Jun. 26th, 2009

marathoner452: (Default)
As much as I resent how Chicago has treated us this year, as much as I resent what working in that environment has done to my hope and idealism and mood in general, as happy as I am that it is FINALLY summer vacation, it still hurts me so much to think of not working there next year.  Say what you will about the school, we had a good thing going.  Teaching city kids, damaged by Katrina and chronic undereducation the depths of which I could not imagine until I had to confront it daily, is challenging work, but it's also what I signed up for when I chose to become a teacher in New Orleans public schools.  I love those kids.  As a team of teachers we had so much energy, so much dedication, so much support for each other.  I doubt I'll find that wherever I'm teaching next year.  What we had was special, and I hate, truly hate, that Chicago had to screw that up and then they still have the nerve to get up at 8th grade graduation and pat themselves on the back for helping these poor backwards Southerners, these poor Katrina victims who can't help themselves and must need Chicago to rescue them.  The level of paternalism, the level of condescension they showed all of us continues to anger and frustrate me.  They had no right to treat us like that.

New Orleans has enough problems of its own without Chicago importing its own.

It wasn't until the last few weeks, since my sister and neice came to visit, that New Orleans really became home for me.  I have a stake in her future.  I am no longer the wide-eyed idealist I was when I first moved here.  I've learned a few things about myself.  I've learned I'm stronger than I thought and that it's okay to ask for help.  I've learned that teachers often learn more from their students than they teach them.  I know that whatever doesn't kill you does make you stronger.  I have no idea how I survived this school year intact, but here I am and in 3 days I'm out of here 'til the end of July.  Maryland to New Brunswick to Maryland to Michigan then back to New Orleans.

I'm rambling now and Lakeview Brew actually closed 20 minutes ago.  Suffice it to say that I wouldn't give up this school year for anything but I wouldn't want to go through that again either.  We survived.  'Nuff said.


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