Do what you gotta!

There is a long, long history in the building I am teaching in. Some good and some bad. But it amazes me at how easily is conjures up emotions in people and I have had to work on my listening skills. The problem (as I see it), people feel like they are being ignored or not listened too. So what can I do to help that problem? I try and listen. But in all honesty, I have no knowledge of this history, my only knowledge is that I need to be respectful of it because a hurt exists there.

The stem of much of that hurt comes from the recession shutting that building down and transferring many teaching jobs and many students. I won’t say it is right or wrong, but I will say I have been on the moving side and I totally get it. But more than anything I hope others understand that this is new. And new is not not bad. This is something totally different and it isn’t the fault of this “new” thing that those changes happened. It isn’t the fault of those involved in this “new” thing that those things occurred.

I have suddenly found myself being blamed for the past that I have no clue about and really am not privy to info about. Or I am a bouncing board for aggravation, and while I understand, it is important that those that become aggravated realize that I am doing this for two reasons.

  1. So I can teach. I was quickly feeling like there was not a spot for me in the academic world I was in and I wasn’t sure it was right for me. I loved it but something was there like a buzzing gnat telling me there was something more out there for me. More importantly I do it for the students I will work with. Each unique in their own ways. I love this profession. I love writing, I love reading and I love teaching. The goals and outcomes this institution strives for line up quite closely with my own. Had this sort of opportunity of existed when I was child it is quite likely I would not have believed I couldn’t and shouldn’t go to college and would have went much sooner.  I am my students.
  2. So I can provide for my family. I have been out of work for precisely 10 years. 10 years is a lot on 1 income. My guy has had 2-3 jobs at a time to take care of us all on a meager teachers salary. As well, he worked in a atmosphere where employers don’t value the expense of medical/dental/vision needs of a 5 member family. I frankly have grown weary of just getting by. I want my kids, my home and my guy to not just get by. I have gone to school for 10 years to make this dream of mine come true and I can do that now and in the process that means my family can live better and have better medical coverage.

So for these two reasons I will never apologize for my profession, my workplace and or this amazing opportunity that God moved the world for me to even be in. In the words of Forest Whitaker, “You gotta do what you gotta do, so you can do what you wanna do!” The one pearl of wisdom I have learned about myself doing things late in life is that I won’t compromise myself at the cost of others. This idea, this school. I stand behind it and am excited to see what it will do for its community.

But I have been through a school closure. I was a part of a long time respected and loved school. The closure was so hard. But we all survived. It did get easier. I am not sure it was always the best thing, but the one thing I did notice is that my kids never struggled with that change nearly as much as we did or the community as a whole did. They were with their friends, they made new friends and we carried on.

I am just so proud and honored to be a part of this amazing opportunity for students and I will have the luxury of moving to each grade with them. Until eventually I settle in teaching the upper class-men college English.  Very rarely does that happen especially in a larger school system.

Finally, to those who worry about their building, their heritage, their diversity being smash. I am merely one person but I assure you in my room and in my time there I will respect its history and try and learn what I can to share with those in its presence. Because it has a presence that is larger than life. You can feel it walking through the building, in the pictures on the wall. All those stories and memories will be respected by me. I just ask that you respect the new ones we are trying to make.



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