One of the most empowering things that I have done since I last worked in December is to let go of knowing where my life is leading me. The last few weeks have been instrumental in me starting to truly trust the universe/spirit/fate that I will be alright. I am trusting that I am moving to a path where I can do most good.
I miss teaching my kids. But, I don’t miss being a teacher as a job.
I just watched this week’s episode of Insight, A Teacher Changed My Life. I am truly blessed that I have been such a teacher to many kids over many, many years. I have wonderful memories of my work and my growth in the classroom with my beautiful students; a truly symbiotic journey.
I am a great teacher. It’s taken me many years to realize my worth and my value to the profession, and I own it with pride now. I am grateful that I can, that I never stopped trying to be a better teacher.
Last week I received some horrible news. It has taken me days to be able to even write about it, let alone talk about it. I have taught for twenty four years. I do not remember when I taught different people, just that I did.
However, early in my career, first or second year, maybe my third, at the high school I attended myself as a student, towards the end of the year, I had a block teaching History and English, and I taught a class that I think was called 7 Orange. They were a very mixed class and I was a beginning teacher who just wanted to change the world (this hasn’t changed). I was young enough to believe that every child could be whatever they wanted, and if they wanted, and I believed in them enough, they could achieve anything (this too, hasn’t changed).
At the end of a lesson, last one of the day and I think it was a Friday, one of the boys stayed behind. We chatted a bit about his progress. He grinned, not saying much but listening to everything I was saying. He laughed and he said, “Thank you. I appreciate you trying to save me but don’t waste your time. I’m heading to gaol. I know my future.”
I have never forgotten that conversation, and have relayed it many times during my career. This kid grabbed my heart, my conviction, my idealism, and made me stronger.
I have a public and a private Facebook. Imagine my surprise and happiness when I received a friend request from this boy, now man, a few years ago. He had a child and was turning his life around. He was growing into his potential. I was so proud of him.
It takes significant character to know yourself at twelve and to fight it and/or want to change your ‘destiny’.
He died last week.
I didn’t believe the post at first. Shock. I went to his page to see if it was really true. Yep. And then I cried. I read the posts. Many familiar names. Children I loved in pain as adults. Nothing I can do. When they were younger we would have created community and the bonds would last forever. As adults, lives are too removed. But the pain stays the same.
Many students have died throughout the years. I have a tattoo for some of them. I feel the pain of each passing, even if I haven’t had communication for years. I think, as a teacher, the relationships we build create memories that we feel keenly when someone dies.
Anyway, I am proud of Ashley’s journey to become the dad and man he became. I wish with all of my aching heart, that he could have stayed here longer.