An Investment in the Future

It has been a tough week, and I am wishing that my stint as an 100% online teacher of grades 6,7, and 8 Language Arts were over. When I took the job in September, I had no idea how difficult it would be. Retirement had dimmed my recollection. Small numbers I reasoned in each grade, so less grading, but other monumental challenges rapidly surfaced as everyone who is teaching now knows. And, to be honest, I was flattered to be offered the job. I may have been gone from my former school “house,” but I was not forgotten.

This week though? A doozy. Everything that could go wrong, has, and not for a lack of preparation. The compound effects of 3:00 am arisings five-days each week, and the immediate worries about the upcoming day and students for whatever reason—and they are numerous—looming, and the reality that I once got to pick-and-choose my workload as a substitute, all these coalesce in a miasma of despondence and fatigue. My husband is giving me the widest of berths, wise man.

This day, at least, has ended. I glance at my phone and see a Facebook Messenger notification. (I haven’t had time to look at my personal email yet. I would’ve found it there, too.) I open it up to discover a student name from the past, not one of the “writer-do-or-die” ones from former classes who still contact me every once in a while, but an unexpected one.

I am suffused with a joy that I thought was impossible in my current state. I read it aloud to my husband, and he guardedly reminds me, “This happens to you all the time, Trish.”

That is an exaggeration, but oh my gosh, today was the perfect day for it.

21 thoughts on “An Investment in the Future”

  1. Glad you found the oink to post. It is amazing how one little message an turn the whole day around. Glad your tough week turned into a great day.

  2. Yes, they show up when and sometimes where you least expect them…glad to be reminded about them. Education is an investment not just in individuals but in our collective future — a long game/

  3. I don’t know what I like best about this story. The fact that an old student remembers a long-ago lesson so vividly or the fact that he recognized that he and his classmates were little sh*ts! Hang in there! It may be harder to see in this virtual world, but you’re creating vivid lessons for a new class of sh*ts to look back on fondly!

    1. So funny, Julie. When I replied to him, I wrote, “You were little sh*ts, and I loved you anyway!” cuz that’s the truth.

    1. Well, just a sweet reminder that we don’t always know what sticks. I do miss those walls festooned with kids’ wisdom and poetry, that’s for sure.

  4. Oh that is perfect timing. Just the reminder that you never know who you touch or when and why it’s worth it. The cosmos gifted you this as apology for all the rest.

  5. What a lovely message to receive! It’s nice to know that students remember their time with us. I teach elementary so I don’t think they remember much beyond the fun stuff.

  6. This. Is. Delightful.

    That you wrote it.

    That you came out of retirement for this role.

    That you face the struggle and share the struggle.

    That you are reminded of the impact you have made…and are still making.

    A delight. Keep going!

  7. How absolutely wonderful, to get a message from a student like that, hope he knows he’s a hero, apart from being a little sh..t in the past! So glad that happened to give your day the ultimate lift!

  8. I love this post–and I love these voices from the past that sometimes reach out. I had a Facebook message this week from a student I taught for just two months back in 2005. Incredible that he even remembers!

    1. So gratifying, even if it feeds the myth that teachers don’t need substantial salaries because they get “paid” in other ways! ARGH!

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