Teaching Inside: New Beginnings

The month of January ended up being a hodge podge of everything. I had a draft of my dissertation due on January 15th, I started consulting in a whole other state, and Second Chance Educational Alliance (my labor of love) was gearing up for the spring semester. I was SO VERY TIRED all the time but could not stop doing the things that gave me the kind of professional fulfillment that I thought only happened in movies. Here are some snapshots of my reflections — on all things — during the month of January.

January 16

FB: Just when I was finna go all the way in on somebody for some political shenanigans, as I donned my robe of self righteous democratic ideology, Netflix informed me that, based on what I’ve watched, “Belly” is available.

Netflix just called me a fraud


January 20

Today’s Good Things:

1) An advisee, after our check in, said, “I was really nervous before talking to you, but you’ve put things in a much more reasonable perspective so I feel much better.”

2) First day back for spring semester of Second Chance. During introductions, a few returning guys said, “I’m here because you’re teaching the class. That’s basically it.”

3) In one of the sections tonight, a guy was trying the class out to see how it felt. At the end of the class he said, “I like this! See you next week!”

4) A returning student got out of a meditation group around 5:45 (section 1 for me starts at 5 and section 2 starts at 7) and came into the first class. He sat through that class AND through his actual, proper section (he’s in section 2).

5) Student from #4 says, “You and George L. Jones are like family. I know you only want me to be a better version of myself.”

6) I mentioned to the guys that they could submit to places like Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Half of them may actually write the essay LOL. One guy was like “Do we have to put our name in it?” and his peer asked, incredulously, “WHY WOULDN’T YOU?!”


7) #6 was followed by another student, an Armed Forces veteran, asking “You’re going to edit these, right?” and the returning guys laughed and said “Damn right she is! She ain’t gonna let trash get published because of her. Oh wait. She IS NOT gonna let trash get published. Sorry. I know you’re an English teacher”


Second Chance started with around 15 guys last fall. This spring we’re approaching 30. We’ve done this with heartfelt donations from supporters and with the dedication of people who volunteer their time to teach those most vulnerable. One day we will have more money to reach even more incarcerated learners, but for now, I’m thanking God for the impact we continue to have in the facility.

January 27

Heard today in class:

“You’re 40?! Well that makes sense because I was wondering how you were getting your doctorate at like 27.”

Bless you, young man. Bless you.

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