>I Am Teacher

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I could have gotten my Real Estate license.  I could have only gone to school for two years and would have made a very efficient paralegal.   The local Starbucks is always in need of friendly help.  This is the daily morning conversation with myself on my way to school.  I could have done any one of those things.  But I didn’t.  I chose to teach English to unruly teenagers instead.  I have to remind myself of why I made this decision, though it often escapes me.  I’m shaping young minds, I say.  I’m making a difference.  I am molding the future of my children to come.  All of that does not matter when the heel of my black pump french kisses the wad of blue gum stuck onto the hallway floor and I am rooted in place, in the midst of dancing teenage eyes.  All of this does not matter when I discover that that same gum has found itself into the key hole of my door. It does not matter when I am stuck in a showdown with a young man who could throw me over simply by breathing in my direction because he is late for the third time without a pass.  It does not matter when the class has performing a coup de tat and I have been overthrown.  It especially does not matter when I have spent over ten hours on a beautiful Saturday preparing a well-thought out lesson only to be interrupted by, 

“Can I have the pass?” 
“Mrs. S, new shoes? They’re ugly”  
“I thought teacher’s were smart.”  
“We had homework?” 
“You’re not fair” “
I don’t want to.” 
“You can’t make me.”
“What are you gonna do about it?”
Why is this a noble profession again?  Why am I not on a farm in the middle of Virginia growing my own organic tomatoes, weaving baskets barefoot, strumming on an old guitar by the “crick” watching the sun set from my dilapidated porch front yelling to Jimmy, the boy next door with the fishing pole to “Catch a big ‘un!” 
Why?  Because I am shaping young minds in New Jersey.  I am attempting to shape young minds in New Jersey.  I am praying that the young minds may let me speak for at least ten minutes of the class period.  I am asking God that the young minds would perhaps not be so hostile to the good little teacher.  I am seeking refuge in the Teacher’s bathroom hoping the young minds won’t find me for another minute while I wipe tears of frustration.  I am hoping the young minds will sit down in their seats instead of on the window ledges and stop using profane language-at least not be so loud when my supervisor walks by-and that they will not eat in my classroom and that they stop telling me to piss off-and that perhaps they will realize that I actually care for them but the space in my soul is getting smaller and smaller….
I am teacher.  For now.  For as long as I can make it in this noble profession.  However, for the record, making espresso is more than a job.  It is an art.  
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3 thoughts on “>I Am Teacher

  1. >If it’s any consolation it sure sounds a lot like being a mother. Stepping in gum or spilled pretzels while trying to take yourself seriously. How about this? You are having a serious conversation with someone you just met about, say, the news or life or maybe even something intellectual (Yes, I said it! it’s not a dirty word just one we don’t use around toddlers much) only to have some small person puke down your sleeve. How do you nobly recover your sense of station & importance in that moment?In moments of lecturing on the great burning calling of ones kindness & generosity to your fellow man (or even your little brother) I am often interrupted with: “Can I have a drink?””Are we done yet?'”Don’t touch that!” (Directed to said little brother)Or the ever impressive “Blahgdahblahdiblah” reply which includes a sing song voice, eye rolls, head tosses and hand gestures.These moments, in turn, send me to the bathroom, or my room or my favorite room away from it all, the patio, to cry my tears of frustration & ask God ‘Why am I doing this again? I am certain they never listen! They’re just going to turn into villainous rebels anyway and now it’s going to look like it’s my fault!”I guess life is just full of those moments where grace takes us unawares to our own raw humanity. I am no more than a humble teacher, like you, who can pray & wander or waddle my way through these days. I can’t make my kids or myself any different from who God made me to be and I am realizing that the daily ‘buff & shine’ only gets you so far. Eventually the polish will wear off again…It is truly humbling (in the grounding, rooting, richness of the earth sort of way) to live our lives on the terms given to us. I know I create grand visions and schemes for the life I want to live. I would much rather leave the room with people feeling they have been in the presence of Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy or Juliette Binoche than the thrift store Betty I often feel that I am. Even a goofy, funky, Lilly Tomlin would be better! She’s got a unique type of grace about her. I mean, come on now!Thanks for being willing to honestly face the task you have. It will help me do that too, though I don’t promise not to escape in a good book in the middle of the day when I need to… Remember that being a teacher can be noble. It just takes a human who carries their self with nobility. What do I mean? According to Webster, nobility is ‘the quality or state of being noble’. Being noble means ‘possessing outstanding qualities’. Well, in that regard, my friend you are more than qualified for the position of gum stepping, bathroom weeping, interrupted lecturing teacher because you will do it in graciousness and with heart.

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