Tuesday, April 17, 2012


FINAL BLOG: Do I regret the past two years of my life?

Well here we are. The last blog. What to say to sum things up? Even though the minimum number of words required has been increased to 1200, I doubt I would ever be able to sum up my experience here. And honestly explaining it to anyone is damn near impossible. You had to have lived it to understand it. So I am going to do the best I can to relive the past two years in 1000 words or less. Here we go…

Do I regret my decision to come to join MTC? No. If you keep up with my blog, you may have read a very dark post written by me a month or so ago. Every thing I wrote was the truth and based off of pure emotion. But you have to understand how much I have grown and accomplished over the two years. I am far more mature and beyond my years. I was cut off from my family essentially. I could not go home for a home cooked meal. I had to learn how to do it all myself. I learned how to maintain my own car. I was the one in charge of all my bills. I paid rent. Most 24 years cannot say that they have a house with a fenced in backyard and a garden. It truly has been a blessing.
But more important than that is the people that I have interacted with. Over the years I have come to understand that people come and people go. As much as I loved hanging out with my childhood best friend, we eventually grew apart. In college, I made some amazing friends but we are all over the country and rarely talk. But I have come to appreciate the time that I have with them. I will always remember the times in the Delta when Charlie, Carmelle, and I laughed so hard it hurt. Or just turned the music up and started dancing. Obviously, I will stay in contact with these two but surely there will be people that I will never see again. By saying I regret my decision to join MTC, I would be saying that it would have been okay if I never met these people. That I cannot do. The people I have met and the friends that I have made far out weight the negatives of the Delta.
Want another reason why I don’t regret joining MTC? TRAVEL! Let’s review all the places I have gone since being down here…
- Rhode Island
- Hawaii
- China
- England x2
- Canary Islands
- Cancun
- South Caribbean Cruise
- Orlando, FL to see HARRY POTTER WORLD
- Atlanta, GA to Coke and CNN (☺)
- New Orleans for Mardi Gras
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Jackson, MS
- Countless journeys home

You know I think I maybe missing a few small ones but I think you get my point. I have been SO lucky to do all this travelling. I didn’t like my situation so I got out of it by travelling. Cost of living is so low that I could afford it. The original plan was to come down and save a ton of money. Well I saved some. I can still live comfortably and not freak-out about money for a while. But even if I wasn’t able to save as much as I wanted, I would NEVER take back the experiences that I have had. Each one of those trips above meant so much to me. If you were to take a snap shot of me at any of those locations, you would have found me smiling from ear to ear. Nothing could have made me upset. I was out of the Delta! These trips reminded me that I was still a young adult only in their early 20s. It is easy to forget that living in the Delta. But when I travelled, I felt like I was doing all the stuff that I saw people on Facebook doing. Partying! Being adventurous! Having fun! NOT TO MENTION, most people do not take THAT many trips in two years. I mean I know a lot are small ones in the US but there were still some pretty significant ones as well. If I had not joined MTC, I doubt I would have traveled to more than three of those locations.
Well I suppose it’s time to talk about school and why I still don’t regret my decision to come down here. First of all, I still believe that traditional route for education is a waste of money and time. So I was definitely going the alternative route one way or the other. And I doubt things would have been too much different elsewhere. Well wait, maybe there were programs where I wouldn’t have to drive two hours for Target, but oh well, it was always an adventure! Next, teaching in the Delta taught me a lot about what not to do and what I definitely will do with my own children. First and for most, I will start reading to them while they are still in the womb. I don’t care how much they hate it. But you get the point. I have seen such horrible things that I refuse to allow to happen to me and my child. And so help me if I ever get a negative report from a teacher!! That child will pay…of course I don’t mean I will beat them! I have seen far too many negative results of corporal punishments.
I was recently asked if I would recommend this program to others. I can’t say yes or no. This program is not for every one. I think there are a lot of flaws in it, but at the end of the day, I made it through. So did 19 other people. It is because we are tough young adults. We have think skin and don’t break easily. I could have been placed in a city in TFA and it would suck just as much. But I would have made it because of who I am.

I would like to wrap things up by thanking a few people/groups. First and foremost, a BIG shout out to my family!!! They will never know how much of a support they have been these past two years. Not one of them pushed back when I complained about the kids. They simply encouraged me to keep going and that it would get better. I never once felt pressure from them to stay or quit. All I ever felt was love and support. Their kind words and random packages in the mail saved me. I am eternally grateful. Of course there are my fellow TFA teachers who just made life more interesting! They acted like they were still in college 99% of the time and often reminded me that I too was still young. Shout out to the other MTC participants who just encouraged each other each weekend in Oxford. Finally, Carmelle and Charlie. There are no words to express what you have done to me. You have picked me up from the ground and kept me going. You have seen me at my worse and still accepted me. At school we often complain about the lack of appreciation we feel. Well I am here to say that I really and truly appreciate you two and all that you have done. I doubt I would have made it to my first Christmas without y’all.

