Let me preface this by saying i am EXHAUSTED, sorry if I sound not so spunky.
Today was amazing though, we started off the day talking about a rural community is, our preconceptions of the rural ENC, and how we are excited about working here. But after so much talking I got bored… I just wanted to see where the heck I was working. Luckily I am placed so I had the opportunity to do that today!
A group of 4 other sampson county girls (none are in sampson middle like me) drove down to clinton NC from rocky mount to check things out. On the drive I noticed a crap ton of farms, fields, trailer homes, and surprising mansion-like home. Interesting… Then we arrived to clinton high (fun fact: I actually interviewed with the clinton high principal to teach there, but they realized there wasn’t a hs position open so they put me in the middle school, I haven’t even met that principal yet). The two girls placed in clinton high went on some awesome tour of this beautiful 5yr old school, yeah I was jealous. I didn’t think to contact sampson middles principal to meet up. Buttt the 2 other girls and I did get to chat with a clinton high math teacher who knew a lot of great things. Some things he emphasized:
1) “Don’t smile ’til October”
2) “Bite the head off the rattle snake”
3) Be best friends with your fellow teachers
4) Be prepared to work your buns off 1st year
So I take these with a grain of salt of course, but seems like solid advice. He also freaked me out when he said there was little to no rentals in clinton for us, and even offered us his basement!? What a hospitable man…
After talking to him, we decided to wait for the other 2 girls and walk outside. Come to find out sampson middle is literally right next door! I am talking like a 2minute walk. I decided to walk into the office, was greeted by a not so nice secretary who said I couldn’t visit that day, then creeped around campus. It is a rather OLD looking school, simply because it was the old clinton high.
After that we checked out the other girls schools for all of 5 minutes (they were already closed), then met up with Margaret! She is seriously a saint. She is one of the reasons why TFA came to clinton. She and a board of other individuals advocated for TFA teachers to enter sampson county schools and is now personally attempting to help us find housing, arrange social community meetings 1 friday each month, and get us acclimated to our surroundings. We went on an all inclusive car tour of the town. There a fair amount of fast food places, 2 piggly wigglys (see below), a lowes, a walmart, the cutest gym & outdoor rec center, a teensy hospital, and a down town area with the quintessential ma and pa stores.
After the awesome tour Margaret took us to a community art show. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it because I am by no means artsy, but I LOVED IT. This woman had amazing paintings all over the house that we were able to look at. But, better yet many people in the community were there and Margaret was so ecstatic to introduce us to them. I met several established community members involved in politics, an older party animal of a woman who invited me to live in her home and come to her beach house, and even one of my fellow sampson middle teachers! We sipped wine, ate food, had many laughs, and even took a tour of the home the event was held it. It was an 1800s home, white pillars and all, that was donated to the community after a man killed himself in the bathroom. A really popular ghost hunting show even filmed one of the episodes there! Crazy i know.
We ended the night by going to alfredos, a small downtown italian restaurant owned by a real italian man. It was cheap and SOOOOOOOO delicious. I will be there all the time.
Overall, my experience today has made me so incredibly happy about my placement in clinton and I cannot wait to become immersed in my community and learn to call it home. Oh in case you were wondering why it’s called clinton…
And now bed time. Onwards to another long day of training.