Way back in the time of phones attached to walls and big hair and The Cosby Show, back when I took advanced placement classes and tested well, I didn't much care for school. Way back then the local high school built Kim and me a darkroom. There we would develop photos for the high school yearbook. There in that room was the only reason I found I wanted to go to school.
It was Mississippi. It was 1986. They didn't have to do that but they did.
Yesterday I pulled into the faculty parking lot of that school and walked into the room of an art teacher who was kind and welcoming. We had already met the previous week in a coffee shop of a bookstore. For two hours we talked about education and students and art and I never thought I'd be teaching anything but I knew when I left there I wanted to learn as much as I could from her.
I thought I'd be more nervous. You know. Kids, young adults, inquiring minds, those faces, mouths opening to ask questions whose answers I may not know, but then life has taught me that it's okay to not know and we don't know everything and learning it.
Learning it is what brought us here.
And here is where I notice some pretty heavy connections of ideas I read in February of last year when I thought, Oh man. I do hope they do something about that. Those teachers and school administrators and all those people who are in charge of all that education and stuff.
People like my mother and my brother but not people like me. I never thought I'd go back to that school and teach.
Until I met Elisa and she suggested it and I once heard that as your energy increases you meet people with higher energy and yeah, I met Elisa.
Along with Tempa who is now taking college classes with me and threatening to throw spitballs into my hair.
And things started to become because in the last three years during the scientific experiment of following gut and passion and patience and the answer yes to questions of which nobody has ever asked me has led me here to a place I could never imagine I wasn't.
In the past two days I've read where three very different writers have written about Sir Ken Robinson and his views on creativity and education. Before now I didn't even know who Sir Ken Robinson was and now I think it's okay that it took me all this time. I wasn't ready back then but now I am.
One of the students walked up to me after class to introduce himself as the back up photographer to the local newspaper. He was serious when he said, I just wanted you to know how lucky you are to have me in your class.
Did you say I'm lucky? I asked.
Yes, he said.
I smiled and shook his hand, Nice to meet you. I look forward to this.
Today I am so grateful to know that I can teach because I discovered how to learn.