I love my new town. But I’ve definitely seen a lot of things that are deeply unsettling to me. I have to realize, though, that:
1. I have absolutely no right to judge.
2. It’s not my job to change these people.
My job is my classroom, and that’s what I can control. I can make my classroom a safe, inclusive environment. Through helping my kids learn how to think critically, I impact their lives, and they in turn will change society. That’s it. That’s my job.
My energy here is better spent planning how I will make my classroom that safe, inclusive, challenging environment, instead of judging the people who have welcomed me so warmly into their community.
But seriously, Southern hospitality is a real thing! I think this year is going to be amazing because this community is SO supportive of me and my work. Being here has definitely shattered all of the stereotypes I had/still have, and has reminded me that stereotypes oversimplify and dehumanize.
My roommate and I were watching What About Bob? today, and when I finally stopped laughing my head off, I had this moment where I thought “Oh my gosh I’m going to be a teacher in 2 weeks! And what am I doing in Arkansas?!”. Every once in awhile I realize just how surreal this all is. Then I look around at my newly-furnished living room and ever-present pile of teaching books and I realize that everything’s going to be okay.
Dr. Marvin had it right. Baby steps.