Had a nice chat with a man working the window at the Post Office. Turns out his degree was in Education but he ended up working at a rec center before turning state employee. He said a teacher used to come by after school and he always wondered why he chose such a profession since it didn’t pay. He still marvels at our selflessness.
I tried to get across what it is that keeps me getting up each morning, sleeping peacefully each night, and entering the classroom with hope each day. I recalled aloud the time I discovered precisely what that was and summarized it as informed self-interest. I don’t know why it seems so hard to accept the accolades for teaching as infrequently as they come. To make a long story short, one day a guest speaker got lost on the way to an auditorium I’d reserved and invited several English classes to stop by. Feeling I had no choice but to leave the situation in students’ hands, I left the team in charge who’d read the visiting author’s book and asked them to engage the audience until we returned.
After the event had concluded and the abashed author added classroom visits to his schedule by way of apology, one colleague pulled me aside and marveled aloud at the grace and skill of the students who’d elegantly divided the labor and gotten and kept the ball rolling in my absence. I suggested that it was nothing more than they were accustomed to doing in our class – except with a larger group of participants. I thanked her for her appreciation and said I’d relay the kind words to the students who embodied the attributes of people in a world I could safely turn my back on. This is my goal while teaching and walking the Earth. It is my vision of the world we deserve. Join me, won’t you, in cultivating just such a world.