You want to be a teacher.
you had a great math teacher in middle school;
you had an awful history teacher in high school.
It doesn’t really matter—
you decide to go to college.
You struggle with the idea
there is a singular source of information,
there is a singular way to learn or master a skill.
a piece of paper
you’ll never meet
that says you are a competent educator.
You sub in a couple school districts.
You call it “gigging”
to make it feel more temporary,
a low tide at dawn.
Your lesson ideas come
like meteor showers—
somewhat predictably, all at once.
You put them in a folder on your MacBook
called “One Day.”
You get an interview.
They ask you:
“Why do you want to teach language arts at Rainier Middle School?”
You want a job.
You get hired
in the middle of the school year.
You adopt the building’s rules,
The next year,
won’t let go.
You deviate from the calendar,
tell no one.
Your students get excited.
Your students get engaged.
Your students show you YouTube videos they found because of you.
You get a new administrator.
He demands fidelity
to a curriculum he never used;
one he knows next to nothing about.
You feel walls sprout from the ground around you.
You try to become a leader.
You run a program
only to see everything you built get thrown away.
You apply to another position
only to get turned down by building and district administrators.
He talks to you like you don’t know how to teach.
Your district liaison talks to you like you don’t know how to teach.
Your new program head talks to you like you don’t know how to teach.
you don’t know how to teach.
There is a good five minutes between
when you arrive in your parking spot
when you exit your car
where you sit and breathe.
You don’t know what you want.