Teacher moments

One of the most frustrating aspects of teaching is rarely witnessing a sense of completion, of seeing if any of the seeds I’ve planted have courageously pushed their way through the dirt of indecision and apathy or if they’ve been snatched by dream stealers.

But some days I have teacher moments that are so glorious and profound, that I look around the room to make sure that I’ve not been transported into an alternate universe. I know I’m still grounded when I hear the announcements break through.

My first class is Creative Writing. They have been sharing their writing, a 300-word assignment I stole from The Lie That Tells a Truth by John Dufresne. Incredible writing from these kids. Publishable. Ambrosia compared to the gruel in some magazines. One of those students, Kaylynn, recently won first place in a local contest. She entered her essay on Martin Luther King Jr. She’s a remarkable word contractor, this kid. What I found most amazing is that she entered, that she risked, that she dared to put herself out there.

All of my classes journal, a la Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. For years, I have been blown away by their sharings. One day this week, I hoped that tears would not escape as some of my students read their souls to us. Not that I was afraid to show them I cry, but because I didn’t want anything in that room to pull attention away from them. I pray that they know and trust their gifts. That they realize what treasures are buried in their pens and journals.

Next week I may question why I thought I wanted to spend the better part of my life with 150 teenagers a day. I’ll print this blog and tape it on my desk.

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