooks with pockets in them I like to keep. I've decided to throw away the used spirals. But before I do, I read them to see what it is I'm throwing away.

Here is something I found:

I suppose my mind goes to moments and to people, former students, discussions about MLK's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" or John Cheever's "The Swimmer." Students curious or baffled, but more times than not, excited. Learning is beautiful to me. We stretch ourselves. It is hope. It is understanding. And it always involves exchange. It can't be done alone. There is goodwill inherent in that.

These are notes I made while an applicant for the NYC Fellows Program. I knew the job would lead me someplace different. How far away from this place it's taken me. I don't love learning anymore. I remember feeling that way. I remember how clear I was as a teacher and a student back then. These two years have convoluted my thinking, my writing, my teaching, and my purpose. My zest is warn down as well. Reading what I used to write scares me a little. I'm sloppy now. I lack control. It's like seeing your handwriting deteriorate.

But I also know I'm not that far away. I can get it back.

Teaching these children has taken the student out of me, but it's given me other things of equal value. I do not write these things to bash my experiences. I'm noticing the differences and the trade-offs.

(at this rate the packing will take all month)

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