I’m sitting, waiting, and wishing in Washington, DC. I don’t yet have a placement. The little information that I’ve received tells me that I will be placed at a charter school. But that’s all I know. It’s been over a week since I moved into my new place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and, although the last few commitment-free days have provided me ample time to move in and set up the new apartment, I am beginning to get ancy.
I’m not worried in the normal sense; I have full faith in TFA and the administration that all new hires will be placed. But I am undoubtedly stressed about the timing of placements. Although most schools start 2 weeks from today (the 24th), there are some charter schools that start on the 17th. I need to know what I’m teaching and where so that I can prepare my classroom management plan and begin lesson planning too.
So how exactly have I spent these idle days? Well, as I said, I’ve been sitting, waiting, wishing (like Jack Johnson). Well, mostly, I’ve been running errands and setting up the apartment. But I’ve also had time to explore the district a little bit. I managed to prep up my road bike and go for a jaunt that took me around the Mall; past the Lincoln, FDR and Jefferson Memorials; around peaceful Hains Point; accidentally onto the Rock Creek Parkway; and back up to CH via the Whitehouse. I got a good glimpse of what the DC roads have to offer beyond unruly drivers. I can’t wait to make weekend bike trips into Maryland and Virginia.
On foot, I’ve begun exploring the endless trails that crisscross Rock Creek Park. The sensation of “exiting” society–by unplugging my iPod earbuds and escaping into the wooded wonderland that is Rock Creek Park–is one that I haven’t experienced in a while. But it feels terrific. In fact, there are few things better than hearing nothing but chirping birds, the pitter patter of one’s footfalls and the occasional wind-induced rustle of trees while running (I even stumbled across a stable of horses in the middle of the park). This type of running is relaxing, to say the least. TFA’s mental health session urged us to find “coping mechanisms” to help us deal with the stressors that will inevitably drown us with anxiety. Well, I think I’ve found one of mine. In fact, I almost want to copy Thoreau and live on Walden Pond.
Actually, on a related note, I’ve been doing something that Thoreau did very well: live self-sufficiently. I’ve become more self-sufficient in the sense that I am actually learning how to cook. After having depended on parents, restaurants and the many dining halls for most of the meals in my life, I have started a new phase in my food consumption habits. All along, my roommates have helped me learn the basics. So far, I can make red curry and enchiladas. I look forward to widening my repertoire this year.
In terms of teaching, I’ve done little preparation. This might come back to bite me in the behind soon. I just don’t yet feel comfortable planning anything without knowing what exactly I will be teaching. TFA is all about backwards planning. If I don’t have the end goal in sight, how can I do anything?
This past week of sitting, waiting and wishing has been pleasant, but it’s time to move on. I’ll be ecstatic if I’m placed tomorrow. I’ve got fingers crossed.