After everything I had heard or read about Institute, I was prepared for almost anything. I was ready for a sleep-deprived zombie-fest in which everyone stumbled around looking disheveled and slightly unhinged. While I have been tired—the product of five days without more than six and a half hours of sleep—it has been more than manageable. Almost everyone I spoke with was doing fine and even those who had to rely on industrial strength coffee were fully functional.
Speaking of coffee, one of the better modes of its transportation that I have seen these past two weeks is this 64 oz. behemoth of a container:
I immediately wanted this thermos after seeing it and I don’t even drink coffee. Once I scrounge together enough cash (it’s pretty expensive on a paltry teacher salary), I am going to buy it as a replacement for my water bottle. It holds 64 oz. and keeps the contents cool, AT THE SAME TIME!! It is AMAZING! But I digress.
One doomsday prophecy that has lived up to the expectations has been the mosquitos. We were told to buy bug spray before entering the Delta so that we could be prepared for the onslaught that would surely come. I brought one can to induction but soon learned that this was not enough, or so I thought. One of my region buddies made it seem like bug spray could only be purchased in Charlotte because the Delta had run out due to the Mississippi’s flooding. He basically forced me to buy four more cans so that I could be spared from the Malaria or West Nile virus that all mosquitos carry. His central argument was that if you run out, you will die or something like that. Anyways, suffice to say, five cans of bug spray is overkill but one can is definitely a necessity. The first day, I sprayed my arms and legs but only one of my hands and of course, the only place I got bitten was the one hand that I didn’t spray. On the second night of Institute while I was in what I thought was a safe haven i.e. my room, my face was bitten three times: once on the forehead, once on the bridge of my nose, and once on my cheek. You haven’t lived until you have a mosquito bite on the bridge of your nose. It looks like a bad sunburn that no amount of cortisone can combat. I have learned the only way to remain bite free is to bathe in deet and hope for the best.
The most exciting part of Institute so far, other than golfing using a miniature-golf putter because they didn’t have a lefty, has been the dorms. They are the best on-campus mode of housing that I have ever seen. The rooms are really nice and there is a spacious bathroom in each room. I was pleasantly surprised after hearing about where the 2010 Charlotte corps members were stationed. The beds are comfy and the AC is in working order. Coming home to a nicely cooled room has been wonderful.
All in all, Institute has been a pretty good experience so far and the teaching begins on Monday so I am pretty excited. Lesson planning has gone moderately well and I am looking forward to teaching the kids how to enter and exit the classroom quietly and in an orderly fashion. Besides the mosquitos, I would have to say that Institute has been a success so far.