This is year three for me, and truly, I didn’t intend to participate. Can’t I just wade on the edges of this thing? No…I must dive in. Like Marge Piercy’s poem, “To Be of Use” says:
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
So, no “dallying” here.
I would like to qualify as one of “the people I love the best” after all.
On Wednesday afternoon, I swing by the local print/laser center—nicest helpful people there and always a hub of activity, a cross-section of our eclectic beach community. I am finishing my stint at the middle school, eighth grade health substitute. Today we read several articles about healthy nutrition. Health may not be my area of expertise, but one real joy of substitute teaching is rising to a challenge and learning new things. I am learning so much! (Ah, that my students can boast the same, or care to!)
The article by Michael Pollan
has inspired me. The kids didn’t read it, but it is embedded in the TedEd video under the “Dig Deeper” section, and those words entice me. I want to make a poster as my parting gift to these eighth graders. Pollan’s words invite a lot of thought. Maybe for them too? “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I’ve designed this banner:
Eric, mainstay at Laser-Quik, helps me get it right. And when the poster is done, the carrots and beets pop just the way I’d hoped. Now to pay. As he writes me up, Eric says that he’s so happy his kids eat better than he did.
“You know what? My kids ate beets at school the other day from their ‘Sample Thursday’ table.” I smile. I love that the program exposes kids to food they might never have heard of. “We don’t eat beets at home, but now we just might.”
Ah, education at its best.
Eric smiles, hands me the receipt and the poster. “Thank you.”
“Thank you,” I respond. He clarifies, “No, thank you for being a teacher.”