Teacher Girl

I love my teacher girl. For me she is the embodiment of selfless courage, heroism, and unbounded love. She gets up before the break of dawn, to spend time with other people’s children, opening their eyes up to the possibilities that lay before them. Poor pay, long hours, overwhelming duties, arbitrary directives to comply with, bureaucratic obstacles to navigate, papers to grade — rarely is there time to rest, reflect, and prepare, before the cycle begins again. No time to eat or exercise, she is chastised for the crimes of others, blamed for the poor home life of her students. They come to her, broken and neglected, emotionally crippled, intellectual underachievers, pandered to, and falsely encouraged to embrace mediocrity. Despite the resistance, from co-workers, students, parents and administrators, she performs her Promethean task, of rolling academic rigor against ignorance and sloth. These efforts find success, in the margins, with those who embrace challenge, see hope, who don’t accept the status-quo. The cost is great, the hours long, the satisfaction fleeting, for those who carry lamps into the world to peel back the darkness of ignorance. At the end of the day, she leaves the arena of the academic coliseum, a momentary victor on some days, over the forces of illiteracy and superficiality. Some days are worse than others, as those who spew hate and false promises, chip away at her efforts. Yet, even as she collapses, exhausted and spent, with the regret unique to working mothers, of having to spend so much time with other people’s children, and not enough with her own, her thoughts eventually drift to challenge of the next day. My love – my hero – my teacher girl. How I love thee, and I wish the rest of the world did too.

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