My gross keyboard

The Machine (2)

Read (1).

At eight hours, the screen darkens, my total clicks of the day flashes in neon-green, along with my day’s wages, at 2 cents per click. The supervisor stamps me out of the room and I collect my paycheck from the machine outside. The few friends I have envy this daily payment, but it’s only a reminder of my expendibility. Any day now, computers will be able to perform this job better and more quickly. I could arrive at my early am tomorrow to find that the bathrooms have been ripped out—because computers don’t shit—and the clocks taken down—because computers don’t care about smoke breaks. No notice or warning, and I would walk back down the stairs and stare into the rising sun, which I can’t see from The Room. I’d probably have to cover my eyes from all the light. And then

And then

Well, I’d have to look for something else, wouldn’t I? Not the easiest task for the immobiley inclined, especially when the buildings are so tall, with all those stairs to climb. Employment insurance for people in my inclination group is expensive as hell; I’d have to work double time to cover the premium. Company knows it’s just a matter of time before they’re paying for me to keep on my ass. The government requires it but the look the other way fee is cheaper. I pay it, buy a little dinner, and bank the rest.

I like (liked?) reading prediction novels, the old ones that guessed what life would be like now. They amaze me, what people thought would happen and what they were right about and did happen. We still have physical books; they aren’t popular. A lot of jobs have been replaced by machines, but that doesn’t matter so much because the antibiotic resistant plagues swept through and killed a lot of us off. They’re under control again. For now. God still exists but Jesus has been disowned, a twist of logic I’ve never understood, but I wasn’t raised a believer. For what it’s worth, people seem to be nicer now, if I understand the past correctly. But that could be from The Loss, not the disowning. I try not to think about people or people thinking if I can. Doesn’t get you much.

Microapartments stuck. They’re one reason The Loss spread so quickly: 5,000 in a building, sharing a water and air filtration system. I sleep on the refrigerator and brush my teeth over the toilet. The kitchen table flips over into a closet. The dishes are stored beneath the sink, which doubles as shower. I have one of the more experimental models, which is one thing that saved me. The entire building was a test hub and none of us are connected. My next door and across the hall neighbors died. I closed the divider and read What We Lost about fifty times.  When I’m insomniac, I hear Betty shouting to her lover that the paint on the walls still isn’t dry. The shit that sticks in brains. After the All Clear sounded, I showered and waited in line until a clicker got sick and I was rehired.

That’s when my mother died.
******
Marcos is staring. Marcos stares at me around his computer, kitty-corner from mine, always, even on days when I don’t get my window seat. Otherwise, my neighbors change.

Everyone has noticed. “Marcos loves the Machine,” they whisper. No, they don’t whisper. They speak it to each other casually, in my presence, when I pass, or in the bathroom. One day, no doubt, it will flash across the monitor when reporting my figures for the day. The system can be hacked, and has been, that day my paycheck was five times higher than it should have been. Everyone’s. We were silent and the hack wasn’t reported until a weekly supervisor stamped out. The company tried to block our paychecks, but it was too late. It couldn’t fire so many of us because that would have been noticed and the hack been reported. We kept our money and our silence.

That cold, dry afternoon of unexpected wealth I took a train to the coast. It was warm and hazy, and I slouched at the end of a dock, waving my shoeless feet over the calm blue water. The fish haven’t returned, but it’s been only ten years since this area was declared Returned to Original (RTO). RTO and PR (Permit Required) for any human based activity, like swimming or boating (row and motor). But, a weekday afternoon, the beach is barren. I hold my breath and slowly, slowly slink a foot lower until it makes contact. Still silence. Deeper, deeper until I’m panting with the exertion of resisting the desire for my entire body to feel the cool slipper spreading over it. Thanks to the hack, I can afford the contact penalty; I cannot afford the swim penalty.

Some time ago I went with a friend—taken in The Loss—to a psychic. My friend was a great believer and insisted I try at least once, to the point that she paid the fee equal to ten days of clicking. “I’ll hate you if you don’t,” she said, handing me the damp paper ticket. I didn’t then, but I see now, the slight shaking of her hand and the pale amber tint to her eyes. The early stages. We’d been given pamphlets by the government and received messages over the emergency network, and the disconnected had received personal visits regarding the signs. ATTENTION AND TIME IS EVERYTHING. I’d laughed, as you do, as I do when the border between serious and humor is unclear. And that day it was. Did she know? Because….

