How can I still be in a classroom, and still love teaching, even this year, you might ask? Well it isn’t necessarily due to anything particularly done by the greater public or certainly not all the ups and down of working around COVID protocols. There is just something that happens when, text in hand, I sit among readers and writers, and we talk complex characters or plot twists or even a last word, that just fuels me. We are in need of some hope, and whether plodding though Shakespeare’s Hamlet or being somewhat horrified by Shelley’s Frankenstein, or discovering the images and poetry generated during the short life of Basquiat, my student’s visions and imagery and words grant a faith in mankind I might not have found without them.
There is a hope in the air when you spend your day with teens. Maybe Elementary teachers feel this even more so, since they don’t have to contend with vaping or substance abuse, but even while struggling through the pangs of adolescence my students continually surprise me with their ability to leap over the bullshit we have left at their feet. They may not have honed the skills to constitute change but they convince me they have the vision and direction to make that change possible. And in the right environment, with some coaxing, they will indeed get there skill wise. Under the broad sky of possibilities we need every last one of them and that does make me want to keep at it, to keep listening, encouraging, pushing even, if in the end they state some of the most amazing insights into what this current generation of political leaders are failing.
Yes, I will hang in the school system a bit longer, thanks to my extraordinary colleagues and all the kiddos who fill my life with rich discourse and superb insights.
No doubt, by day’s end, I am grateful to run out the door and listen to the wind whip through the cluster of pines or the spring melt rushing over rock, but that too makes tomorrow possible. There is always more to learn. There is still reason to return back.