Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When God Throws You A Curveball, Make Sure You're Wearing a Good Mitt

As I've been packing boxes the last few days, it occurred to me that this time last year, I was doing this exact same thing. I was preparing to move from Columbia to Aiken to be closer to work. I had my plan all laid out: I was going to teach at my current school for the next 3-4 years, while I went back to school to get my principal's certification. After that, I was going to start off as an assistant principal in Aiken county, then eventually work my way up to a principalship. In the back of my mind, I've always dreamed about starting my own charter school. Even though I believed it was possible, it was one of those things that was so far-fetched I had no idea how it could really happen. So I tucked it away, and prepared to settle here for awhile and work my plan. I had become quite comfortable too...I had established myself as leader in my school and district, I was comfortable with my kids, and I felt like I was really hitting my stride as an educator.

And then the curveball came.

A freak accident on the job that resulted in a nasty head injury, almost two weeks out of work, and the sad realization in the aftermath that this was no longer the best place for me to be. I didn't know what to do next, but I do remember asking God what the point of all this was. I was comfortable and things for the most part were going well. Why was this happening to me? And if there was a lesson in all this, couldn't He have found a more subtle, less painful way to reveal it than knocking me out (literally)?

In the midst of it all, I had a conversation with a friend about dream jobs. I had seen a video about KIPP Academy in grad school, and I knew that it was one of the best charter schools in the country. I was in awe of the school's values, belief system, and the work ethic and team approach of the administrators, teachers, students, and parents, as well as their promise to see every student through to college. I knew that if I ever did get the opportunity to open my own school, I'd want it to be just like that. There were locations in cities all over the U.S., and after teaching there for a certain amount of time teachers could enter a leadership program to eventually open their own KIPP school.

"Why don't you apply?" my friend asked me as we chatted on Skype. I laughed to myself, thinking that I would never have a shot in a school like that. Don't get me wrong, I thought I was a good teacher, but not that good. As I chatted with my friend I checked out the website. I began to feel intimidated just reading about the interview process, and I hadn't even filled out the application yet. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't have anything to lose. All they could say was no, right?

To make a long story short, here I am tonight, packing my things again and preparing to move to Atlanta next week to start teaching at KIPP. It's crazy how God sees things for us that we can never see for ourselves, and orchestrates a divine plan (no matter how outlandish that plan may seem) to bring it into fruitition. Even though I'm sad to leave the kids and friends that I've grown so attached to here, I know this move is a part of a bigger plan. Whereas I couldn't see a path for my dream before, it's now crystal clear.

So glad I didn't drop the ball on this one ;-)


Sunday, May 6, 2012


Its been so long since I've blogged, I had to blow the dust off my page! But my life has been a whirlwind lately, as I'm preparing to pack my bags and move to Atlanta. This weekend I went home to Charleston to spend some much needed family time before the big move. Whenever I'm home, I usually stay with Saisha, my cousin/sister/bestest friend. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about Saisha...there are very few people in life who could ask me for absolutely anything (including a bodily organ or a limb) with no questions asked, and she's near the top of that list. Anyway, being together this weekend reminded me of a poem that I wrote years ago for a creative writing class in undergrad. The assignment was to write  a poem about a childhood experience, and this one by far sticks out as one of my favorites.

For Saisha

We sit side by side on the couch
as Mama and Auntie
make their way to the front door.
“Y’all be good for ya Granddaddy,” they say,
sashaying out to the club in
brand new high heels, tight miniskirts, and fresh new hairdos.
We listen for the sound of the ignition,
and peek through the curtains for
any sign of headlights.

It’s time for the real party to begin.

We run to the bedrooms that
we share with our Mamas and
rifle through their drawers,
looking for something sexy to wear.

I select a red satin nightgown,
the straps falling off my thin shoulders.
You put on a green gown with black lace.
We find the perfect shoes to match our dresses,
completing our look with two t-shirt wigs,
a red one for you and a black one for me.

We strut into our nightclub,
swaying our narrow hips as hard as we can.
BET becomes the DJ, and our red Kool-Aid
is the most delicious wine we’ve ever tasted.
We dance all night long with every cute boy
in the club, careful not to wake Granddaddy
with our wild party.

By midnight we’ve both had too much to drink
and we stagger to our bedrooms,
putting away our grown-up selves
till next Saturday night.