Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I write in direct response to Miss Marshwater’s blog entry of June 25, about which numerous first-years have expressed frustration.

I suppose that what first must be understood is that, although we are all part of the same program, we all can have very different experiences, even during the summer portion of the program when we are all together. Though Miss Marchwater herself expressed some wariness of sweeping generalizations, I will make one here and now: almost none of the second years agree with Miss Marshwater’s characterization of the relationship between the first years and the second years.

I have taken the time to get to know a good handful of first years, even though “we don’t ride the bus together” and the first years seem to have “material advantages.” I don’t think this has been really hard; I’ve just shown up at planned and unplanned social events (basketball, frisbee, parties) and done my best to have conversations with the new members of Teacher Corps. And the vast majority of those new arrivals are kind, interesting, and relaxed people. The bus riding issue, and the general proximity of first years and second years to one another has been a minor issue in developing friendships and working relationships.

Even less of an issue is what Miss Marshwater terms the first years’ “material advantages,” a reference to the first years’ slightly nicer housing arrangements and the technology package they received upon entering Teacher Corps (MacBook laptop, printer, USB mass-storage device). Such “advantages” came through neither fault nor achievement of the first years, they just were in the right spot at an opportune time. It is stupid, jealous, and childish to judge any of the first years for receiving any of those “advantages.” On the contrary, the only person to blame is Ben Guest, who made promises he could not fulfill and then made the (in my opinion) poor decision to provide the technology package to the first years as opposed to members of the class of 2006 who have demonstrated their dedication to the program by already finishing a year of teaching in Mississippi.

I have seen nothing but kindness and respect from the vast majority of the first years. For a second year to let anything but personal interactions with the first years color their opinion of them is a loss to that second year and a loss to the greater health of the Teacher Corps program. Petty differences should not enter into the equation and define what has for me proven to be a series of enjoyable, new friendships.


Blogger miss mouse said...

I enjoy reading what you write, and am impressed by your ability to examine your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. To then share that in writing with others, both what you perceive as 'success' and 'failure' is a rare type of courage.
I share your concerns about what I call the "burger king" mentality. I work in human services, and there are times when I just want to say to folks...the real world is NOT burger king - you can NOT have it "your way, right away!"
Congratulations on your committment to finishing what you have started in Mississipi - you are seeing some of the results of your work already, in your own self. The impact on students you may never see directly...but that does not mean you had no impact on them, either.

7:29 PM  
Blogger That Guy said...

I don't think your comments were fair to either Miss Marshwater or the nature of her comments, which I agree with in substance. She was not attacking the first-years as people but rather pointing out how the program clearly contrasted the differences between the classes upon our arrival, starting with the physical/mental challenges and ending with the unorganized first week of summer school.

No matter how bitter myself and others are about Ben's lie about the laptops, the first-years are perfectly nice people and will make wonderful teachers. I think all of us can agree on that. I also hope they enjoy the laptops and use them in many lessons.

Please don't speak for all second-years. We can state our own opinions.

Finally, I also don't think it is becoming of this program to for one teacher mischaracterize and personally insult another teacher.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Adam Ewing said...

If you are blind enough to misunderstand what I wrote, I can see how you are ignorant enough to allow your affinity for the author of the original post (Marshwater) to color your understanding of what is a very simple situation. Bravo.

2:24 PM  

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