Tuesday, October 03, 2006
The Reflections (and Rants) of a Retired Teacher
Most of the time, I don't miss teaching.
Who would? The kids, much less the schedules and regulations and meetings, would try the patience of Job himself. Disruptive students. Rude students. Note-passing students. Arm-folding, "I dare you to flunk me" students (which I usually did). Students who couldn't tell the difference between Dickens and Dickinson (shall we start with spelling?). Students with parents who can't understand how their "precious angel" could have gotten a D on her last assignment (how about a three-day late, illegible essay on The Taming of the Shrew expounding the meaning of "to be or not to be?").
No, I definitely don't miss that. Or the early rises to teach bleary-eyed students who partied instead of studying. Or the staying up late to read essays written from CliffsNotes.
Retirement, on the other hand, lets me linger over my coffee at Java Joint on a crisp morning or savor Poe's The Tell-tale Heart during a thunderstorm. Granted, it also allows Angie to drag me after psuedo-stars--but you-ve heard enough on that.
However, despite all this, when autumn comes and youngsters lug their brand-new backpacks past Java Joint-s windows--well, a small part of me wishes to join them.
I especially loved the first day. The gold and dross haven't yet separated and hope always exists I'll find an exceptionally precious nugget. Like my second year of teaching, before I moved to Kanner Lake.
That year Emily L. slipped into my eleventh grade English Literature course undetected. She was quiet, unassuming, and unremarkable in appearance or participation. Then she turned in her first essay, the traditional "The best book you read during the summer and why."
Forty years later I still remember her choice--A Tale of Two Cities, a book that she openly admitted left her unsettled. But, she said, the writing exceeded anything else she'd read during the summer, and she went on to describe why in a detailed analysis.
It was a teacher's dream essay. Clear, accurate, well thought through, beautifully phrased. I was hard pressed to correct anything, and every assignment that followed was the same way. Soon I was shuffling her work to the bottom of my papers to grade so I could look forward to something.
We kept in touch through the next year until she graduated and I moved to Kanner Lake. Last I heard, (which was now many years ago), she was teaching creative writing at the University of Iowa. Perhaps we'll see a Pulitzer Prize winner out of her someday.
Yes, it was students like Emily who kept me teaching for so many years. And to this day I still treasure autumn.
-- Bev Trexel
And just what's the matter with that topic, by the way? That Shrew gal said a lot of stupid things.
Links to this post:
Bailey Truitt ~ Java Joint owner
Leslie Brymes ~ reporter extraordinaire
Carla Radling ~ realtor at your service
Wilbur Hucks ~ ya gotta love him
Jake Tremaine ~ retired logger
Ted Dawson (S-Man) ~ sci-fi writer
Hank Detcher ~ pastor and friend
Janet Detcher ~ keeps Hank in line
Bev Trexel ~ retired teacher
Angie Brendt ~ Bev's best pal
Sarah Wray ~ Simple Pleasures owner
Jared Moore ~ Kanner Lake Times
LEARN MORE ABOUT KANNER LAKE
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Mary Ann Diorio
Girl's Write Out
Joy in the Litter Box
A Life in Pages
Pieces of Me
Readin N Writin with Patricia
Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking
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