For the love of educating

July 3, 2009

I do have something to say today, after all. I just finished a short, but inspirational memoir called Educating Esme, Diary of a Teacher’s First Year.

This wonderful young teacher taught 5th graders in an urban setting her first year, and the book is warm, touching, delightful.

This is how it ends:

People snicker, “Those who can’t do, teach.” But oh, how right they are. I could never, ever do all I dream of doing. I could never, ever be an opera star, a baseball umpire, an earth scientist, an astronaut, a great lover, a great liar, a trapeze artist, a dancer, a baker,a buddha, or a thousand other aspirations I have had, while having only been given one thin ticket in this lottery of life! In the recessional, as I watch them, mine, the ones I loved, I overflow with the joyous greed of a rich man counting coins. Wrongly I have thought teaching has lessened me at times, but now I experience a teacher’s great euphoria, the knowledge like a drug that will keep me: Thirty-one children. Thirty-one chances. Thirty-one futures, our futures. It’s an almost psychotic feeling, believing that part of their lives belongs to me.

Everything they become, I also become.

And everything about me, they helped to create.

I’ll editorialize about this later. Right now it’s enough to bask in the warmth this book provided me this afternoon.

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