Before Diving Back In

Young minds fill the four walls of your classroom, your online meeting room, or your conquered section of a public space.

You mentally run through your lesson plan, your contingency plan, and your contingency plan for your contingency plan for the 50th time.

The sleepy vibe of the students threatens to swallow you up as you battle your own tiredness. While they’re working, you’re grading, checking emails, or thinking about tomorrow’s class, all while being able to sense when the students in the room with you are off task.

If you see one more “urgent” email, you’ll throw your work-issued laptop out the window.

Disrespect and attempts to breach boundaries make you wonder if your title means nothing at all.

In vain, you chase after an ideal teacher version of yourself that is simply an apparition cooked up by your tired brain: the same tired brain that missed that typo, despite attempts to typo-proof before clicking print.

Sitting back in the evening and letting the weight of the day fall, you remember the students’ intense focus, the gasps at wrong answers assumed correct, the nudges to quickly finish as the activities you planned are realized.

Emails from previous students with exciting life updates and gratitudes for your impact that extends beyond when they were under your care are welcome sights in your inbox.

Current students approach tentatively for a little time to spare for their eagerness to understand and learn more.

The campus grounds buzz with a mix of Olympic sprints to a class that started 20 minutes ago and leisurely stops and strolls at the pace of my-whole-life-is-ahead-of-me.

You find your rhythm and an unexpected understanding forms between you and the student you swore couldn’t care less about you and your class.

Wading through the waves of victories and challenges, you make it to shore and see how it all comes together to form a picture worth documenting. Toweling off what was self-imposed and what wasn’t yours to begin with, you enter the water again.

4 thoughts on “Before Diving Back In

  1. Your writing captures me and I am taken into the scene with you. >>This: “Toweling off what was self-imposed and what wasn’t yours, to begin with, you enter the water again.” Ohhhhh wow, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing yourself, your experience and the growth combined.

    Liked by 1 person

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