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14 November 2006


I'm fortunate in the fact that I do what I enjoy - I teach. There is a great satisfaction in doing so for me. It challenges me to be more without actually changing the foundation of who I am or what I am about. And that's nice. If there is any "dark cloud" in the area of my career... or the career that I am learning, it is probably where I do what I do. It is an interesting school. Everyone whispers there.

Maybe it's because I'm not a whisperer that I notice it, but they do. There's always something that seems to need to be kept quiet amoungst a select few. It's interesting. It's a place where there are less people who make eye contact than there are those who will look everywhere except at you. There are defined groups and you either fit in or you don't, but like any good rule there are a few exceptions. But they are exactly that - a few. A sense of unease fills the corridors, especialy if someone unknow may be present in some employed form. Strangers are not accepted with open arms, let alone strangers that may be there to work. The jobs are theirs and they will not fathom or allow them to be harmed. Which, to me, is funny in the unfunny way, since I am neither a total strange, nor have I stoeln their work. I am acknowledged, barely, because I have shown a sonsistancy, a longevity that has defied their quiet hums of conversation and their eyes darting towards me... or atleast in my general direction. But those few... the exceptions to the rule, the vast minority, make it tolerable.... manageable... even, dare I say it,... enjoyable. I love what I do, I manage where I work, I have no use for uselessness. It's a good lesson.

I started working with a little boy in grade 4, some one on one stuff. We have a good time and he works hard for me. He sought me out at lunch time to make sure that he was still coming to see me at 1:30. I told him yes, I would make sure that I came and got him so long as he promised to work hard and I didn't have to put him in a head lock. He grinned at me and said Scouts Honour. I smiled because I knew he meant it, even though he's not a scout. In fact, he's the youngest of 4 kids by many years. He gets himself up and ready for school. Sometimes he forgets to pack his lunch. His mom's not always around and his dad is usually pretty busy. He rarely gets his hair combed and doesn't like to read aloud. He loves to draw trucks and he still talks about how much fun he had with his older sister and her boyfriend when they took him trick or treating. He asked twice to make sure that I was going to see him again on Thursday. These are the things that will eat me alive as a teacher. These are the moments I treasure and dread, the kind of thing that keeps you awake for both the good and the bad. These are the times I question the existance of a just God but also the very second I understand that there are unseen angels taking care of little ones. I sometimes wonder how kids make it through, having to put up with the likes of we careless adults, shouldering everything they never should have to.

So in light of all this, I am going to take an extra effort and be kind to strangers. I am going to make eye contact, say excuse me, smile, and let in someone trying to merge. I am going to breathe deeply and count to ten. I'm going to name 3 good things before I grumble about one. I'm going to bite my tongue more.

Tomorrow I go for my brain scan. Wish me luck because I've got too many blessings going on to have a wrench thrown into it now.

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?

Jane Nelson

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