So I sought out some peace and quiet and found it among all places my classroom. Not long I am quite sure. Yesterday, the day before feeling quite removed because I am scared. There I said it. The students and teaching I love. But thanks to just the way I grew up when I reach achievements they often feel fraudulent. I know logically I am not fraud but emotionally I am still that girl running classes in her drive way hoping beyond hope that someone will take me serious.
I am driving thinking of all these things this morning. I am in a bad, bad neighborhood. Like the kind of neighborhood that is on the news daily for murders. There doing a running jog on the corner is a previous student. He clearly has ran quite far. We did the smile and wave as I accelerated passed. I begin smiling as I looked around and all I saw was despair and urban life trying to dictate outcomes. He was a bright spot.
365.255 – Two semesters ago he was in my room wanting, no dreaming, to be something bigger and better than this neighborhood. When he started I was doubtful but by the time the semester was over I never had a doubt. He was a total and utter contradiction to the rule. The rules that society place on our backs and tell us who to be and what we are capable of.
So why do I have such faith in him when my story is not all the different. Maybe my neighborhood was but our survival modes and instincts are not all that different. Take your life and make it better. That is all my parents wanted for me. Don’t let your environment and society tell you who you are. And no matter how hard it tries you have to want and be something different.
I could tell by his smile he heard me and felt me push him hard and he made it work. He was proud. I was proud. He continued running on with a wave and I continued driving on with a renewed sense of purpose. All this change, all the new faces, spaces, places cannot change who I am inside.
I am still that survivor, that girl in the drive way, that teacher who changed a few lives and maybe that teacher who didn’t. But what I do matters, no matter the time, place or person. I am not a fraud. I am a teacher.