And just an FYI, y’all are stuck with me for life. This experience has glued us together!!! Reunion #1 will be in Fall 2012 when we watch Charlie run a marathon in Chicago!!!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I like to do in my spare time...

It is all anyone asks me about. I mean for good reasons. Reading even two of my blog posts, one can see that I am very unhappy with my current situation. So naturally the next question is, “Well, where to next?!”

Well I have no idea. Goal #1: LEAVE MISSISSIPPI. Goal #2: Forget about MS and all the bad habitats I have started. Goal #3: Relax because I deserve it damnit! Goal #4: Find a job.

Although finding a job is my last goal, it does not mean that I haven’t been working towards it. The issue is I don’t know what I ideally want to be doing. That hasn’t stopped the search. In fact, it has help to narrow down the answers. Here are some of my thoughts:

- I am truly considering going back to school for counseling. Obviously not this fall. Kids and young adults (hell big adults too!) really just need someone to listen to. So I could join a practice. I could work at a school. But also with a counseling degree I could apply to mentoring jobs such as with Girl Scouts of America. They actually have some really interesting positions available!!
- I like jobs with travel because I can right now in my life ie I have no kids.
- I like jobs that make me think and allow me to use my creativity.
- I like jobs where I can plan events. This could be birthday parties, meetings, camps, etc. It is very appealing to me.
- I would like to work for a teen pregnancy/mom group. I think reducing this number would significantly help out in a lot of other areas. And this is one of the few things I can truly say I feel passionate about other than food, reading, tv, building houses, and sports. Ha.
- I would LOVE to build homes. Better yet, I love Habitat for Humanity. I have applied for several jobs with them and I will continue to do so.

So as you can see, I have narrowed down the field but I still have options. As of right now, I will leave MS in May. Leave for London in June and return in August. From there I will take it day by day and just be happy.

I get goose bumps just thinking about it all ☺

Plans for next year?

The only plan for next year that is set in stone is operations “Get the hell out of Mississippi!” Come Memorial Day weekend, I will be travelling back to Northern Virginia. I will be leaving this place for good.

Why am I so hell-bent on getting out of here? It could be because I am tired of being cursed out and made fun of by children. It could be because I am tired of caring more than my students and their parents about their grades. It could be because I am tired of the hoops our administration makes us jump through. It could be because I am tired of mosquitoes. It could be because I am bored out of my mind. It could be because I am so tired of being so far away from my friends and family.

All of those are very real reasons why I want to leave this place. However, the biggest reason is because I hate the person I have become and I can’t imagine staying in a place that has caused me to become this way. I have never felt so much pure, fierce hatred pulse through my veins. Its scary! I never use to say the word hatred because it carries such a strong meaning. But nowadays, when my class wont shut-up or someone is mouthing off, all I can think of is how much I HATE this place or I HATE this person.

I can’t wait to leave this hellhole and rediscover who I am. I told Charlie the other day that I know we spend all this time together and we think we know each other, but really we don’t. All he has really known me as is this woman who hates children and complains about her job all the time. I have never complained about anything this much in my life. I have never been this negative in my life. This is just not me!

I can’t really describe this feeling anymore. I know that as you read this, you may not really understand what I am talking about. Or maybe you are thinking, “Grass is always greener on the other side.” All I know is that currently I am not me. And I am going to do what I need to do. Change what I need to change, in order for me to return to my old self….or rather some semblance of what I use to be.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A day in the life of the lovely Laura Jones.

I decided this is not going to be one of those standard blogs about my daily life where I just describe what I am doing during the various hours of the day. I’ve decided to reflect on my day by describing the people I interact with throughout my days.

(545am) Of course the first face I see every morning in the mirror is my own! I remind myself that I am a beautiful, young, and (most importantly) intellegient young adult. It doesn’t matter what the people around me say. I pep myself up and get ready for the day.

(600am) Most days I run into my roommate at some point. Usually it’s to wake her up because she has hit the snooze button too much ☺ We often exchange very few words. Both of us are just too depressed that we have to go to work to really talk much more. I am not sure if you have or ever will meet my roommate, but just know that some day in the future you wil hear about her winning a National Teacher award. Once she gets our of here and into a school that really allows her to flourish, she is going to be an incredible teacher. I should tell her this more often…

(630am) Charlie. Preacher. My neighbor. My fellow mtc participant. My friend. Without him this place would just be unbareable. Literally he (and a few others) are the reason I have made it this far through this program. We keep each other going. We carpool to and from school each day. In the morning we exchange a few words but more often than not, we encourage each other to just keep going.

