Danya in Dallas

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 25 2012

Institute, Day 15: Real Talk

Even when you feel like you’ve survived your “worst day of Institute,” another “worst day of Institute” might pop up when you least expect it. One might not be quantifiably worse than the other, but instead it is “worst” in different ways. Today was discouraging in its own way and I feel like my foundations are shaken. I feel so angry and frustrated right now I could eat a ¬†a steak. Not because I like steak – just to spite the animal by feasting on its carcass (I’m a vegetarian, and fully intend to stay that way). I feel like many times I talk to anyone here who isn’t a fellow corps member, I just hit a wall of “TFA talk” that’s the rthetorical equivalent of being put on hold/transferred endlessly on a company phone line with “We value your _____, but please ______” so I’ve begin to shut down. On top of that, a lot of this feels like being right back in the worst parts of middle school and junior high. Working at a middle school means, well, working with middle schoolers, and although it’s been happening the entire time I’ve been here, today I was particularly sensitive to the jokes the kids here are making about my appearances. I get it, I get it, I’m not conventionally attractive, perhaps not attractive by any standard, and I know my hair is huge and I don’t wear the nice little J. Crew uniform all the pretty, fit ¬†teachers around me are wearing, but just because I’m nearly a decade older than these kids doesn’t mean their laughs and stares don’t make me feel insecure and send me back into horrible middle school memory lane. Even with TFAers I can’t say it’s much better, especially after a day like this. Getting dinner back in the dorms times feels like I’m back in high school, surrounded by a bunch of people who are blonder than me, better dressed, more well-adjusted than me, and I feel like a complete outsider. I appreciate now how much the UofC was a haven for my sort of type, the type that probably couldn’t survive anywhere else, but here I feel like I’ve been suddenly thrown back into the social atmosphere of that nebulous “outside world” I ignored for 4 years, where at the end of the day, I’m just a scrubby kid with big hair who reads a lot of books and doesn’t really get invited anywhere, just like I’ve been my entire life. I’m sorry that the last few posts are pretty gloomy. I’m making it through and have every intention to finish strong.

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Crescat scientia; vita excolatur!

Dallas-Fort Worth
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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