Originally posted at educatedtodeath.com
It’s Christmas Eve, or the start of it at least, and I can’t seem to stay asleep. I haven’t been able to really write for the past few months—not consistently. Things have been topsy turvy at best personally and professionally. As a teacher, I’ve been in a haze, as a human I’ve been more awake then ever before. And to avoid being completely obtuse I’ll be flat out truthful. We almost lost my mother-in-law a few months ago, my focus shifted to supporting my wife. She’s still recovering, but doing so nicely. Then, after that seemed to be clearing up, my wife was in a head on collision. She called my from the accident when she came to, before or after calling for help. She told me “I’ve been in a head on collision, and I can’t move.” I was on lunch duty. I walked out grabbed my things, and told my principal I had to go. He took care of things that day and the next. My wife is still recovering, by the way, and back at work. Not paralyzed. Still struggling though.
A week or so later, the school shootings. A colleague shared with me that one of her grown personal children had been attacked by their spouse. Attempted murder. Just blow after blow. And, of course, the punches keep on coming. Out of it all, the adage, “Any day above ground is a good one.” comes to mind. A bar tender in college told me that. That bit of wisdom passed to me through a most perfect human interaction has brought me such joy; rather, it has made me aware of the joyous things right before me in such a seemingly bleak time.
And this moment of joy reminds me of why I teach. Teaching is one of those jobs that allows for, demands even, that we connect with our fellow human being. We are not teachers to meet some quota, or make test scores happen, or discipline people, or train automatons, or even happily keep our jobs. We exist to help make possible the awakening of a consciousness from this dismal world of subsidized slumber. We hope beyond hope to be a part of the humanization of another and to join in the mutual benefit from that moment.
I’ve tried to revive my hope in my chosen profession, to much avail, through philosophical ponderings and pontification. And it is bleak. It’s the system and its trappings that are bleak, not us. We are human beings. We teach human beings. If ever I have had reason to write a Hallelujah, this is it. Cheers dear friends.