Well, this story is will not be an entirely positive one but, I definitely learned a great deal. So last night, I finished writing my speech and rehearsed, then tried to go to bed at 1:00 a.m. but I could not sleep! At first I thought it was nerves but I don't usually get that nervous, and I couldn't figure out what it was. I was super queasy ,and literally tossed and turned all night. In retrospect, I should have just gotten up and used the time to work on the speech, but I also wanted to look as refreshed as possible, so I tried and tried to make myself fall asleep. I went so far as to try and count sheep, but I kept picturing really cute sheep and then my mind would wonder to wanting a sheep of my own to hug. Anyway, the alarm sounded at 6:00 and that was hit. I tried to rehearse it in midst of my other duties for the day, and to be honest, I was not feeling comfortable, but thought I could still pull it off. The morning was filled with helping set the space for the "important people", listing to teachers pitch their IWitness activity plans to a group of middle and high school "sharks", etc. The best part of my time was spent with survivor P. We met to go over her speech and just talk. She was fabulous and knew exactly what she wanted to say, so I asked her for advice for my speech because I still hadn't committed it to memory. She said, "just read it, who cares?" I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO P. But alas, my own pride got in the way and I thought I could just do it. I always tell my students "practice makes improvement", but I guess sometimes you are not in control in how much time you have to practice. It started off well, and then my mind went blank, and I had to improvise, do my best to recover, finish strong and sit down. Inside I was devastated but had to stay on stage for a panel Q&A. I answered a question during that time to try and redeem myself from what I thought was a catastrophic disaster. Then P. came up to speak and this helped me put it all back into perspective. I'm not here to be a great public speaker. I am here to support the USC Shoah Foundation, support the program participants, learn, and most importantly, honor the survivors who are here to commemorate 70 years of liberation!
At lunch several people, teachers, staff, "important people", came to say they loved what I said, or they loved my poem, or asked me how I was able to commit it all to memory etc. I of course said thank you and smiled, but I sincerely wish they would have heard what it was supposed to be. Though, the audience may not have known the difference, I did, and it has taken me all day to finally try to let it go. What is most important is what I learned from this experience. 1. Don't be prideful! (If you need to read the poem from a paper because you just finished it that morning, read it!) 2. When a survivor gives you advice, listen! They know more than you! 3. Do not drink a cup of pure milk chocolate from a Polish Chocolate Factory because it has TONS of caffeine! (We found out that was the reason I didn't sleep, because two other staff members who drank the same thing, did not sleep either.)
Basically after lunch we took a long bus trip from Warsaw to Krakow. I was on the bus with all of the students so I made them sing, play games, and tried to dominate during Heads Up!
It's 1:36 a.m. and I need to be up at 6:30 because tomorrow we drive to Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum to explore the museum and tour the former concentration camp. Yet another reminder that this speech incident pales in comparison to the magnitude of why we are all here. :)
Thank you for all of your support! (shout out to Lucas and Ben!)
Until next time....
Make Smart Choices,
Michelle Sadrena Clark
aaaAaha I just read all of your journal entries :) you write just like how you speak and I love it! Simple, powerful, and full of personality. We miss you and this has been one of the longest weeks ever for our team, but I can't wait for you to come back and tell us about your experience in person.
ps. if you ever wrote a daily blog about our school life I would definitely read it ;)
Mrs. Clark! You have been in my thoughts and prayers since you left! I read your first post and then I figured you had been too busy to write. Then today I found all your other posts. To access the posts, it takes more steps than I thought-I was so happy to find this treasure. I will share with the kids tomorrow, Monday, how to access the posts. So it sounds like you are having a great time, despite NO sleep! Trust me when I say, you knocked the spoken word out of the park! When you get back to school, I hope we can spend lots of time hearing about your trip. Stay safe! -Abby
Dang Mrs. Clark that sounds rough! But hey it seems like now you have some new life lessons and are still able to have loads of fun wherever you go! Don't forget to take tooooons of pictures so we could see your adventures when you come back! and hurry back because it's very empty in humanities class without Black Mamba there to inspire :)
Can't wait to read more!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.