first year tears

Date January 28, 2009

Her face was a deep scarlet and her shoulders heaved up and down as the tears soaked her face.  Her black, collared shirt looked pressed and put together and her shoes clicked as she walked, but her sobs overshadowed it all.

I let her cry and did my best to comfort her without crumbling myself.

She’s a first year teacher and barely 22 years old.  She’s away from home and speaks no Spanish and she teaches middle school.  Science!  I cannot for a second fathom what life for her must be like, but by her tears I know that today was hard for her and tomorrow will be as well.

My first year of teaching was filled to bursting with days like that and at the time I wondered why I ever chose education as my profession.  Now I know that I didn’t choose it at all.  Education chose me.  Kids chose me.

And my friend Jill is lucky because kids chose her, too.

She’s meant for this job even if she doesn’t think so today.  She’s warm and approachable and middle school girls imitate the way she walks and the way she fixes her hair and the boys stare at her as though she were the blondest of all heaven’s angels sent to Manizales just so they could gaze upon her beauty.

And they do.  They stare at her all googly-eyed and then act like they despise her so that their cool guy reputations stay in tact and that’s the only part she feels.

Tomorrow has the potential to be more of the same, but one thousand tomorrows from now she’ll look back on today.  She’ll look back on the tears she shed and realize that she cried them because she wanted so desperately for those prepubescent teens to understand the importance of her presence.

To understand that she knows more than them and that she wants the very best out of all that they possess.  To understand that she can open up a world bigger than any they’ve ever seen or hoped to see.

That’s what she can do and she wants them to know it.

And they will.  Even if it isn’t today.

5 Responses to “first year tears”

  1. sheila p. said:

    I am very sure that the new teacher is so glad to have you in her corner as a friend and an ear and a shoulder. I can only imagine the feeling of being all alone in a foreign country. That is a good pic of the two of you. Where is she from?
    All is well here. Lou and I arent doing as good as we should on our diet.. But anyway, have a good one. Hope all is well with you..

  2. Lou said:

    What an encourager you are. God blessed you with that. Thanks for being that for her and everybody else you touch in this world.

    Sheila was modest with her comment about our diet. It is non-existent on my end. I wanted to be all slim and trim when Jeffrey finished up at the police academy but I am afraid he is going to find the same woman he left.

  3. Summer said:

    Beautiful writing, Emily! Could you do me a favor and write a terrible post for once because I’m out of adjectives for the good ones??

  4. Blake said:

    Are you about to watch the Super Bowl?

  5. sherry said:

    Ah, you are also an encourager…we already knew that you are an awesome writer, teacher, and friend to all that are lucky enough to know you! Keep up that role- there isn’t a teacher out there that doesn’t need someone in her/his corner on any given day. The teacher next door to me (was my student teacher 3 years ago) is going through a terrible time because of an irate parent (I might add crazy one too). It hurts my heart to see teachers go through all they must when all we all want to do is have students learn because of us. You are so true about education and children choosing us! Otherwise, why would anyone want this job????