I used to write a little tiny insignificant blog every fall, just as the semester and school year would begin, admonishing my fellow educators (mostly in public schools, where it’s at) to be steadfast, kick ignorance in the butt, and remember that it is about the students, with some sort of folderol about “if it is good for the kids, then it is good to do.”
I still believe all that mess. It was my life’s work, and it is yours as well.
But here you are, running toward the end of the semester and the end of the school year with great abandon, dreaming of languid summer days and stacks of novels to read with no alarm clocks and a calendar full of leisurely mornings with a cuppa on the back porch (or if you are truly blessed, upon the WTPP of your own making) and a glass of cheap wine (maybe from a box because you aren’t paid enough for a bottle with a cork in it) on the front porch just to irritate your neighbors who still toil in the dusk hours…
So I offer this equally tiny tidbit to my fellow educators near and far, wholly aware that I am no longer trudging alongside you through the tundra of formal education, mile after mile…
I know your “summer vacation” is all too brief, and barely even exists, but it is still way longer than the hiatus of the neighbors that surround you. I know you don’t really get paid during the summer. Rather, that you get a minuscule summertime paycheck, but it has been divided equally among the 12 months, so it is verily a tidbit of your actual worth, and it is not enough to take you to the faraway places of your dreams. I also know that for most of you, there are approximately 9 days between late May and early August that you are not in your classroom/bandhall/office/sweatshop involved in the due diligence of your profession, whether it be inventory, figuring out what went wrong or right, undergoing extensive professional development or graduate study, and preparing for the next semester at your own expense, and that you probably spent those 9 days at Corpus, Destin, Pagosa Springs, a state park in Oklahoma, Lake Brownwood, or at home trying to get your flowers to grow.
Don’t wax and whine too much about those kids you left behind in the classroom. I know you love 86% of them almost as much as you love your own children, and that every endeavor they undertake, and every accomplishment they realize, and every itty-bitty garland of success they enjoy is tied into your own self-worth as a human and as an educator of young minds.
So, in these final moments of the school year, finish big. Fight the good fight, and run the race. Stand up to ignorance and bigotry and poverty and hunger and anger and sadness and fear and hatred and despair, and celebrate goodness and learning and strength and faith and love and mobility and competence and confidence and the 457 other things you do every day for those kids.
We gotta start somewhere, and I think it is with you. May the Lord shine his face upon you and grant you peace.