(730am) 1st period: JN. Every day that this child walks into my classroom, I cringe. He isn’t the student that curses a teacher out. No he is smarter than that. In fact he is smart enough to be passing my class with a decent grade! No this child laughs and has a comment for everything. He blurts things out when they are not necessary. He just has no self control and wants to be the center of attention. However, today I learned he is like this because of the life he leads at home. Today I was reminded that no matter how evil some of the children may seem, I have no idea what they wake up to every day. JN opened up to me today and I didn’t expect it. He was having a really rough day and it started at home. I didn’t expect for him to confide in me. Yet I had a conversation with that young man that I never imagined I would.

(900am) Planning Period: I am the department head and host departmental meetings. They are complete BS. But they allow me to chat with Ms. P. She is a local. She is also a very compliant teacher. Good for her because lord knows I do maybe 10% of what I am told to do…

(945am) RP!!! This child makes me laugh. He always tries to sneak by my room without me noticing. But you know what has impressed me the most? The fact that he is SPED but when the SPED teacher asks to take hime out of class, he refuses. He wants to be with the regular ed kids. I love his desire to learn and to be the best he can be.

(11am) DH. What a troubled youth. Deep down, he his a sweet boy. Yes just a boy. But when something goes wrong, all hell breaks loose. And it doesn’t even have to happen in my classroom. The poor boy needs serious anger management. I can do nothing but feel bad because truly I like the child but he has so many issues I don’t know where to begin. And I know his anger has nothing to do with me.

(12pm) LUNCH. Praise the Lord. After 4th period I generally need this break. JA makes this and my next class (1pm) so much better. He simply follows directions and is so smart. He is curious. He wants to know the answer to questions. He never puts his head down unless he is down early…and in that case I am failing him as a teacher because I don’t have enough challenging things prepared.

(2pm) By this time in the day I am mentally losing it and barely keeping it together. KL. Another troubled youth that I have taken to. Apparently I am one of 2 or so teachers where he actually does work. I have no idea why he decided to work for me. But I am so glad that he did. He is smart. He doesn’t have test taking skills but we can work with that. I usually have to calm him down and make sure he makes it to his seat without harming anyone but once there I leave him alone and he always joins the class answering and asking questions. He has even started to joke with me! I love it!

(3pm) If I thought I was dead in 7th period, I literally die in 8th period. Thank the lord above it is learning strategies. SB. My teen mom of two children. I have taken to her because she truly is a good mom. Maybe a young one but she is a good one. She knows she needs her degree to make the best of her life. And every day she comes in ready work for me.

(4pm) Preacher and I drive home. We usually jam to music because we are just so damn happy.

(5pm-10pm) I generally seen no one because there aren’t many young folk in the area. However, Preacher, Carmelle, and I often have lots of good laughs (generally at my expense…_)

(10pm) GO TO BED. I need my beauty sleep so I can do this all over again. So of course the last face I see is my own. I often look tired beyond belief with make up all over the place and hair sticking out like a crazy woman. This is my sign that I need to dive into bed and forget about the days events.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why Should You Join or Not Join MTC?

I am honestly tired of answering this question. And really don’t ask me why people quit. I don’t know the answer to any of it. I think it all depends on yourself. However, I have created a quick list of 50 questions. No this is not a joke. These are all obstacles I have over come/still deal with. I would urge people considering this program to read through this list and either answer no or yes to each question. At the end, count the number of No’s and Yes’ and you will have your answer to the question, “Should I join MTC or not?”

