Last Thursday I went back to school for the first time in a long time. A former teaching colleague had asked me to represent the world of professional writing at the local high school’s career fair and then speak to some English classes after that. Due to a scheduling snafu that can be blamed on my calenderally-challenged brain, I arrived an hour and a half late for the two hour career fair.
That’s a story for another post–except for one thing.
Flustered by my late arrival, I totally forgot Thursday was the last day of school before spring break and a short day at that, due to parent-teacher conferences. If that realization had dawned earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have been so discouraged by the lack of response from the first two groups of students. To say they weren’t impressed by the life of a writer would be an understatement. They were a hard crowd, and I flopped. Miserably. During the passing time before the last class arrived, I finally remembered. The kids are just marking time until spring break.
So when the class settled in, I asked, “How many of you are counting the minutes until spring break?”
Every hand went up.
“Well,” I leaned toward them with a conspiratorial whisper, “If you’ll just pretend you’re interested in what I say, I’ll let you in on a little secret.”
They leaned toward me.
“Every teacher in this building is counting the minutes, too.”
I glanced at the clock on the wall. “Do you know exactly when in the sweep of the second hand, the dismissal bell will ring?”
“Would somebody in the back of the room wave one minute before it rings, so I can finish and you can get out of here right away?”
Everyone in the back row gave a thumbs up…and we were off.
They asked questions, one after another.
They laughed at my jokes.
They cracked a few jokes, too.
They talked about their writing likes and dislikes.
Their eyes sparkled.
Their faces glowed.
The magic was so strong,
we were all surprised when the dismissal bell rang.
Most students headed straight for the door.
But several stopped to say thank you.
I left the building with tired feet, a renewed appreciation for teachers, and a memory of why teaching had been my chosen profession for 25 years. It feels good to connect with students again, to hear them share their ideas, to see their potential, and to urge them to follow their dreams and use their imaginations.
When a teacher gets her mojo back, she can work magic in young lives.
photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net