I attended public school from 1981 to 1994 and college from 1994 to 1998. From 1998 to 2012, I taught and attended graduate school. I married a teacher. Even now, when I no longer teach, my daughter is in school, and my husband still works for a school system. We measure time in school years. And since 2012, in April, we remember. And we try to heal.
2011-2012 was a terrible school year. A formative year. A year we will always remember with horror. There is no understanding what it is like to live in constant fear. Not fear for our lives, but fear for our livelihoods, our reputations, and the home we'd carved out for ourselves in a community we loved. In April 2012, after eight months of plugging the dike with everything we could find to block the water, those began to fall away. All three were gone within the next few months.
I have another post due to Lefty Pop on Tuesday. I'm struggling. I want to tell this story, and I am limited to 800 words. It's impossible to do it justice. But I'd appreciate you hopping over to give it a read on Wednesday. Don't worry; I'll remind you.
But today, I am thankful. Because today we met up with several of the students (and their parents) my husband taught from August 2011 to April 2012. And it was glorious. One of the parents alerted us that the fifth grade classes, their teachers, and the school principal were visiting DC and would be at the Air and Space Museum this morning.
I'm not sure how to fully express how well my husband connects with his students. He has a gift for teaching like nothing I have ever seen. It has been nearly two years since he has seen most of these students, and he didn't even teach them for a full year, but when they saw them, they ran to him. They hugged him, they shouted, they climbed on him.
Most of the parents who came on this trip went to bat for us. To say these people are part of the reason we could get up again after our fall in 2012 is an understatement. These parents helped us, and they don't even know how much.
Our only concern was the principal. Not the mastermind (far too complimentary a term) of 2011-2012, but the whip. A woman whose morals did not allow her to question or hesitate when it came to exacting relentless punishment without merit. On the way, we discussed how we would respond if she dared to speak to either of us. We received a text from the mother who contacted my husband that the principal had asked that my husband not come to the museum. We responded that her days of dictating his behavior were over. And fortunately, my husband never even saw her.
I did. At one time, when a crowd of children were exclaiming and circling around my husband, I heard her call out grumpily, "We're here to see the museum, not Mr. ________!" I contented myself with a roll of the eyes.
And as we left, having seen nearly every student and parent we came to see, my husband said, "My heart is full. How wonderful to leave happy instead of angry! I'm glad I didn't see Mrs. _______."
This evening, my husband received a text from the parent who originally contacted him. She said she and her daughter were talking of my husband, and the daughter said she hoped to grow up to be a person like Mr. ________, the kind of person who makes a positive difference in the world.
These students just spent three days in DC. They saw wonders. But for many, the highlight will have been to see Mr. ________. And seeing them was his highlight, too.
Surely there were ten in there somewhere, right?
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine