Despite its promising start, the Spanglish class is really floundering. I canceled class for a week when we took off for the East coast, and when I came back attendance had dropped off by at least half. Since then, it's petered even more. At this point, I think I'll be lucky to keep the class going through Thanksgiving. My new goal is to cobble along until then before breaking for the Holidays. With the new year I might try restructuring the whole thing as a weekly Spanish/English conversation hour.
I suppose I ought to feel relieved. After all, organizing and teaching this class has swallowed up a lot of time and caused quite a bit of stress, particularly in arranging childcare.
In reality, though, I feel disappointed. I feel responsible. It's hard to silence those subversive voices that whisper how the outcome could have been better if I were more organized or a stronger teacher. Admittedly, I'm mourning the loss of a dream. When the parents all came together for a few brief weeks, I saw the beginning of something beautiful with everyone interacting and learning together. It's hard to see this vision fade.
On the surface, this class was simply a volunteer teaching gig. Not a big deal. On a deeper level, however, I'd really embraced it and started to incorporate it into my sense of identity. This class gave me something to talk about when people asked about what I "do." Not that motherhood isn't more meaningful--it's just difficult to talk about with those uninterested in diapers and first grade spelling tests.
In teaching this class, I valued the opportunity to apply my education and grow professionally. Throughout college, I was enormously blessed by the generosity of others who funded my scholarships. Teaching this Spanglish class allowed me to give back in small measure.
All in all, I feel confused. In starting this class, I really felt the sparks of divine inspiration. From my limited perspective, it's difficult to see the greater purpose at the moment. What has this class really accomplished? What was it supposed to accomplish? At what point can I throw in the towel in good conscience? And if I do call it quits, what meaningful thing should fill that void?
Should I feel tempted to label this class a failure, perhaps I ought to remember these words of Oprah Winfrey:
"I don't believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process."
And should I feel tempted to give up completely, may I remember this wisdom from Winston Churchill:
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
While the class may end, until our school, our neighborhood, our country and our world are truly unified, the work is never done.