I can be such a jerk.
I was tying up some loose ends in my classroom yesterday and was looking foreward to my weekend. School had only let out half an hour before, but it was on its way to being pretty quiet. It was a Friday. And one of the many dirty little secrets of education is that teachers are generally as eager as students for week ends and holidays.
At any rate, it was quiet. And I do love the quiet.
It a precious commodity, an endangered species when you work with behaviorally challenged adolescents. Whatyever field you work in, you know that when the world outside you gets too loud, the loudness can penetrate. It can make you unstill.
I was drinking the quiet moments in.
And then he came to my doorway. He is an instructional aide. A nice guy.
I’ve had less than a half dozen conversations with him. But he always says “hello” when we pass in the hallway. He even gave me a little gift last year, a little toy that he felt some of my more AD/HD students might use to keep their over-active fingers busy.
As he burst my little bubble of quiet mellowness, my initial reaction– on the inside– was “Go away.”
(A fascinating typo when I wrote that last sentence. My fingers threw a “D” in after the “O”. Before I fixed it, it said “God away.” Which is what we do, I think, when we wish people alike that: Christ is in those people, that we banish, too. When we think to them “Go away” we send “God away.)
The school district I work for is highly political. At best, I’m a pretty controversail figure in my department. At worst, a bunch of them hate me. But things have been slowly getting better. Because the thing is, I’m learning top play the game a little bit. And it disgusts me.
Because if it had been any of the other teachers standing in the doorway, I would have felt quite differently.
I realized it, in the middle of the conversation. And I tuned into what he has to say. And I learned that sometimes we create these self-fufilling prophecies.
If I’d expected him to be boring, he would have been. When I slow down and stop and tune into what he said, though, he was quite interesting.
But that’s not really the point. If he was the most boring person ever born I’m still expected to make time in my life and in my heart for him. When I’m feeling busy or stressed out, I have to find time and energy from somewhere else. I can’t do this at the expense of people.
It’s hard, doing the right thing.