No, I can’t give you that, the last of her. Not yet. We’re still strangers and I have too many questions. How did you survive The Loss and how much did it cost? Or did you even know about it, living so far up here? Was it something you only had to read or watch?

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heat

Flawed human

I present to you my last two students:

Glisa

I worry about Glisa’s future. Many of the female volunteers do. Her 12th birthday was two weeks ago, but she looks older. One could say Glisa is too pretty for Honduras, because beauty leads to attention, and that leads to to trouble. After her last speaking exam, she and I chatted about her desire to study medicine in Cuba (apparently it’s good there?). I encouraged her with a full heart, because Glisa is such a bright girl, and told her that she’d have to be strong and push aside those that would stand in her way, like guys, because guys would try. She laughed. She knew what I meant, but she’s only 12.

I’ve heard that life at home is horrific, that the busito driver has pulled up to the house and heard her younger brother being whalloped by their stepfather. Last year, if not this year, Glisa came to school with stripes. While the younger kids share these wounds with the volunteers, the older ones don’t. I haven’t seen anything and she is rarely anything but cheerful, but I have pulled her aside to tell her that she doesn’t need to give the mid-parcial grade letter to her parents if she doesn’t want to. Glisa’s grades are not the best. She’s careless. She doesn’t study. She chatters constantly, like its an addiction she can’t kick. I shudder when I see her stepfather. Glisa adores her mother.

If she would steal Isabel or John’s focus, there’s nothing Glisa couldn’t do. She radiates light and joy and curiosity. She’s the only person to pester me with questions when interested in a science topic and her hand is usually the first when I ask for opinions. She’s the only 7th grader who (still) loves Justin Bieber and didn’t vote for Antonio in the school elections (he lost). Glisa is silly, with startling moments of maturity and clarity. She would also fit in easily in the US.

Glisa has a crush on Antonio, which everyone knows and he exploits. She hugs me most mornings. She is so hungry for affection and attention. It could be the homelife, or not. It’s this hunger that makes me afraid for her, because someone will prey on it. I want to protect her in a glass shell.

Lizz

After watching me talk with Lizz during recess one day, a volunteer questioned why I dislike her so much. Ouch. Awkward, egotistical, needy, self-concious, unpopular, and hopelessly obsessed with a boy who doesn’t know of her existence, Lizz has been hit with some of the worst characteristics of adolescence. Were I a better, stronger, more compassionate person, my own recollected wounds of those years would help me be gentle with her, but I’m not that person.

Lizz lies to me, carelessly, obviously, then denies it when caught. She disobeys my request that she not hit her cousin, John, and is disqualified from a game, then asks why she didn’t get candy when her team wins. I give her candy so she’ll just leave me alone. She’ll wave me over to her desk with a hushed “Miss, I have to ask you a question,” in such a way that I assume it’s a sensitive matter, but it’s something purely mundane, such as having her homework ready to turn in and I should praise her for it being early, despite her doing it instead of taking notes. Lizz is convinced she is the smartest, exclaims “Miss!” in a shocked tone over…what, I don’t recall, but nothing shocking…expects exceptions and special attention. I ignore her when she complains of illness, because I’ve heard her wolf cry too often.

At first I was able to meet her needs with sensitivity, but now I’m short, impatient, and snap. She’s just a girl, and no one deserves that, especially from a teacher. I don’t know if she notices, but I notice, and that’s enough to wound what is left of my soul. Tara is another recipient of my exhausted, impatient self. She notices.

My imagined soul is spongy like a liver and now shriveled, with decayed spots, like the heart with atherosclerosis I showed the older kids in science. When I am less than kind, or give deserved punishments, or litigate arguments over whose ball it is or who broke the pencil sharpener, a spot appears or darkens. I suppose it will heal, but I’d rather it never appeared in the first place. Ah, the pitfalls of being a sensitive and deeply flawed human. Maybe the damage is mitigated by hugs from the school’s baby dinosaur.

I remain,

theresa

Visual of a lesson plan

The rabbits hopped all night long

Some people were wondering how I make my magic:

First off, organizing this thing called teaching, would be a heck of a lot more difficult without my wonderful teachers from the Concordia University TESL/TEFL Certificate Program. Those women are idea masters, and while I’m sure they’d look at my lesson plans and find tons of areas for improvement, including my inability to set concrete objectives, I know I’d be doing worse without having basked in their wisdom for three weeks last summer.

I have an English curriculum but my kids are so behind that I’ve barely looked at it. We started the year by reviewing the present simple (Rabbits hop. Do you hop? They do not hop.), present continuous (Those damn rabbits are hopping!), past simple (The rabbits hopped all night long.), and the past continuous (While the rabbits were hopping, the students failed to understand this tense.). That carried us through the first two parcials. Now in the fourth parcial, we’re slogging through comparisons, including similes (She is as ugly as a monkey. My feet are smellier than your feet. They are the smelliest in the world!). Along the way we’ve started and quit Holes by Louis Sachar, a wonderful book but too difficult for my little bilingualites, studied parts of speech, basic sentence structure, the paragraph burger, spent an entire term on pronouns, and are about to explore the future simple and “going to.” We will probably wrap up the year with a review of prepositions. If this were third grade, I’d feel rather accomplished!

I’ve seen others’ lesson plans and can only drool at their simplicity—“Grammar tense,” “Do stuff,” “The End.” My memory is crap, as are my improvisation skills, which years of theatre games only reinforced. My lesson plans are detailed and color coded and written in Excel so I can have everything aligned and indented just right.

I plan my week around a short list of goals, usually a grammar tense, to be practiced in reading, writing, speaking, and listening (RWSL), and a specific writing skill, like paragraphs, and build my lessons from there. Starting with the third parcial, each day of the week has a certain task or skill area we always do. For example, we start every class with a Phrase of the Day to work on pronunciation and do an activity with that week’s vocabulary. Mondays always introduce new vocabulary; Tuesdays and Thursdays include reading a short story; Wednesday, a listening activity and review of troublesome sentences from the vocabulary homework; Thursdays, Bingo; and Friday, vocabulary quiz. Well, those are the goals, anyway. Inevitably, the activities take longer than anticipated and things get shuffled around, but the outline of the ideal week saves me so many hours of wracking my brain for a variety of activities that work on all the skill areas. The first two parcials found me floundering in a sea of how to fill my all of those minutes. Now, I still flounder, but less.

As for the day to day…here’s what it looks like:

Phrase of the Day: I found a TEFL site with silly limericks. We practice a line a day and then put it together at the end of the week. Pronunciation is tricky to practice because the kids feel self-concious about speaking alone, and I can’t correct them too many times or they retreat.

Vocabulary: There are only so many activities I can do. Some activities found online look fun, but I can’t imagine my kids understanding them or cooperating, or having the resources for them. But we have a staple, including the race-to-the-wall-to-find-the-paper-with-the-correct-word-once-Miss-T-has-read-the-definition-but-do-not-attack-your-competitor game.

Grammar: Look on the internet for exciting, limited resource, kid-appropriate activities, that will also accommodate their miniature attention span. Eliminate the numerous websites that promise “exciting worksheets,” an oxymoron if ever there were one. Consider low-tech alternatives to high-tech ideas. Consider prep time. Superlatives lead to a boon of activities the kids liked, including “Best of the Class.” The kids voted that Joe is the most handsome and romantic and that Kim and Jojo are the silliest. Krissy, by a landslide, is the strongest. An ideal activity can be exploited to cover more than one skill. Writing—students had to make a correct superlative sentence for their vote to count; speaking—students had to discuss with a partner if they agreed or disagreed with the results (not that the students ever talk in English unless I’m hovering over them); writing/paragraphs—students had to write about one of the results and why they agreed or disagreed with it. Later I might copy out some of the paragraphs and use this as a How to Improve Your Paragraph study.

If I can’t find useful ideas online or in my Azar grammar book, especially for speaking, I attempt to create my own, with varying success but almost always with slips of paper with drawings or words on them that the students have to pull from a pile to utilize in some way. Some work in reality, others, only in my mental classroom. As for worksheets, the few times I’ve downloaded them from websites, they’ve been for too difficult for the students, or just really bad, so I write my own, an exercise in tedium.

Tap dancing: In general, this is how I feel as a teacher, that I have to entertain my kids every moment. Be the most interesting thing in the room, make learning inspiring and dynamic, blah blah, all the responsibility is on me. I completely agree that a teacher should try to make lessons as interesting as possible, but the kids take this one step further and expect playtime. Sometimes I get that old fart feeling akin to the “When I was a kid we walked up hill both ways to school.” Boring or not, I/we did our work. I don’t remember my classes being activity filled. I don’t remember working for parties or behavior points. Yet, that’s what I’m expected (by the kids) to do, and if I don’t, all I hear are whines of “This is so boring” or “You never let us play football.” They’re kids, I get it. I take this all too far too heart. I’m not meant to teach kids at this level. What would it be like to teach people who wanted to be there? The occasional moment I hit on something they like is such sweet relief, this happiness, that learning or no learning, I want the moment to continue. I make note of the wins and failures and hope for the best.

