Well folks, I’m a working girl now. Technically I am an “Americorps volunteer” but in my opinion this is a full fledged job (without the glorious salary attached to it). I wake up everyday at 5am and by 6:45 I am at school, caffeinated with espresso, and ready to power greet some high school students! I know what you all are thinking…”Abby, up and semi-pleasant before 10am? It can’t be true!” But believe it or not people, that’s the truth. BOY, things can really change! Like the fact that I am forced to wear khaki pants everyday for work and I am almost giving up on complaining about it. I’m growing up – slowly but surely.
My first few weeks of school have been plagued with observations of the discrepancies faced in the education system, but they have also been blessed by meeting so many amazing young adults. I very seldom take the time to reflect on my own educational experiences that date past college because to be honest, I took every part of my academic life for granted until my last year of college. After meeting all of these youthful students I am forced to think back to my own studies. As it turns out, I was extremely privileged to experience the secondary education system from a rural school in Minnesota. I was given a lockers and books to take home if I so chose. I was given worksheets to write on and a planner to keep track of my assignments. I was given a clean schoolhouse with plenty of desks to sit in, but most importantly I was given trust.
I haven’t spent much time working in the Miami-Dade school system but the observations I have had in these first few weeks have made me sick to my stomach. Watching students being shuffled down the hall like a herd of cattle has been the hardest adjustment to make. I learned a term during a Habitat for Humanity conference that sums up the feeling that I get every time I step into the schoolhouse now: it’s called constructive discontent. To me this is how we have the ability to take unsettling emotions, reframe the situation, and either bear witness to what is happening around us or to begin making sustainable changes with the people around us. Although I have always been one to sit back and let the education system develop around me, working with City Year has cause me to develop some serious constructive discontent. I am starting to feel that it is part of my calling to take an active part in changing this structure in the United States. Who knows, maybe after this year I will be saddling up for the journey of an educator.
Don’t worry folks, I haven’t spent all of my Miami time working. I have been cooking like a mad woman lately: soups, cookies, egg rolls, etc. Cooking pretty much consumes my life since I don’t have an extensive budget to go out on the weekends (hopefully soon I will be able to post some of my recipes). I also go to the beach frequently, and sometimes even take Winston with!
I have finally been able to take up yoga since I found free yoga in the park every Saturday! It has been a relaxing and replenishing journey so far and I am really excited to see where it takes me.
Miami has been incredibly great so far. Although there are always things that I find to complain about, the reality is that I live in a beautiful city with so many opportunities to enrich my understanding of people, culture, and ideas. I have so much to be grateful for here that it is hard for me to tell you all that I have been extremely homesick lately. I hate that fall is beginning in Minnesota and I am still sweating everyday from 7am to 7pm. Luckily, I had two awesome friends come to visit me last week. Although I still had to work, I was able to go with Ian and Amanda to the Everglades to see some alligators 🙂
Well I think that’s enough for you all to digest for now… I’m going to go enjoy some Miami sunshine before the sun sets. Until next time my friends, until next time.