#33: After Teacher Appreciation Week


After Teacher Appreciation Week

On Monday, several dozens of cookies
were placed in the staff lounge, a gift
from our secretaries and support staff.
On Friday morning, the administrators
served us hot coffee and fruit and pastries.
We were still trying to polish off the cookies
in the staff lounge, some of which are still there
a week and a day later.
And on Friday a little piece of paper
was hung outside my classroom door
with my name on it,
signed by maybe four or five
anonymous well-wishers,
proclaiming me
as bizarre, nutty, weird, goofy,
but in a good way, of course.
All week long, in not a single one
of my six classes, did a single student
out of almost 200, verbally or in writing
or in any other discernible way
appreciate me.

Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t mean to complain.
On the one hand, in the same way
perhaps a firefighter feels uncomfortable
when people praise him for putting out a fire,
I feel strange thinking about the fact that my profession
has an appreciation day at all.
I’m just doing my job, as they say.
And while nary a student of mine overtly
expressed appreciation for what I do,
I like to imagine that within their little student
hearts that many of them are, indeed, thankful
that their English teacher is goofy in a good way.
But on the other hand,
as class sizes increase astronomically,
responsibilities never decrease commensurately,
right wing media vilifies and undermines,
and corporate interests vie for privatization,
testing, testing, testing,  and accountability–
always for schools and teachers and never
for students and their parents,
yeah, I could use a little bit more appreciation,
thank you very much.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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