As I sit here at the computer thinking, I realize that it is quite difficult to describe exactly how this experience should or can be defined. I believe it is because I am still living it at this very moment. The true reactions will probablyonly come much later down the road that is life. As of this moment however, I see my experience here with the Mississippi Teacher Corps as a long distance race. Now I know you are already thinking "This is typical of Jr. because he compares everything to sports" but just here me out. Two summers ago, I was the entering my first long distance race. I didn't know much about the strategy aspect of the race but I did know that I could run. I had been naturally blessed with that ability, as raw as it may have been. My mother was a runner and my father a runner as well so I guess that you could say that it was in my blood. Anyway, I begin my race with super eagerness. I shot out of the gates with sprinter like speed. Only no one had reminded me of the fact that this was a long distance race. I ran hard and strong, pleased to be among the leaders of the pack. I complete the first stage of the race and thought to myself "This is going to be a breeze."
This is when the race changes. Instead of being simply a long distance race, it is now an obstacle course of sorts. I have to focus on not falling,overcoming man made dversions and all the while staying the course of the race. The creator of the race inserted pit bulls onto the course to chase me, allowed rain, snow and hail to make cameo appearances, and even created devils who resembled family members, friends, and principals. These thorns in the flesh were what the race truly became about. It was not the race itself that carried the most importance. It was how could I handle these situations while running this race.
I finished my first half of my race and I still felt pretty good. I had made some mistakes in my race tactics but overall I was in pretty good condition. The natural talent of changing courses on the fly had made it quite easy for me to stay on course. I thought in my own head "If this is all there is to it, I may have a long future here." Here is a note to reader. If you are ever plan a video game, remember that the stages usually get harder so y my arrou should not celebrate completing the fifth level of a game that contains one hundred levels. The race heard my arrogance and decided to test me in new ways that even I thought were impossible for a runner such asmyself.
There is not a runner in the world who prepares for injury. You may think so but that is just not the case. You prepare to run, and you get yourself in the greatest possible shape so that injury will not be an issue. It only becomes an issue when it happens to you. When I began my second leg of my race, everything appeared consistent. I knew the enemies, the pitfalls, and all the entrapments of the course. I was not going to be fooled by these minor features of the race. I was, after all, a talented runner who now had real race experience. So here I am running along and I suffer the worst injury I can possiblly have. It is in not one leg but both. The pain is overwhelming and I don't truly understand how I can get myself through this race. I am determined to do all that I can to complete what I have started. This is when the race decides to change the running surface. The track becomes an elevated slope that requires me to run uphill. This is pretty bad news beacuse as you remember, I have two injured legs. The tracks lets out a laugh and becomes a slippery glass surface as if to say :Show me how well you really can run."
Ok people, if my story is sounding crazy to you, that is because it is just as crazy to me. I still look at my MTC journey as one that will continue long after I have finished the actual two year program. I started this program just thankful to be among some of the brightest people that I have had the pleasure of encountering. I worked really hard my first summer and even throughout my first year because I wanted to be the best that I could possibly be. My second year of teaching taught me a lesson that no book or class ever will be able to convey. You have to do your best even when your best is not your best. I look back and I see some of the work that I completed in mysecond year for the program and i think "Wow if I was doing that project right now, I could make it so much cooler." I say this because I am pretty much stress free right now. The times that I have been swamped my second year have outnumbered my relaxing times 10 to 1. The one thing that remained constant was MTC. had work that was required of me the first year and I had work that was required of me during the scond year. The race itself had not changed, but the variables surrounding the race had. I truly got my butt whooped my second year, whether it was the rides to Oxford after coaching all night or having to go home immediately after our Saturday classes in order to help my father who had suffered a stroke. It may have been all of the changes that occured at my school which resulted in nearly half of the facutly being released. Whatever the situation, it was bad and it was constant. I look back and I realize that MTC taught me all that it could during my very first summer. That summer was about learning the fundamentals of teaching but even moreso about learning how to survive. Ben would always give us stories about this month and that month and how you would feel during these times. Ladies and gentlemen, for the most part he was right. There is a pattern that you must learn while teaching. My MTC experience has been one of fondness because I think of all the friends that Ihave made while running this crazce. I soon realized that there were others running a similar race. Oh sure, some of their variables were a little different than mine, but they were obstacles none the less. I looked down at their legs and they were injured as well. I wasn't happy thatthey were in the same situation that I was in but I was glad that they understood my plight. That made me fight har had to give my der and realize thatI just had to give my best, whatever it was at the time. In the end, that is all that we can expect. Oh and by the way, I did win the race. I am a BEAST!!!!!!!