My students have found my blog. I feel my literary world and professional world obliterate each other and the line that existed forever gone. These perfect bubbles I have lived in are destroyed as the worry of parental complaints and protest. As a teacher you feel the weight of responsibility for those you teach as if they belong to you. My literary works are personal and not gossip. Will they recognize that in their tabula rasa state? some will while others will not and I am forced to confront a truth. My writing is public and I have chosen this stage. I must write with pride as I come out of the wings and stand center stage. I will not be silenced.
I watched her as she looked down and kept staring at her toe. She was talking herself into something, and suddenly she went to the woman so cleanly pressed and asked if she would buy the various items of junk in her hands, a curling iron, an old jewelry box, a wrench, and a screwdriver. I recognized the look on the woman’s face instantly, it was pure disgust at being confronted with poverty first hand. She firmly said no with a quick I am sorry and clenched smile. The poor woman said she needed the money for her daughter’s medicine. It was then that I noticed the rusted out car with a broken window. A little girl sat watching. Poverty destroys our worth. It devalues as human beings. Little girl, you don’t even deserve to get better. That little girl was me.
I had a parent-teacher conference with an upset parent about something I had said in class. It is 3:30 and I am disheveled and exhausted from forcing 150 seventh graders to learn English, the damn language they speak.
After some niceties, she informed me that I said in class that I thought “children tasted delicious.” I retorted that she should not be concerned because her child did not look particularly scrumptious but if my feelings changed I would let her know IMMEDIATELY. She indignantly said her child was in fact yummy. We both burst into laughter and laughed and laughed about murdering children and cannibalism for suppers. She never called for a conference again, but I like to think she “got me” rather than being terrified of the deranged teacher her child was legally forced to spend an hour a day with at school.