Wednesday, May 12, 2010

T Minus One Week

So it's finally settled – I will be leaving my site on Saturday, and flying back to the US next Wednesday. Two days left at the school. Two precious days, each one a beautiful memory yet to be made. Peace Corps bills itself as “the toughest job you'll ever love,” and it's so true; I love being here and I wish more than I can express that I hadn't decided to leave early. If only I had a few more weeks in Liberia, a few more weeks with these precious, lovely children . . .

HA. Just kidding. Since the students know that I've already calculated their final grades, they have no motivation whatsoever to do any work and are more disruptive than ever. Today, I spent 10 minutes trying to get the 8th-grade class to shut the fuck up so we could review the answers to their last homework assignment, only to give up and storm out of the class in tears, after lecturing them about what disrespectful, ungrateful, thieving little shitheads they are (I didn't actually say those exact words) and telling them how happy I am that I'll never see them again (I did actually say those exact words). I then broke down sobbing in the principal's office, whining about last week's theft of my phone and the disrespect of the students.

So on top of the mess of feelings that I was experiencing before, I can add a healthy dose of shame and embarrassment. I could just see myself, sitting there, the poor self-pitying white lady preparing to fly back to her rich country, crying because a bunch of parent-less, self-supporting, half-educated teenagers WERE MEAN TO ME. Waahhhh!! Waaahhhhh!!!

And because I complained to the principal, all 200 of the 7th and 8th grade students are now being punished by being forced to do manual labor tomorrow, cleaning the campus. Some of the good, responsible students in the 8th-grade class came to me to complain about the punishment, and, pettily, I refused to listen and told them their class was rude and disrespectful and SHOULD be punished.


To be fair (and as I tearfully kept trying to explain to the principal in between denunciations of the students), I know that part of why I was so sensitive to the students' misbehavior was because part of me IS genuinely sad to leave. This HAS been an incredibly educational, beneficial, and rewarding experience, and I would not hesitate for a second to do it all over again if I had the chance. There are a lot of wonderful, wonderful people here, and I do feel a great deal of affection and sympathy for the students.

But I'm ready to GET THE FUCK OUT.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Erin,

    Just getting around to reading this now. The way you described the miserable behavior of your class had me quite amused. Such entertaining commentary is sure to make the NY Times best selling memoir list if you were contemplating a diversion from your blog:)

    Welcome back to the west, I hope the volcano doesn't give you too much trouble! Oh.. and many apologies for my terrible ability to stay in touch.