Reflection Letter

July 8, 2017

To Whom It May Concern (Because I Don’t Know Who to Address This Reflection To):

This week had inauspicious beginnings: It took me a solid two hours to make it to South Portland from Norway, which is not normal. And it wasn’t even a drive I was unfamiliar with — I have passed the South Portland High School half a dozen times, driving down to Cape Elizabeth and Fort Williams and thought the drive would be easy peasy.

Meh. Not so much.

So, when I entered the library, late and embarrassed for it, surrounded by people who I did not know and had only kind of sort of met once before, I was thrown into my own personal hell. And being the kind of person who tends to perseverate on the negative, this initiation into the week really could have thrown me off. In fact, as I sat in horrific amounts of traffic on the way home that evening, after what was really a quite decent day, I considered not going back. I wasn’t entirely sure the anxiety of having to navigate social niceties of people who weren’t familiar with my personal brand awkwardness and tics (which, I’ve been told, are more obvious to me than they are to others) as well as writing and sharing what I wrote, which is generally deeply personal, was worth the graduate credits I was going to walk away with.

But God, over a grand is an awful lot of money to owe, and my district wasn’t going to pay for a course I didn’t take. So, I found myself in my car (and in traffic) again Tuesday morning.

Turns out, this week was a good week. After I got over myself, I learned so much. I enjoyed myself so much. I wrote so much. I pulled some writing out of myself that I hadn’t expected, like the poem about my grandmother, which I still can’t read without crying and got to share with my dad (my gram, his mom). I finally started to put bandages on some sore spots that I had left exposed for far too long as I wrote and readied myself to perform my learner’s autobiography. The presentation of that and the feedback I received was gratifying and well worth the frenzy I worked myself into the night before. And, most of all, I got to talk shop and learn from some amazing teachers and just generally cool people. I’m the only the English teacher in our program, and while we’re headquartered in the high school, the adult education is pretty sequestered from everyone else. I don’t get a chance to talk to other English teachers very often (I sound like a really lonely only child, don’t I?).

I walk away from our week together feeling stronger as a writer, teacher, and human being and looking forward to starting our summer semester and preparing for fall classes. It’s not a bad to place to be in. What’s more, I’m keen to explore my workshop topic and see what foments from that for the fall. All in all, it’s not a bad place to be.

I’m even looking forward to the 7:30 traffic jam in Westbrook on Monday morning.

With Love,

Kirsten

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