Sometimes I ADORE Facebook!!
OH MY GOD!!
I don’t remember how much I’ve talked directly about it, but I used to be an educator for six years. I was a high school teacher and a college professor. I left, not because of students (who can definitely be challenging), but because of administrators and their bullshit politics. I am not the one to berate in front of parents/students/staff, I can tell you that much… I was so miserable within the institution that I ended up on medication. It was a rough time. Bad.
Anyway, from time to time a former student will find me on Facebook, and it is so overwhelmingly gratifying to see how well they’re doing! I remember them as teenagers or undergrads, so when I see these beautiful women completing degrees in law or nursing, or who are going to graduate school, and who tell me that it was ME who helped them get there??? OH MY GOD… you have no idea how much I wish I’d gotten that while I was still teaching… But, better late than never.
I loved my girls. I really did. I was in love with them, and they were constantly breaking my heart. The day I wrote my resignation letter for the high school was when I realized that I’d given all I could, and it would never be enough to fix the hurt and abuse many of them suffered. But today I got friend requests from over ten of my girls… TEN… And they’re all alive. They’re not only alive, they’re surviving. Better yet: They’re thriving! And it almost rips my heart out that they’ve become the incredible women they are. ME! ME! I inspired them to leave the neighborhoods that sought to clutch them and hold them; to break out of systemic abuse; to aspire to successes that no one else dreamed for them. ME!
If I’d had a little more of this nourishment as an educator I can tell you I would have never left it. But no. Our system is set up to blame every short coming on teachers, rather than on parents who don’t raise their children. Rather than on kids who have decided to refuse to learn. On political structures like No Child Left Behind that leave almost every child behind… And now they want to tie teacher pay to student achievement??? You must have lost your damn mind…
But, better late than never… I never regretted being an educator, but now I can look back, and much of the bitterness about those six years has evaporated. And this shines a bright light on a simple fact: People will extend beyond themselves time and again for only so long; however, a little simple recognition is sometimes enough to completely revitalize a drained battery. So, if you are in a position of power; or if you are someone who is guided by someone doing his/her best to help you learn; or if you see someone who is threadbear in his/her soul… THANK HIM/HER FOR THE GOOD WORK BEING DONE! You may have no idea how valuable that actually is.
Hearing from Whitney, Megan, Kelli, Kim, Xenia, Tiesha, Leslie, Melissa, Jessica, Byrd, Robyn, and all my other dance babies is a gift I never expected, and one I wish now I’d gotten sooner. Knowing that they respected me (even if, as teenagers, they didn’t know how to express it), and that they have remembered me gives me something precious, and brings levity to the memory of a very dark time.
ME! It’s because of me… 🙂
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