For the past 7 weeks, I have been working as a TAC (Teaching Asst./Counselor) at NC Governor's School West on the campus of Salem College in Winston-Salem. The session ends in 2 days (sat. 7/25) and I decided to reflect on some of the experiences that I have had in the last 2 months.
(these are in particular order, thus numerical connotations mean nothing)
1. Teenagers have changed little since I was here at GSW in 2004. In fact, they are very much the same. From being possessed with the opposite sex to their seemingly apathetic attitudes towards advancement of any kind, most teens are basically the same as they have been for many years now. Perhaps the only thing that has really changed is the fact that when they meet someone like me for the first time, "Sir" is the kind of response I get from them. Oh, to only be young again.
2. I had the chance to meet and talk with one of the speakers we had this year at GSW. Dave Chameides spoke on sustainable practices to help the environment. Not only is Dave a Hollywood/Television director & cameraman but a great speaker and guy who was actually interested in the dodgeball clinic i was teaching the day he left. Dave's presentation was not political/arrogant or any other negative adjective, but informational about how we can all take steps to not "stop problems" but to take ourselves out of the problem itself by refusing to continue unsustainable practices.
3. The age disconnect (or lack thereof) between me and the students. Of course, being 5 years older than the oldest students creates some barriers between me and my residents, i was surprised to find my residents playing the Nintendo 64 one day, wondering exactly how old they really were when it first came out. Luckily, Super Smash Bros. & Tony Hawk's Pro Skater can translate to any generation.
4. The Refectory food is still horrible. I would hate to know how much of my paycheck I have already blown by eating out so much to avoid the cafeteria at Salem. However, such desperation is not all bad, for instance, as I was able to discover such fantastic Winston eateries like Downtown Deli (the best crab cakes around) and Mr. Barbecue (whose Peach Cobbler will make you want to go behind the counter and hug the owner its so good). Thanks to these food adventures, I will leave Winston with memories & a few added pounds.
5. Recession problems affect every facet of life, even if they are not visible. As Governor's School risks funding cuts & unpopular initiatives such as charging students to attend are being debated before the NC General Assembly, the realities of these economic realities are hitting home for many here, including students and faculty.
Between now & the beginning of Divinity School, I will be able to experience some more great things like Camp Dixie, Georgia, the beach & other people & places.
Thanks Winston-Salem, it's been fun.