04 April 2012

Beauty and Bahrain(s)

Conceited title I know...but so clever right???

Well, for most of you it is no secret...I'm moving to Bahrain!  No this is not an April Fool's Joke.  I have been asked that many times!  Yes, I'm serious, yes, it's safe, yes, it's in the Middle East.  I will answer all those questions in another post, this one is about me. 

For those of you that don't know, I taught high school math for 5 years and was always told I would be a good "teacher of teachers" (we'll blame Mr. O'Donnell for that one).  When a job opened up, doing just that in two middle schools, I thought "why not?" What if I don't like it? I can do anything for a year.  What if I love it? I have a new calling!  Well it's been 10 months...and I'm finished with that adventure.  There are many more that I am being called to in Durham (to clarify-it is the job role that I do not care for, but Durham and everyone I have met here, I love) but when it comes down to it, I want to teach.  

I have been blessed with an amazing support system within Durham.  On my first day I saw two previous teachers who have become close colleagues.  Christine and Beth (Ms. Fierro and Ms. Cross for you DSA grads) have both let me vent, offered suggestions, and raised my spirit.  My principals that I work for have done everything in their power to make my tricky situation (being between two schools and new to the job) as smooth as silk.  I really respect both of them and admire how much they have done in their short careers. The teachers I work with are amazing and have struggled through a whole lot this year, and I believe, come out brighter, stronger and more distinguished (how's that for a Teacher Eval word) this year.  Through all of this, I must say, the kids are my favorite though.  Which is why, I knew I had to go back into the classroom.  

I was reading a prior blog of mine that was supposed to be about life...and it centered around teaching.  I tried a new job this year doing more administrative duties (read: holding people accountable) and I ended up wanting to teach.  I do not know why I keep trying to ignore what I really love to do.  People have told me I need to do more than "the job" (read: have a personal life and invest in it), but I really consider myself blessed to love my career as much as I do.  Do I want to have a fulfilled personal life?  Yes.  But this is where, in both professional and personal life, you have to establish what you want.  Perhaps as Patty says, the 5 non negotiables.

I said something about the past year being an adventure for me in trial and error with personal life, professional life and the all around balance, to a friend at lunch the other day...she said "it's only been a year?!"  It pretty much summed up my feelings too...(sidenote: I want to apologize for anyone and everyone who has listened to me gripe, complain, cry or overthink very simple things.  I am trying to do better, to do less, to love more.  I also want to apologize to anyone I have hurt, although, let's be honest, they are probably not reading this blog.)

I need to figure out what I want-professionally and personally.  The only consistent thing I find in my life that I want, is to be challenged.  I loved teaching because the students challenge you everyday with an off the cuff question or I challenge myself with a  lesson plan.  I like it when my friends and family challenge me mentally by introducing me to new topics and situations that I would normally not expose myself too.  I want to embrace people for their differences and guide them to find their voice, not someone else's.  

Other the past couple of years, as they have grown, I have felt like my sisters and I have become incredibly close.  Emily tweeted:
" for 21 years I have looked up to and loved you with my whole heart. I am SO HAPPY for you!  "
This is the kind of support I'm "dealing" with so how can you not feel like you can do anything you set your mind out to accomplish!  

I know that it will be hard.  I know that the culture shock will be overwhelming.  I need that. I have lived in North Carolina my whole memorable life.  I believe that education is a 21st century profession that has no boundaries-with NC having a hispanic population that has grown exponentially since I last lived in Durham I feel like I need to be able to accept new cultures.

I know that a student will speak Arabic in class, I won't know what it means and I will get frustrated.  This happens everyday with Spanish in our schools in North Carolina-I need to grow a pair and learn to handle it.  

I know that I will need food and not know where to go.  I will live.  I know that I will get looked at funny because I am a tall, white girl-I will learn to dress modestly-'bout time, right Dad?

I know that you will all worry about me anytime you hear something about the Middle East.  But don't.  I'm so excited and nervous.  I am anxious to be in the classroom again.  I am looking forward to the challenge and adventure.  I hope to live today, better than yesterday, and strive to be even better tomorrow.  I know that there will highs and valleys, and again, I just hope to celebrate my high moments and do everything I can to rise stronger from the valleys.  

I love you all.  


  1. i love that you said "highs and valleys" instead of "highs and lows." i am stealing that phrase. in love with it and you.

  2. obsessed. with your adventures. with your passion. with you. POWERMOVE2012.

  3. Carissa, I am so excited you are embarking on this grand adventure! And I admire your spunk!
    Love, Linda

  4. Shocked? Yes. A little scared? Yes. Going to miss you like crazy? Absolutely. But, that being said, I am excited for you, inspired by you, and I know you're making the right choice! Love you!!

  5. Wow, Carissa! I sure will miss you - but this is an amazing opportunity and adventure! Lots of luck! <3 Sara

  6. This is so exciting!!!! I can't wait to set up my own blog, so we can follow each other as we embark on these amazing new adventures!!!

    Great First Post. I am looking forward to learning more about Bahrain and teaching math.