As the end of the year nears, it’s tempting to just phone in the lessons, give them free periods, try to avoid bumps. But, like I tell the kids, I’m mean. Yes, it’s 100F outside and in, and I still expect them to know the difference between a noun and a verb. I refuse to be sorry. (Okay, I wish I were that firm…but I’m just so tired.)

Back to the whiteboard,

theresa

My gross keyboard

The Machine

I don’t know where this came from but it interests me more than the other entry I’m working on and might be more honest:

It wasn’t always like this. My days stretched between pre-dawn to post-sunset darkness, and in the light, I carefully, slowly turned the pages. Then, when the time came, I swung my arm to the chain above my head, pulled, and was clicked back into the dark.

Now, I almost never finish a book. I walk the aisles of the library, salivating over titles, book covers, and synopses. I gather a stack of the promises of escape and slide them across the scanner into my bag, which I struggle to clip shut, and pedal home with the promises digging into my back. Sweaty, home, books stacked against the false living room/kitchen/eating area divider, I stare at the titles from the reading chair, and choose that with the greatest promise of erasing the divider and cement floor and tomorrow’s 5am alarm and cold shower. But the words are crap. The words are obviously someone else’s, that person wants to manipulate me, and after a sentence or few pages my eyes slip, the book slips to the floor. Then I reach across for the next. Until everything is on the floor.

My mother died last year, and before you say this inability to read is some fallout from that, let me tell you that I didn’t love her, that she was a woman not to be loved, that her embraces were cold and she left the hearts of men and women behind her, and mine.

Do you love your mother? Do you ask yourself why? Why are we shocked at the lack of love but not its presence? If you tell me you didn’t love your mother or your father, I promise I won’t treat you any differently. I won’t offer sympathy or sad eyes or a pat on the back. Instead, if you brought this up while we were discussing dinner, I will find this a curious segue and return to the original topic. If you insist on returning to your segue, I will order pizza and then sit with you to discuss what you have chosen as our follow up issue.

Some coworkers call me The Machine. The truth is that we place far too much value on hormonal fluctuations that cause someone to love one day and hate the next. Why is this useful? Instead our efforts should be on monitoring and controlling our responses to red, blue, and the numbing effects of beige. That I didn’t love my mother is irrelevant. Did it cross your mind that she might not have loved me?

This recent stack is the most useless. I’ve held the books but can’t open the cover. The idea of attempting escape seems useless. Time is neutral. It moves. Tomorrow always comes.

I am the first, I arrive before my fellow clickers and our overseers, and I flip down the toilet seat in the last stall and perform the day’s first flush. I secretly fear (fantasize?) that one day I will find a dead body sitting on the toilet in this last stall. A coworker or one of the cleaners, perhaps a client. Again, hormones, but I can’t deny them.

My place is in The Room, the largest space in the office filled with long brown tables, narrow, crowded on each long side with computers. At the end of each row is a box of white or black mice, new and shiny or repaired and greasy. I sit in the corner farthest from the door. This is the corner with the window, the size and height of a bathroom window, but it’s a window. It lets in no light or air and its purpose is unclear for that reason, but it does let in faint birdsong. City Park is across the street from our building. City Park has trees and grass. The grass is covered in birdshit because this is the only place in the city with trees. Some days it is hard to breathe, and I walk to the park, cover my feet with plastic bags, slip on a poncho, and wade in. I place another plastic bag on a bench and sit. Imagine the smell. Imagine the cool oxygen.

In the dark of The Room, the monitor glows to life, my left hand moves from my lap to its far too familiar position around the mouse, and I start clicking. An hour passes and The Room is hazy with a hundred forefingers clicking the required minimum of five times a second. Light on blank faces flicker. The Oxymachine rattles off and on. A mouse is ripped out and dropped to the floor, “Replace!” yelped, and a replacement passed hand to hand until it is attached and clicked. This takes time and the forethinkers keep the day’s replacement in their laps. Click click click trill woot trill woot click click click trill trill trill comes in. Sometimes the song’s rhythm slips into my forefinger.

At eight hours, the screen darkens, my total clicks of the day flashes in neon-green, along with my day’s wage, at 2 cents per click. The overseer stamps me out and I collect my paycheck from the machine outside. The few friends I have envy this daily payment, but it’s only a reminder of my expendibility.

a horse eating snacks

Snacks and teachers’ meetings

In my previous life as a paralegal, I arrived at work by 730am, but rarely took my lunch before 2pm. This way, once lunch was done, I had less than two hours left in my workday. That half hour lunch was my oasis of relief, and the promise of less than two hours more of work served as my proverbial carrot (cake). Not very healthy.

Today, during our unending teachers’ meeting, a volunteer commented that she’d rather our communal breakfast were skipped or eaten while the meeting carried on, in favor of it ending earlier. This struck me as very U.S. American, with our business lunches and working breakfasts and networking happy hours. Let’s dilute a pleasurable activity by combining it with an unpleasurable one. Let’s squeeze more work in.

During his visit, my partner in crime, a.k.a. Jason, marveled at the Honduran love for snacks. Over the course of a three hour ride from Santa Rosa to Las Ruinas, our rapidito stopped to be boarded by snack vendors about five times. The vendors swarmed aboard or approached the windows and shook baggies of candied popcorn, mango slices, coconut water, sodas, and other unidentifiable-to-gringos juices and fruits, Despite the previous snack stop having been only an hour, half hour, or, in one case, five minutes, earlier, the vendors always found buyers. Meanwhile, Jason and I desired only that the rapidito reach the endpoint as quickly as possible.

Bus rides are boring and often uncomfortable if they’re at the full-to-bursting stage. Perhaps that’s why the vendors are so popular—a spot of pleasure. Teachers’ meetings are boring. But breakfast? A break in the monotony. In both cases, the totality of the event is extended, but there is a little good mixed in. Without the snacks or breakfast? It’s all just a slog.

A few years ago I read an anecdote about a road trip taken from one state to another. The original plan had been to drive straight through but somehow—a more spirited companion?—they’d gone the long way, through landmarks and sights, and the trip was longer but much more enjoyable than planned. The point was that the pleasure of the journey counts just as much, if not more, than how fast you get from here to whatever there you’re seeking. The how matters as much as the why and what. I think about this story often, in a literal sense, when I’m impatient to get to a location and a less than expedient route is taken, and in a figurative sense, as I take my winding route to what ever professional end I decide on. Here, asking a neighbor to borrow a chair begins with discussion of the day and weather and family, and eventually the favor is requested. Pleasure in the process.

My appreciation for the journey doesn’t extend so far as 8am teachers’ meetings, however. Today, the Honduran staff chattered and joked and teased each other for half an hour about the activities they would assemble for Dia del Idioma. A day that only they, and not the volunteers, are involved in. Meanwhile, the rest of us doodled. Nearly all discussions devolve like this, into bromas and chistes and unrelated segues, and the meeting is twice as long as it needs to be. Sure, there are volunteer-only lead events, but we discuss those at our own weekly meeting, which is much more focused but probably a lot less fun. Which is better? If we all enjoyed the diversions, if we were all friends, I’d wholeheartedly support the Honduran approach, but in this reality, my crank-o-meter rises the longer the laughter goes on. After all, the volunteers didn’t take up the meeting discussing what they would each make for International Day, as the Honduran staff did.

As I looked on from my side of the room, and, I swear, from a completely uncomfortable plastic chair and not from some perch of superiority and disgust, which seems to be the tone here, I caught a whiff of my classroom environment. The students understand lecture and note taking (not fun) and playtime (whoa! extreme chaotic fun), but not the grayer points between the poles, like discussion and structured hands-on learning, which often explode into chaotic play. It would be too strong to say that our teachers’ meetings are this way, but the reflection does pass through gently rocking waters. It’s obvious that so many of my challenges are cultural. The division between work and play is blurry. Part of the meeting was spent reminding the (Honduran) teachers not to play on their cell phones during classes. For the past several meetings, a reminder has been issued to the (Honduran) teachers that detention is not a time to chat and gossip with the students, which is why the volunteer teachers give out only lunch detention, which we supervise. Also, BTW, for the third time, detention has been moved out of the library and into a classroom, because the library is too small. And please make sure your kids clean up whatever mess they make during your art class, before the bell rings. And please stop letting the big kids out early for lunch because they trample the little kids. And Miss X, no wonder your son talks through my class because you have just talked through this entire meeting. The administration admits that they don’t separate personal and professional, so constructive criticism is a tripwire.

