Mrs. Olsen… Mrs. Draper… Mrs. Castric… Mrs. Stratton… Mrs. Trapp… Mr. Nielsen… (Grades 7-9 are intentionally blurred and names have been changed to protect the gladiators who dared set foot in any of our classrooms in vain attempts to teach us anything.)
High school? Where to start? Misters Smith, Torris, Strutz, Sheeley, Frazier, Ingum . . . Who could forget Margorie Foreman’s English? And one of my Most Unforgettable Characters: Wilhelmina Tomlinson, brought to you by Typing I and II. She carried a wooden ruler as casually as The Reaper carries that scythe. I never saw her even hint at a smile.
“YOU VILL NOT LOOK AT YOUR VORK!”
I think we all thought of her room as Stalag Something-Or-Other. Of COURSE we never said that in our out-loud voices. We were students but we weren’t stupid. Well, you know what I mean.
On goes the litany of names through college and university undergraduate work and on to grad school . . . Men and women, flesh-and-blood superheroes who entered the lives of 20 or 30 individuals every day, imprinting each one with their own stories, their own thoughts, their own character and style of teaching.
They’re men and women who, when we find out what they do for a living, we take an involuntary step back, back of the hand to the mouth in horror, saying, “Whaddya, NUTS?”
We call ’em teachers. Educators.
Every day of every week from August to June, they venture, handcuffed by idiotic rules, into classrooms full of impudent, spoiled, entitlement-driven, terrorists whose device is their pacifier and who think they own room, teacher and school.
But enough about Pre-K.
YOU MIGHT BE AN EDUCATOR IF…
~ You believe the staff room should be equipped with a Valium salt lick.
~ You want to high-five the next person who says, “Must be nice to work from 8 to 3 and have your summers free!” With a hammer.
~ You can tell it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
~ You believe “shallow gene pool” should have its own box on the progress report.
~ When out in public you feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior.
~ You have no time for a life from August to June. Or in July.
~ You think people should be required to get a permit, all their shots and some type of therapy before being allowed to reproduce.
~ You encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter schools or home schooling.
~ You think caffeine should be available to staff in IV form.
~ Meeting a child’s parents instantly answers the question: “Why is the kid like this?”
~ You believe “In Service” needs to be renamed “In Traction” and wonder why so many Admin types seem to need more and more of it while you need less and less.
~ You laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room as the “lounge.”
As school starts again, here’s to you teachers: you stalwart, brave souls who still dare to believe you can make a difference in a kid’s life. Okay, maybe not that one.
Yet you’ll know ’em when you see them.
You’ll love them, pray for them and give them your very best.
They’ll each remind you of another bewildered, frustrated, imprecise, unsure kid from your own past. . .
And you’ll remember again those amazing giants of the classroom who stopped long enough to sew some forever seeds in your own heart and reassure you: you’re enough as you are. No other person, no diploma or degree or honors confer any more enoughness. If you weren’t enough before you graduated or matriculated or agitated, none of those things will make you enough.
You are enough because God created you with a lot of enoughness. It’s up to you to own that and make something from it.
You did. You still are.
Go, now, and teach others to do the same.
Yeah, no. You left your cup in the staff room.
I love you and I believe in you!
© D. Dean Boone, August 2015