The Purge – Wrap
Looking back, I have to say this day has been one for the record books. I actually walked home with a free umbrella, a free coffee, and a free unlimited train pass. This project is a clear indication that I’ve been in dire need to download my thoughts. This is literally half a year’s worth of thoughts and I for one am not mad that it came when it came. I’ve been feeling congested as hell lately so this was my way to share with you and myself what had been on my mind.
Sitting here listening to Beyonce’s new CD, coming in from a long day out in the field today. I went to campus today just to see that the library was closed. While there, I ran into one of my fellow fellows. Beautiful young lady in her mid-twenties with a great spirit. I actually met her before the fellows program began through my frat brother maybe 2.5 to 3 years ago before I moved to the New York City. This had been a really rough semester on all of us fellows. I think we all are striving to do better at teaching in the least, but academically this semester was just a huge workload shift from the year before. The oft-referred busy work, or research as I like to call it included a Descriptive Review of a child of our choosing for the entire semester. A descriptive Review is essentially an observation of a child over a 4 month period of time. The observer is asked to document all observations, compile them, then in these five areas, describe the child as if we’re the narrator of a story telling their life true to how we see it. There are five categories that you focus on in a descriptive review: physical presence and gesture, disposition and temperament, connections with other people, strong interests and preferences, and modes of thinking and learning. The key is do do this while you remove your own bias(es) from your description of the child. In another course we were asked to compile a case study of a child, then come up with an action plan to address any problem behaviors we saw.
Two separate courses, two separate disasters to try to navigate through the organized chaos that is a public school teaching day. (I can actually remember having no idea what the hell a case study was 3 years ago when I was working with the nonprofit. I love how can be so in your face sometimes.)
Anywho, baby girl had a rough semester. Being a teacher is really difficult in the sense that we’re included to naturally assess ourselves to higher standards with little noticeable variation to results. No matter how well you do (which you can’t even see) you’re always inclined to do better. As you take steps forward, you can’t see because your finish line is continuously pushed ahead of you in equal to greater amounts. (Or at least I like to think and make it do for me.) We had final projects due, this past week and she was on campus trying to get one of her’s done, like with hours to spare. I was legit nervous for her. I mean these were truly meaty projects. I had gotten off to a pretty good two month start on both of mine, until life got real in November, luckily I was able to pick up pretty strong when December came.
She told me she had been stressed, and had really struggled to find energy and focus to devote to school this semester. We talked for a minute and I mentioned to her how it had been difficult for me as well, and told her that I just made outlines of everything the teachers gave us and then answered in whatever bursts of energy and focus I could find. I offered to email them to her and let her get back to focusing on her work.
I had actually been on a mission to see what the hours for the gym were for the campus over break and needed to steal my way into the gym to get one of the fliers. Luckily for me the gym was open so I grabbed a flier and darted out on my way to the Starbucks that I’m at every weekend. It was drizzling and I had on sweats and only a pleather, but somehow I managed to search, forward, and text my homegirl one of my mid-level drafts that had some of the project outlines. I tried to let her know that I was available for questions… not that I was an expert, but sometimes it helps to just brainstorm with somebody.
I made it to Starbucks in downtown Brooklyn free from most of the raindrop heaviness. It hadn’t quite gotten cold yet, so I was actually quite comfortable in my light sweats and timbs. I’ve never had a huge problem finding a seat in the place. I have good timing I guess, LoL. I sat there reading Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu’s Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. 1 and jotting notes about engaging my students in our lessons once Christmas break ended. The struggle has been so real in these classes… but its also amazing the clarity I’ve had after just one day outside of the classroom. I honestly feel like I have some great ideas that could truly work depending on how implemented.
My Beyonce get’s interrupted by a text msg –
I’m getting way more into detail than I expected or probably even should…My apologies if I have. I’ve worked try to keep a certain separation between the people I engage with and my reflections for the masses. I read her draft, and came up with a few suggestions. I decided not to lug around my laptop today, and to bring my iPad and phone as my only electronic connections to the world. Initially I thought it was the wrong day. You see, normally I email myself versions of the assignments so that I have a saved draft in email if I ever need to access it. Today was not that day though, in my rush to be done with the project I had neglected to send it to myself after I turned it in.
I did however have my jump drive on me with the files on them.
By this time I was feverishly typing up my response to this Dr. Kunjufu quote that I find so… true to life. I have had quite a few unintended debates with self-identified successful Black men who see absolutely no purpose or window to mentor and pay it forward in their lives. The entitlement and blindness just disappoints on a whole different level.
Babygirl showed up just as I started to get hungry. Luckily she did because I was definitely on my way out of there soon. The time was probably 8:30pm. We exchanged pleasantries, and the whole time my mind was on food. I offered to get us Chipotle, she offered to get us coffee. Not only did I get to give her some better outlines, we both got to share tips, updates, challenges, and praise with each other in the first moment of clarity we both had after the recent craziness of Fall semester.
Eventually she bid me adieu, and traveled back home. Our conversation touched on everything from seeking love, to feeling unprepared for teaching, to lesson strategies, to catching up about old friends, to just being there to enjoy each other’s company. With her help I was finally able to dig into and begin to unpack what has been a ridiculous fucking semester.
To that I want to say thank you my queen. You are beautiful, and you are killing it! Trust me, we must stop being so hard on ourselves.
To you, I say enjoy The Purge.