for what it’s worth

March 17, 2012

All in all, it was a day that swayed heavily in the direction of madness. For one, my usual 7th graders were so impressive today as to earn abrupt class halting, in favour of 20 minutes of silent “I will not disrespect my teacher” sentence writing.
And when I wasn’t with my usual students, I was subbing for yet another new grade level for me: Grade 1. They were about as good as one can expect 25 6-year-olds to behave when they have had a series of subs in and a classroom teacher fighting typhoid fever.
But the madness ended with brightness—bittersweet brightness, but brightness all the same. This super-teacher of theirs had arranged for parents to come in and speak with the children about their different jobs, for a Career Unit. Two businessmen spoke and then one housekeeper. I had spoken beforehand with the class, preparing them to be on their most respectful behaviour, so I was on the whole proud of their eager responses and intelligent questions. One, however, brought tears to my eyes. The question was simple enough, pertaining to why she had chosen to work here [she is actually employed by our school]. With the help of a translator, she gave an incredibly up-front reply. She said, simply, that she chose to work here, instead of for a more lucrative employer, because she wanted her daughter to have the chance to do more with her life than she herself had been able to do.
Wow. Once again, one of those moments when you think Yes, this is why I am here . . .

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