A Vulnerable Time in School

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From five years ago, during the first week back to school, when I taught high school English:

This is a vulnerable time in school. Just getting to know the kids. Some are openly sad. Some are tense and silent. Some are exuberant and happy teens– some with confidence and lots of humor.

Many are vulnerable. They are testing. They are revealing bits. Dropping hints.

I’ve tried to remember not to judge a kid by outward appearances. Arms folded. Lack of eye contact. An angry look. A large young male student. Wait. Wait. He’s older. Three years older. He needs only this class to graduate. He’s embarrassed to be older. A smile today. I get it. I get it I told him. They are kids and you are legally an adult. Be their big brother. Just do the work. Let’s get you graduated.

A smile today.

A vulnerable time. Tender sensibilities. Oh I hope I don’t blow it, kids. You are precious.

And now, five years later, I realize that all the weeks, all the days are vulnerable ones in school.  May we educators always remember that, and treat our students as the precious persons they are. 

I Won’t be Going “Back to School” in the Fall

        insprie teacher change     For the first time in 28 years, I won’t be going “back to school” in the fall. I need to take some time off to recover from an annoying injury, and I plan to return in the spring session.

To say I am disappointed is very true. This is the first time in my working life–going back to 1969!–I had to say, I cannot do this right now. Not there anyway, with the mile long parking lots and the super long walks to the classes. Not yet.

 I love teaching, and I will miss it a lot this fall term. 

So… if you hear my brains rattling or if you hear some whimpering on my part, give me a nudge and remind me there might be life outside of teaching.

Or just tell me to get to work getting better.