I have seen a lot of changes in my classroom during the first two months of my second year. For example, I have a working air conditioner, the right number of student desks, an LCD projector, a decent curriculum (more or less), collaborative colleagues and other basic things in place that have made my year a lot less stressful. As a result, I am a much happier person and therefore a much more energetic, responsive teacher. This allows me to do simple, but engaging demonstrations such as using Mentos to make diet coke explode from the bottle.
Recently, my principal half-jokingly told our staff I was the “Most Improved Teacher” she’d seen this year; while that’s because I had a lot of room for growth (still do), I can momentarily put my Cambridge college allegiances aside to appreciate being an MIT guy. ;-P
Now, it is also said that: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” One of the constants since I’ve been living in the Delta is the infamous WAL-MART! I remember having to rely on Wal-Mart when I made the three-day, 25 hour-plus drive from Maine to Mississippi in June of 2010. I was exploring the region when my new GPS device suddenly died in the middle of nowhere. I was lucky to be in Greenwood, one of the most beautiful towns in Mississippi, and the Wal-Mart there truly saved the day by giving me a replacement model for free.
Fast-forward to September 2010: I was in the midst of misery, and in desperate need of some positive intervention. One day, I finally got that in the form of a simple raffle, where I won $100 to put towards my classroom thanks in part to a few dedicated parents at my school. Having already spent hundreds of dollars of my own money on school supplies, this $100 was my saving grace. Little tokens of appreciation for the tough job we do is all most teachers ask for and need to keep us going. These are not incentives per se; we’ll do our job anyway; they are more like showings of gratitude, which say: “yes, we do appreciate what you do and we want to support you and your students.” I realize people have strong opinions about Wal-Mart and I can understand those views, but I cannot deny the benefits of living less than 10 minutes away from a store. Most corps members have to travel quite a bit further to get to a Wal-Mart but aside from the crowds, it is a nice convenience.
This past week, I won $100 for the second year in a row, and while I’m in a different frame of mind this time around, I still need and appreciate the extra dollars. For example, I need to go to Wal-Mart today to buy tissues and M&Ms. Here’s betting that I buy a lot of other stuff too. Can’t wait for payday. “Welcome to Walmart,” indeed.
Time to keep it rolling…