I can’t deny that during meetings like this, the thoughts cross my mind, No wonder the students act as they do. No wonder the country is so chaotic and behind. Act like grownups and get shit done! Ugh, knee-jerk moments of cultural snobbery. Or is it? Yes, it is, mostly. The Honduran culture seems very warm and social, where as the U.S. American is colder, more robotic. In the U.S., the project is more likely to be done by the deadline, but, in the meantime, I have no idea who I’m working with and didn’t have much fun. Here, the project will, inevitably, be late, but I’ll have made new friends who insist on bringing me treats when I’m sick (Vee recently had chikungunya). Both approaches have their advantages. Being socially awkward, I prefer the former, while feeling its hollowness. I’ve always struggled to balance pleasure with work, my scales tending to lean toward the latter, despite the river of silliness running through me. No doubt this is why I’ve chosen a partner whose scales favor the opposite.

This post is finished on Sunday, 12 April (posted two days later due to internet problems). I have exactly two more months of work here. While we don’t know (still!) the last day of school, the administration has told the extranjeros that 12 June is the latest date we’re expected to stay. My cool science fair idea is not possible due to a lack of rubbing alcohol, but my idea for Parents’ Day—have the seventh graders swarm the parents with handmade flowers—was received excitedly. I still don’t know what to make for International Day, but am leaning toward peanut butter refrigerator cookies. Also, horses are fans of snacks.

Moving along, slowly, steadily, sweatily, but never, ever suavely or smoothly,

theresa

view from finca

The final push

Here it is: the final push toward the end. Spring break (Copán with the partner in crime, wonderful, beautiful, comforting, heartbreaking, all the expected superlatives) ends tonight and only (or “only”) eight weeks of teaching remain. I remember early September and questioning survival until the five day weekend at the end of October. That weekend is long gone—but so easy to recall—and now I cling to the promise of permanent relief from this…this…grand experience.

The activities calendar for these last weeks is a procrastinator’s delight of events that could have been spread more evenly over this year but instead have been saved up until we are all exhausted and sick of this. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Science Fair (Come up with an entertaining science project with limited resources!), Parents’ Day (Make your kids do something adorable!), International Day (Make food from your country! Sell it! Maybe you’ll earn back the money you spent!), and Academic Olympics (Make up a game that tests smarts!). Too many of these boil down to This [vague idea] sounds really fun. You [teacher] come up with something educational that everyone will enjoy and make money for the school.

So much freedom and pressure does not summon creativity. Rather it unleashes the demons of self-doubt and anxiety and frustration and resentment. This is why I will never teach again at a general school such as this, where I know this insistence on extracurriculars is the norm. It’s these things that feed the growing monster that hisses I’m paying to teach at the school. I’m paying for this stress, and now you want me to spend more of my money—regardless of little it will be in actuality—and more of my time to make fun for the kids (overlooking that I do all in my power to make learning fun everyday)? Welcome to volunteering.

I don’t think like this most of the time. Only when I’m pushed. My inverse is quite ugly. It doesn’t help that most of the other volunteers, on the surface anyway, are unflustered. It’s only Vee and me, and maybe the sixth grade teacher, we who struggle with the hormone-throbbing whiny rebels, whose shoulders sag in anticipation of these events. But the distance to the end, rather than from the beginning, is now countable in weeks.

In addition to the weekly count, I’m starting the retrospective. I wonder who will remember me. I remember many of my teachers, and several, particularly those from middle school, are gone from my memory. I don’t expect to remembered by all—I don’t care about that—I want to be remembered by the students I work for, the ones who want to learn or who are at least diligent or with whom I’ve forged a connection…like Joe and Krissy and Isabel and one of my geeky boys and a few of the ninth graders, who rarely find themselves on this blog. The ones for whom I fight, despite my inadequacy. Volunteering may seem a selfless act, but my ego cries for recognition of the sweat and wrinkles, and the everything I’ve given here. Some will, I know. The dear ones…?

And who will I remember?

I’m questioning how I’ve changed. I have, but will save those observations for the end.

I don’t, and imagine I won’t, question if this has been worth it.

An abrupt ending, but I want to spend these last hours in a book or watching a series that I discovered a few days ago. Then it’s once more unto the breach, dear readers. (Well, if I can find it.)

In survival,

theresa

P.S. Photo from Finca El Cisne, a place you must visit if ever in Copán Ruinas.