Teaching Spanish in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 09 2012

El Dorado

At 8:30pm I seriously considered crawling into bed and sleeping until 10am tomorrow. I found motivation to write this post after some free writing.

So the purpose of this blog (maybe this should go in the About Me section, whatever)

1. Keep my family and friends updated

2. Reflect on my experiences

3. Share with other interested parties

I kept a blog when I studied abroad and many of the early posts were well organized and thoughtful. These posts are going to be different. As much as I want to keep my high standards of organization, I don’t have time/energy to do so. These posts are going to be more raw in content, at least throughout Institute (a.k.a. teacher boot camp).  Institute check-in is tomorrow and it ends mid July. Yay you’ve been warned!

Today has been busy and productive (as has everyday since I’ve arrived). Early this morning I left Delta State University to visit my placement site (El Dorado, Arkansas) with four other Corps Members (CMs).  It’s a three hour drive one way. I knew that my sleep schedule has already been altered because when I woke up at 7:30am this morning instead of 6:30am, I felt like I slept in.  In El Dorado we were lucky enough to visit the high school that most of us will be teaching in. It is an incredible facility that opened last year in June. The inside reminds me of High School Musical or a mall. It has  a ton of open spaces and windows. Even the new building smell was still there. We got lunch with CMs that are entering their second year at El Dorado. They’re incredibly friendly and willing to help. It was also fun just to sit and listen to their stories about their classroom. The whole experience really embodied everything that TFA has been drilling into our heads during induction: the importance of community in the Delta.

El Dorado is pronounced El Dor-EH-do,  it rhymes with tornado.   I still cringe every time I have to say it differently from the Spanish pronunciation but I do it because that’s how it is here. The town is about 18,000. The high school doesn’t match its surroundings. Many of the buildings look outdated, some abandoned. I’m sure I’ll write more about this later. I was very happy to finally see this mystery town in which I will likely spend the next 2 years. I say likely because I haven’t signed any contracts yet.

After visiting the town we drove to Greenville for a welcome dinner for TFA corps members. I’m so relieved that we’re liked here overall. There are businesses with signs in Cleveland that read, “Welcome TFA.”  It makes the transition a little easier (also I knew I was driving in the right direction).
Something to leave y’all with…

They say TFA people who come to the Mississippi Delta do one or more of the following:

1. Get a dog
2 . Run a marathon
3. Get married

2 Responses

  1. joylin

    Thanks Miriam! Can’t wait to experience the pop music in the hallways :)

  2. Miriam

    SO many of your sentiments are just like mine when I first went to El Dorado. There are moments when I still feel like I am on some TV show being in that school…especially when they play pop music over the loud speaker in between classes.

    We are excited to have you!

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Stories and reflections about the TFA experience in the Delta.


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