1. Do you like being cursed out?
2. Do you like being underappreciated?
3. Do you like having to spend the little money you earn on supplies because the school wont give you any?
4. Do you like only having the chance to pee before 8am and after 4pm?
5. Do you like getting gum stuck on your butt because students put it on your stool and wait for you to sit on it?
6. Do you like having to teach to the test?
7. Do you like having to teach to the test with kids who cant read?
8. Do you like having +30 students in your classroom?
9. Do you like working in conditions where the AC comes on in the winter and the heat in the summer?
10. Do you like having to write blogs?
11. Do you like having to drive up to 3 hours to get to and from Oxford about 7 times a semester?
12. Do you like having to sit in (sometimes) really pointless lectures?
13. Do you like never having free time?
14. Do you like never having anything to do?
15. Do you like corn?
16. Do you like cotton?
17. Do you like tornado sirens?
18. Do you sweet tea?
19. Do you like fried chicken?
20. Do you like fried catfish?
21. How about fried dog? (JUST KIDDING. But seriously, everything is fried here!)
22. Do you like corn mazes?
23. Do you like the most amazing sunsets and sunrises you will ever see?
24. Do you like Walmart?
25. Do you like flat land?
26. Do you like heat?
27. Do you like cheap rent?
28. Do you think that helping 1 student out of 250 that you have taught over the course of two years is worth it?
28. Do you like killing trees?
29. Do you think you can handle teaching girls that are 15 with 2 kids?
30. Do you think you can wake up every morning knowing that both the students and the school will shit on you today, and yet still go to work?
31. Can you speak well in front of people?
32. Are you a people person?
33. Do you know when to bite your tongue?
34. Can you follow instructions no matter how dumb they are?
35. Can you be in a situation that no family member or friend will ever understand?
36. Can you go for long periods without eating?
37. Are you organized?
38. Would you call yourself mentally stable?
39. Can you find joy in the darkest times?
40. Do you care about children?
41. Do you like education?
42. Does it matter to you whether or not you see any change in your two years in MTC or do you understand that it may not happen right now?
43. Is it okay that you may gain 20lbs during your time in the program?
44. Is it okay that you start running (because that’s the only thing to do) to lose the 20lbs?
45. Do you mind driving 2.5 hours to for the closest target, starbucks, airport, mall, bookstore, etc?
46. Do you like Macs?
47. Do you like blues music?
48. Does building a campfire to make smores sound fun?
49. Are you okay with the idea that at times you may consider this job a waste of two years of your life?
50. Would you consider yourself selfless?

My experience thus far…

This year has been harder yet more rewarding than last year. I am mentally struggling a lot more. My content knowledge is solid. I know how to get my students to pass the state test. BUT I am just struggling so hard with dealing with everything mentally.

This is really hard to explain. I suppose at the end of the day I feel like I have more things working against me than with me. Every time I come up with a new idea for in the classroom, something goes wrong. The administration puts obstacles in front of you even when you are trying to work for the students. Working as a teacher I feel like I am bipolar. One day all my classes will come in and shutup, the next day it will be pure chaos. And don’t even tell me that most problems stem from the teacher! When it comes down to it, there are days where the kids are just unruly. Even the good students act out sometimes. So to sum it up, I am over this experience and can’t wait for May 26th.

But this year I have also grown closer to students than I did last year. I am not sure whether its because this is a smaller community or because I have 2 classes with less than 10 students. Either way, it has been really nice to get to know my students outside of their academics. Its not always happy things that I hear about. I’ve had a student talk to me about a house fire that destroyed everything. I had a student talk to me about the loss of his mother and how he was the only one with her at the time. I have had a young mother talk to me about options for her after high school and how to deal with her children’s father. Maybe I am not making big changes but at least I am someone to talk to. Someone who cares. I am a young black female that is saying things differently than they’ve ever heard. I don’t run around using the N word or cursing. I am a teacher and I don’t have 3 or 4 kids hanging off of me. You never know when something you say or do will affect one of the students differently.

This last realization has me thinking about possibly becoming a counselor. Perhaps that is what I will do next in life…

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Hate My Kids, But I Love 'Em

I hate my kids but I love ‘em.
I hate my kids because they come in loud first thing in the morning, but I love ‘em because they will share their breakfast when I forget mine.
I hate my kids because they talk during CNN student news and don't care what's happening in the world, but I love ‘em because they ask random questions such as "Ms. Jones I know the Tsunami took people back into the ocean but are they really still alive?!"
I hate my kids because they come to school with no pencil, but I love ‘em because they refuse to do any math work in pen.
I hate my kids but I love ‘em.

I hate my kids because they laugh at inappropriate times, but I love ‘em because they can make me laugh even after my worse period.
I hate my kids because they slouch in their desks and act like the don't care, but I love ‘em because I know that deep down they do.
I hate my kids because if asked to do 10 problems they say "It’s slow!" But I love ‘em because 5 min later I will find them working hard and asking me if they are doing it correctly.
I hate my kids but I love ‘em.

I hate my kids because they make me feel like I am wasting my time trying to teach them anything, but I love ‘em because they always ask “Where you was?” when I take a sick day.
I hate my kids because they make me want to scream, slap, or punch someone, but I love ‘em because I know 9 times out of 10 it is not their fault.
I hate my kids because I know they can make a choice to improve their situation and leave Hollandale for good, but I love ‘em because I know really they have very little say in it all.
I hate my kids but I love ‘em.

I hate my kids because they fall asleep in class, but I love ‘em because I know how hard it must be to raise two kids and be in the 10th grade.
I hate my kids because of the intense rage that bursts out of them, but I love ‘em because they were never shown the correct way to deal with anger or frustration.
I hate my kids 90% of the day, but I love ‘em because in the end, they are just kids and have so much to learn.
I hate my kids, but I love ‘em.