You want to be a teacher.

You want to be a teacher.
 
 Maybe
 you had a great math teacher in middle school;
 maybe
 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
 that
 there is a singular source of information,
 that
 there is a singular way to learn or master a skill.
 
 You get
 a piece of paper
 signed by
 a man
 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,
 impermanent—
 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,
 their calendar,
 their lessons.
 
 The next year,
 an idea
 grabs you,
 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.
 Maybe
 you don’t know how to teach.
 
 There is a good five minutes between
 when you arrive in your parking spot
 and
 when you exit your car
 where you sit and breathe.
 
 You don’t know what you want.
 

 

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