Wayward Journalist

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 03 2013

Going back

No tenemos Walgreens.

It’s my last day away from the Rio Grande Valley. I’m flying back tomorrow, and will be in the Valley and Texas until my time in Teach For America draws to a close in June.

I’d pretty much had a meltdown before leaving for the holiday break. After having two stints with the flu during November, it was really rough being 50 miles from the nearest Walgreens/24-hour Walmart. During the second stint, I took a trip to a clueless McAllen doctor, who wasn’t familiar with my pretty-basic-but-uncommon-in-the-Valley medical situation, and gave me medicine that made me even sicker. Finally, I ended up in an emergency room. I considered resigning from TFA… before things slowly started to get on the right track. Delays with getting my car repaired a few weeks later led to a week where I drove to-and-from McAllen for four consecutive days after work – a total of 2.5 hours of completely wasted time every day.

When you live in the middle of nowhere, getting access to the most basic things become a giant deal. And it’s a situation that really can’t be explained and understood if you haven’t lived it. Obviously, when one is extremely sick or spending hours a day in one’s car, planning and grading have to take a backseat… and it’s impossible to be the effective teacher that I set out to be.

Perhaps if I could find a place in this town, things would look up. But that’s not destined to be in an extremely cliquey small town, where there is only myself and another CM at my school.

Before I left, I was pretty much counting the days until my contract ends and I can move up to the big city. I’m sure I’ll fall back into that mindset before long, and I know that the next few months are going to be the hardest. I love my students; they are without question the reason that I’m still here. And my MTLD has advised me to do all I can to get them on the right track despite these obstacles. Again, that’s why I’m here. I can’t leave them now. But the end of rural life for me is going to be a very welcome change.

(Phil Collins – Going Back)

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    Houston Institute '11 alum. Now a rural E/LA teacher.


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