I taught for two years. Which is amazing in retrospect, especially since those years included 2020-2021.
It’s at least one if not two years more than I had ever intended.
When I decided to become a teacher — the public school kind — I wasn’t actually sure I’d change careers. When I took the classes, I wasn’t sure I was actually being prepared for classroom work. When I was presented with the student teaching, I wasn’t committed to actually going through with it and was pretty sure I would delay it at the last minute. When the school called me over the summer to ask if I’d take an internship instead of student teaching, I finally had to decide. So I said yes. I wasn’t excited, wasn’t actually sure of what I was doing, but I figured if I didn’t try, I’d never know.
When that first year took a twist in mid-March to shutdown, I was pretty sure I’d spent my last day in a school building. But April was a weird month — one of my cats and my older sister both started dying (so far, fortunately, only the cat has completed the task) — and by the end of it, the thought of figuring out what I’d do next was utterly paralyzing. So when I was offered a role for the following year at a different school, all that went through my mind was “I won’t have to figure out how to make my car payment.” And I said yes.
Once the fog of impending death and COVID shutdowns lifted, however, I realized I was teaching again.
It’s amazing sometimes what we do when our brains don’t have the energy to process actions. Like when I talk to my daughter who regularly falls asleep watching Netflix on a school night because what 17 year old wouldn’t? She responds to whatever I ask but the answers are utter nonsense — a different nonsense than what she would normally spew. Or when the still unvaxxed opt to accept whatever ludicrous bullshit is fed to them even though it defies all logic and contradicts everything they learned about immune systems in middle school, and laughably say they’ve “done their own research,” which makes me wonder “research into what?” which is, too, utter nonsense. Or even when I turn left because Google Maps tells me to although I know fact that it’s faster to go straight at the intersection but I blindly accept that Google knows what’s best for me until I realize I misheard the instructions and am heading the wrong direction down a one way street (true story, BTW). But it’s at these times that we left though wallow in the shadows and let someone else tell us what to do. It’s not right, but it is real.
Just like me and teaching. It wasn’t right. Another place? Maybe. A Pennsylvania yankee in Roscoe Coltrane’s court, metaphorically speaking of course, isn’t setting herself up for success. Another time? If there was a way to accurately predict when a pandemic wouldn’t happen, when people wouldn’t fight personal protection equipment, when elections would become so twisted, or when a woman named “Monkey” wouldn’t spread fear about the prospect of losing honors and AP classes and somehow justify this by saying that black students don’t have the capacity to excel in these classes while the school board did nothing to stop her. Yeah, maybe another time.
But the fact is, it was real.