Working

While working at The Studios

a former student came and introduced

me to her children: three and six and eight.

I don’t remember how she did in school

(I don’t remember anybody’s grades.)

It’s only how they acted and behaved

in class that I remember. Were they kind

and thoughtful? Generous? And did they push

themselves to do the things that others thought

beyond them? As a teacher I admit

that I was lucky. Either God or the

computer placing students knew that I

could make it in the classroom only if

my students were the best. And so they were.

I never understood when colleagues said

their students wouldn’t work or that they wished

their students cared about their classes, tried

instead of being satisfied to fail.

I thought our students were the same, and yet

the students in my classes could have had

a scarecrow for a teacher and they’d still

have come to class and pushed themselves and learned.

I never really learned the proper way

to teach. My lesson plan would often be

just three short words. I’d tell them, “Get to work.”

and then I’d lean against the wall and watch

them while they worked and struggled, worked and learned.

I often think I should apologize.

My students certainly deserved the best.

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