Unpacking (on many levels)

I am attempting, and in many ways failing, to unpack my life on so many levels.

Unpacking, in the physical sense, since my car is packed to the gills with my things and my storage pod (such a handy thing) is still hanging out in St. Louis. I signed the lease today on a BEAUTIFUL new house with three wonderful new housemates. Each and every one of them are (is?) someone I am so excited to live with. I think our house will be a wonderful hub of creativity and learning from each other, even though we’re teaching very different subjects and grades, and at different schools. however, among all this wonderfulness is a not-so-wonderful August 1st move-in date. Since I’m already back in the Valley and already kicked out of my “post-institute” days at the dorm, I’m a nomad for the moment. Luckily my lovely friend, L., is moving into her apartment today and is letting a homeless teacher crash on her floor. So, in the physical sense, unpacking will have to wait awhile.

Unpacking, in the emotional sense, seems to be even harder. I’m attempting to wrap my brain around the last month and a half of TFA institute (which, for all non-TFA readers, is a 5 week intensive training process which I endured in Houston).  I miss my students, all 8 of them, and their creative mischievous minds. I miss A., who could barely muster the courage to speak but found her voice through her beautiful writing. I miss E., with his misbehaving ways and endearing brains, who enjoys making life difficult for his teachers. On the last day of school, we had a college talk with our class, and my Co-lab (we taught in pairs, splitting a 2.5 hour class in half).eventually questioned me into revealing the entrance statistics for the writing program I was in. E stood up and had the whole class applaud for me. It was seriously the best compliment I have ever received.

I miss J., who has always been told he didn’t need to worry about school because he is special ed. The light in his eyes when he finally realized that he is a good, good writer, that he has incredible ideas if he just follows them out from his brain to the page, is something I will never forget.  I miss Ale and Alexx, who remind me so much of myself and my best friend in high school. I miss S., who has been an adult so long because of what she has seen and had to do, and is determined to go to college no matter what. I miss C., who has only been in America 3 years and is already excelling in English, though she might not recognize it yet.

I wonder about M., who left my class halfway through, who I never got to reach. M hates english, hates writing. Could I have done more for him? Always. I always could do more.

This doesn’t even begin to address the amazing teachers I worked with. JH, with his never-ending grins and natural teaching finesse. I met my match in mean humor in JT, who gave back as good as he got. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed talking to someone more. Or EW, who cared so much about her teaching she actively sought criticism. She showed me strength  I can’t even imagine.

There’s so many more of them, my incredible co-teachers. I’m sure I’ll write more about them, because they’re always going to be with me in the back of my head, their voices keeping me moving forward.

Wherever all this unpacking leads, whenever it happens, I can’t help but think it is leading somewhere incredible.

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