They say (whomever “They” are) once a teacher always a teacher. It’s true. It settles in your bones. You may leave the classroom, yet, in so many ways you come back to the classroom. The classroom just changes shape, changes dynamics, and who you are as a teacher changes every single day, depending on what is before you. It’s fluid. It’s like a prayer wheel rotating. Each time it spins, ahh there it is a new lesson, a new practice opportunity. I’ve often equated teaching special education in the inner-city to warrior training and or Zen training. Because, quite frankly you receive this mirror of a 13-year old defiant, ADHD, troubled child who knows your weak spots, knows the exact button to push and when, and also how to make you laugh when you really aren’t supposed to, or just because you really need to seriously laugh at your “self.” In being a teacher, you expose yourself and it’s incredibly vulnerable, because children see you as you. There is no hiding, no false roles, no perfect, no ideal, because children can still see the truth, as most children have not lost their innocence. Yet, when our children lose innocence from violence, neglect, poverty, homelessness, and unsafe neighborhoods they become adults facing the world looking for a way to survive. The greatest gift I’ve received are my students over and over again, because like today, all it took was one of my students to remind me to laugh and another to remind me to be grateful for this life.
We all are teachers. We all are students. Sharing.
**This post is dedicated to one of my students who recently was involved in an act of violence. He taught me how to be strong, smile, be myself, and how to teach from my heart. May he be blessed.**